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  1. #1
    ChristopherCoy's Avatar
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    Using Kodak Brown Toner...

    I purchased a bottle of brown toner a few months ago, mostly because I was walking by the shelf it was on at the camera store, and last night I actually thought about using it. I have a photo that I took last year, that I would like to reprint on fiber paper, and tone.

    After reading the directions last night, I was a bit surprised at how complicated the three step instructions were. I don't have it in front of me, but I know the steps included fix, rinse, tone, hardener, hypo-clearing agent, and then something like a 30 minute rinse.

    My question is, is toning really that involved? A 30 minute rinse in my bathroom sink is a hell of a lot of water...

    Can this process be dumbed down to only an extra step or two over my normal three step process?

  2. #2

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    I use brown toner in the following way:

    1) take a completed print - which means fully washed but still wet OR rewet dried print in water
    2) put it in working bath of the toner
    3) complete wash

    I don't do the post toning hardener (which Kodak recommends using Kodak Professional Fixer which contains hardener) step or the following HCA step. Using all the paper I have, the emulsion doesn't get soft enough to be a problem. I can do anything I normally do and no damage.

    Brown toner has a peculiar property of toning FASTER in more dilute solution. That means if you take print out of the toner bath and put it in wash, it will TAKE OFF and basically tones to completion. Very weird but it happens in reality. If I didn't want to tone to completion, then I soak it in 10% solution of Sodium Sulfite (basically an extra strong HCA) to stop the toning, then wash.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Toning is not necessarily that involved, but using fiber base paper in general is involved, especially if you're used to RC paper.

    For toning with a direct sulfide toner like Kodak brown toner you will need to fix the print thoroughly, then a brief wash, then hypo-clear for 5 minutes, then a final wash for 30-60 minutes. You'll need to test to find your time that offers adequate washing. I wash for the full 60 minutes, but I have an archival washer that saves water. If you don't have one you can soak the print in a tray of water, changing the water every so many minutes. This process saves water. I'm not sure of the exact process for this but if you're interested there are plenty of folks here who use that washing method.

    After the final wash you can either dry the print or keep going with the process. At this point it's usually late in the evening and I'm ready to call it a day. If you dry the print you will need to re-wet it before toning, for atleast 5 minutes or so. Then tone for whatever amount of time you wish. As mentioned above brown toners work faster at higher dilutions, so when you pull the print to put into the wash it will tone further and faster, something you obviously don't want. So to stop the print where you want it you will need a 'stop bath' consisting of 100g sodium sulfite to 1L water. Pull the print from the toner and run under strong wash very briefly then into the sodium sulfite 'stop bath.' I usually keep it in this bath for about 5 minutes or so. Since this sodium sulfite bath is basically hypo-clear you will not need to use hypo-clear before the final wash. So you can go straight from the sulfite bath to a final wash of 30-60 minutes.

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    It's important the print is well rinsed first, esp if other toners have been used. I use Kodak brown much more dilute than they recommend, and very briefly, though this depends on what final effect
    you desire. The trick is to get it over the print quicky, and then to get the print out quickly. I immediately put the print in a tray of plain water and agitate this to prevent uneven toning. Afterwards, a final brief rinse under the hose and it goes into the print washer. The toning will slowly
    mature there, so you'll want to be careful not to overtone visually in the actual toner bath. Takes
    a little practice, but if you undertone, you can always tweak it a bit more in the toner bath. But if
    you overtone to begin with, too bad. So yeah, I personally prefer a simplified method.

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    I should have added that I use TF4 archival fixer, which washes out more easily than regular fixers,
    but I still maintain a final "archival" wash of a full hour for fiber-based prints, which is just standard
    procedure, toner or not.

  6. #6
    ChristopherCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    So you can go straight from the sulfite bath to a final wash of 30-60 minutes.

    I don't understand why it takes 30 to 60 minutes to wash something. Is that a time that allows one to err on the side of caution, or does it really take 60 minutes to remove the chemicals we use?

    Currently, after I fix my prints, I put them in a sink filled with standing water. I move them around and change the water out once or twice while they are in there. Before I take them out, I turn the water on and hold them under the faucet for a minute or two. Then I squeegee them and hang to dry. Until now I've only used RC paper, and if I'm going to have to use 30 to 60 minutes worth of water to wash FB paper, then I'll have to pass. I can't afford to pay for that much water to begin with, but I also couldn't waste that much water in good conscience either. Even at a trickle from a cheap print washer, that's still A LOT of water over that amount of time.

    ETA: And I'm not saying that I don't understand, as in "I don't understand why you're doing it incorrectly", I truly mean that I don't understand because I truly just don't know. I didn't take chemistry in high school... or ever.

