I have never worn gloves for any photographic processing. I am not cavalier about this, but I learned processing in my teens in an era before Health & Safety. I only use tongs to handle prints in trays, and aim always to keep my hands clean and dry. Any accidental 'dip' is immediately washed and dried. Likewise when developing film, I do the whole job at the sink where any leaks from the tank can be quickly washed off.
I have just bought a bottle of Tetenal's Dokumol. Although it seems a fairly conventional formulation, the health warnings are decidedly scary: 'Risk of irreversible damage to health'. Now that I'm older and wiser, I'm more inclined to do the sensible thing. But is it practical?
After searching older threads it's clear that many forum members wear latex or nitirle gloves when handling darkroom chemicals. How many of you do this for a standard printing session? If you do, how do you cope with the constant need to wash and dry hands before handling dry paper?
I did the same as you in my youth. But some day I got me only few drops of concentrate of a certain film-developer spilled on one of my fingers. Though I stood next to a water tap and could rinse my finger immediately I got itchy blisters for some time. If I don't wear gloves I handle stuff a way that I could hardly get in contact with even in case of a mishap.
Medical nitrile examination gloves are very thin and flexible, almost like a "second skin" if you make sure you get the right size and brand, and I simply wash my & dry my hands while wearing the gloves.
I'm not particularly concerned about the chemicals, but experience tells me that my hands will get very dry and uncomfortable from being wet/washed for more than a short period.
Nitrile rubber is more chemical resistant than latex rubber and shows less (if any) allergene potential. At same thickness latex gloves are more flexible. But for both types a good fit is of greater importance then the difference in flexibility.
Basically one can chose between tight fit single-use and thicker permanent-use gloves with a bit of play, to give the two extremes. The latter can be easily put-on/off, and give a bit of ventilation.
Which type to use depends on personal preference but also on the workflow one uses, and on the hazard one is exposed too. No glove will be impermeable. The less permeabable and the thicker, the best.
Cost may be a factor too. Though one can re-use single-use ones. I though would not re-use ones that have been contaminated.
Single-use examination/lab gloves are typically offered unpowedered, but may got got some silicone-like inside lubrication.
Thick, permanent gloves are available blank or with some velour-like inner. With these thick ones one may also consider a blank one and cotton under-gloves. Though a neat fit is most important in such a combination.
Last edited by AgX; 05-10-2013 at 06:51 AM. Click to view previous post history.
When printing, I only use tongs to handle prints. I dont like getting chems on my skin, and accidental exposure is easily washed off. When developing film, I always wear gloves, and am careful not to get exposed to any chems, especially Pyro developers. I generally use the thicker nitrile gloves that are easily removed(and a lot easier to get on).
Last edited by Rick A; 05-10-2013 at 07:45 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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When ever preparing chems, I always wear gloves, regardless of the process. When I process film, I have a bit of a strange look - I usually wear a dust free food grade glove on one hand and a Marigold kitchen type glove on the other hand. This still allows me to wear both gloves and press the screen of my ipod for the timer. If I need to pull a glove off quickly, I can easily pull off the Marigold .
As for print processing, I have found that using tongs and being careful is the best way.
I use two types of gloves in the darkroom - Close weave cotton gloves for handling paper and negatives, Vinyl for film and any wet process.
When lith printing, most papers will show up any paw prints from even slightly sweaty fingers, so I've got in to the habit of always using a glove. A clean, fresh vinyl glove goes on when putting paper in the easel, and it stays on as the print progresses through the various trays. Once the print is in a holding tray of water, the glove comes off and is binned. This avoids contaminating the developer baths and also means I have a dry,gloved hand for the next sheet of paper.
I use Nitrile gloves when using PMK and Pyrocat. With everything else I just rinse as I go with no gloves.
For most standard processing solutions like dev/stop/fix I don’t wear gloves, although I am very careful with concentrated stop, not to get it on my hands. However, there are some chemicals for which I will always wear disposable gloves. Silver nitrate solution for example, I will not go near without gloves and perhaps a moon-suit would be better. Silver nitrate is so splishy splashy that I defy anyone to use this solution without gloves and not get brown stains on their hands or worse.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
After watching Bob Carnie do so, I always wear gloves when printing.
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