Selenium toning & Hypo Clear
I have always been under the (perhaps mistaken) impression that you must wash your prints before selenium toning, because residual fix will cause prints to stain in selenium.
For many years, I have used the following procedure: fix, hypo clear, wash in trays with five or six "soaks" in fresh water, each soak about ten minutes, then selenium tone, three more soaks and dry. (I used Kodak standard fix for many years, but switched to rapid fix a couple of years back. I have never had any print show stains, even my oldest prints, which are 20 years old.)
Reading Barnbaum (which some may recommend against): he tones his prints right after fixing, then hypo clears, then tray soaks to wash. Other photographers have commented that they do a full wash, then tone, then hypo clear again, with another full wash.
So, I'm wondering how the APUG playas handle their toning. If I can change the workflow, it would definitely save some time and energy. Washing prints is not my favorite thing to do, so I try to balance the "archival" obsession with some practicality.
To clarify, I have never once (to the best of my memory) used hypo clear after selenium toning. Now, I have just read that selenium toner contains a small amount of fixer! D'oh!
I think it's well documented, even on the Kodak Selenium Toner instructions, that residual fixer will result in stains. I too always to a through washing before any kind of toning. I have never read Barnbaum, so I can't comment on that.
I typically tone my print as another session, often on different days. So I wash completely and dry completely before the toning stage.
When I make my test prints, I do fix, HCA, then 10 minutes wash before toning. I never had staining issues but then again, I never held on to these prints long enough if the staining occurs months later.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
I fix (in TF4), hypo clear for 3 minutes with constant agitation, wash for 10 minutes in an efficient washer, Se tone, for good measure run through the hypo clear again, and wash another 10 minutes in the washer.
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One of the main ingredients in KRST is ammonium thiosulfate, so there's no point in being paranoid about some residual thiosulfate in the prints before Se toning. Other fixing intermediate products maybe, but your two bath fixing will deal with them.
The worst thing you can put in KRST is acid, because it causes decomposition. If your fixer is acidic, you need to get that out before Se toning. A good soak in sodium sulfite would do, possibly better than HCA because the HCA is not so alkaline.
I use hypo clearing agent and selenium toner mixed together for over 20 years. I have not encountered any yellow stains or stains in general and color changes on the black and white print. My mixture ranged from 1:20 and 1:9 ratio; selenium:hypo clearing agent for certain effects.
I don't wait to tone my prints later on. I tone them when they come out of the fixer, then put them in a holding tray or put them in my cascade print washer.
You should consult the instructions for the paper you use for processing instructions. I use Ilford papers, and you may find their recommended procedure interesting (not applicable to RC paper):
• ILFORD MULTIGRADE FB FIBER
• ILFORD MULTIGRADE FB WARMTONE
• ILFORD MULTIGRADE ART 300
• ILFORD ILFOBROM GALERIE FB
The standard fixing and washing recommendations will give excellent print permanence for all commercial needs. When optimum permanence is needed, perhaps for archival storage of prints, the following fixing and washing sequences at 18-24ºC/65-75ºF (including wash water) are recommended using ILFORD WASHAID. Do not add a hardener to the fixer. Be careful not to exceed the capacity of the fixer and not to extend the fixing time as both these make washing more difficult.
Optimum permanence sequence with selenium toner
ILFORD RAPID FIXER (1+4) 1min or HYPAM (1+4), intermittent agitation, 1min
Selenium toner diluted with working strength ILFORD WASHAID instead of water, intermittent agitation, *min
* Tone the print for the appropriate time to achieve the depth of colour needed.
ILFORD WASHAID (1+4), intermittent agitation, 10min
Fresh, running water, 30min
I have no problems selenium toning after the fixer. Not directly after. I wash them for 5 minutes in running water then into the washer where they are held until the printing is done, then into selenium. After selenium hypo-clear is a must! Then final wash. When I discovered I could tone with a short wash after the fixer I was delighted as it saves time.