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    According to Kodak publication, 30 minutes wash after HCA OR 60 minutes wash without HCA. This is after using Kodak professional fixer as a hardener.

    Why so long? Fixer soaks into the paper and takes that long to diffuse out of the paper. RC only takes 4 minutes.

    Ralph talks about this at length in his "Way beyond" book.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristopherCoy View Post
    I don't understand why it takes 30 to 60 minutes to wash something. Is that a time that allows one to err on the side of caution, or does it really take 60 minutes to remove the chemicals we use?

    Currently, after I fix my prints, I put them in a sink filled with standing water. I move them around and change the water out once or twice while they are in there. Before I take them out, I turn the water on and hold them under the faucet for a minute or two. Then I squeegee them and hang to dry. Until now I've only used RC paper, and if I'm going to have to use 30 to 60 minutes worth of water to wash FB paper, then I'll have to pass. I can't afford to pay for that much water to begin with, but I also couldn't waste that much water in good conscience either. Even at a trickle from a cheap print washer, that's still A LOT of water over that amount of time.

    ETA: And I'm not saying that I don't understand, as in "I don't understand why you're doing it incorrectly", I truly mean that I don't understand because I truly just don't know. I didn't take chemistry in high school... or ever.
    Christopher, imagine FB paper as a sponge. It soaks up fixer and we wash to diffuse almost all of this fixer out of the print. RC papers don't soak up liquids like FB papers do and that's why RC paper basically needs rinsed off. This is the true trade off when going from RC to FB. I feel it's worth the extra time. But I also have a print washer. As I said before, washing FB in a tray of water method will save you water, as it's not about running water constantly over the surface but rather diffusing the fixer out of the paper. Then it would just be a matter of if you feel like taking the time to change the water in a tray every 5-10 minutes or so for an hour. Having a print washer is nice cause you can just put the print in, turn the water on, and walk away.

  9. #9
    ChristopherCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    As I said before, washing FB in a tray of water method will save you water, as it's not about running water constantly over the surface but rather diffusing the fixer out of the paper. Then it would just be a matter of if you feel like taking the time to change the water in a tray every 5-10 minutes or so for an hour. Having a print washer is nice cause you can just put the print in, turn the water on, and walk away.

    I wouldn't mind doing the chang-a-tray thing until I could purchase a print washer. When people say "wash for 60 minutes", I envision my bathroom faucet going full blast for 60 minutes. Ian said that a gentle trickle would work as well but, even that seems like a lot over an extended period of time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    It's important the print is well rinsed first, esp if other toners have been used. I use Kodak brown much more dilute than they recommend, and very briefly, though this depends on what final effect
    you desire. The trick is to get it over the print quicky, and then to get the print out quickly. I immediately put the print in a tray of plain water and agitate this to prevent uneven toning. Afterwards, a final brief rinse under the hose and it goes into the print washer. The toning will slowly
    mature there, so you'll want to be careful not to overtone visually in the actual toner bath. Takes
    a little practice, but if you undertone, you can always tweak it a bit more in the toner bath. But if
    you overtone to begin with, too bad. So yeah, I personally prefer a simplified method.
    I use Drew's method having picked it up from him online, and fortunately having bought the Freestyle Legacy Pro brand and been saved the detailed Kodak instructions.

    The "tones faster when more dilute" obviously has its limits as some of us have discussed here before. Otherwise you could use one drop of toner in a five gallon bucket of water and tone to completion instantly, or something similar. I think Drew's method may minimize this by both already being at or beyond that limit and by causing even further dilution in the water rinse, where it tends to stop or, more accurately, mostly stop.

    I started with mixing it 1/4 strength per Drew's recommendation but this resulted in very short hard to control times like 15-20 seconds, where having the tongs slip off when trying to retrieve the print would be a problem. I went to 1/8th strength. I still tone MGWTFB (developed in Ilford WT developer and fixed in Rapid Fix without hardner, film strength, for one minute) for 40-60 seconds typically. I am still refining this as sometimes it still tends to stop pretty quickly once in plain water, other times to continue toning for more or less total effect. It may also be very subject to temperature fluctuations, the other thing that could account for some of my prints taking 60 seconds to look like others did at 20 seconds in the same strength of fresh toner.

    I plan to experiment with the sulphite "stop bath" and maybe with just warming the toner to a fixed temperature, as that's easier than cooling it down.

    I love the results with this stuff on MGWTFB though. I rarely make a print on this paper that doesn't receive at least a quick dip in brown toner. I'm not so enthused about the results on MCP 312, one other paper I've tried. My dilute method produced only an unpleasant red-brown tinge in highlights even when time was extended to 10 minutes and more. Full strength toner did tone that paper well, but with a cooler chocolate brown color that I don't like as much as regular sepia.

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