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  1. #1

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    Weird reaction to selenium toner

    So, this is the third time in maybe 15 years of printing that this has happened to me. I'd like it to be the last, so I'm seeking suggestions.

    My B&W prints, including the unexposed border, stain an extreme reddish brown after 1-2 minutes in dilute (1+19) selenium toner. My workflow is as follows: develop in Ethol LPD, followed by acetic acid stop bath, then 3 minute fix in Sprint non-hardening fixer. I then hold the prints in a large water bath until the end of my printing session, changing the bath occasionally. I then use fresh fixer for an additional 3 minutes and place the prints into the 1+19 Selenium direct from the fixer. I believe I got this from A.A.'s "The Print".

    I am careful to wash my trays, sink, etc with dish soap and hot water after each use. I typically wash my developer and st op trays while the prints are in the holding bath, but re-use the fixer traywith fresh chemistry. I suppose there is some minor opportunity for soapy spray to land in the holding bath, but I do try to be careful, and have been using the same workflow for years usually without problems.

    Any ideas as to what is causing this staining with dilute selenium?

    Thanks for looking.

  2. #2
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Inadequate fixing?

  3. #3
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    Bad fixing or washing or both.

    PE

  4. #4
    mfohl's Avatar
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    I always thoroughly wash my prints before selenium toning. My standard wash is a minute or two in running water, then 2 minutes in Kodak hypo clearing agent, then the real wash. The real wash is in my Paterson print washer for 15 minutes in running water, followed by several hours just sitting in the washer followed by 15 more minutes in running water. I mean, my prints are thoroughly washed before toning. And by the way, I repeat the washing in the print washer after selenium toning. I get occasional reddish stains on the surface of the plastic print washer, but not on the prints.

  5. #5
    ozphoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfohl View Post
    I always thoroughly wash my prints before selenium toning. My standard wash is a minute or two in running water, then 2 minutes in Kodak hypo clearing agent, then the real wash. The real wash is in my Paterson print washer for 15 minutes in running water, followed by several hours just sitting in the washer followed by 15 more minutes in running water. I mean, my prints are thoroughly washed before toning. And by the way, I repeat the washing in the print washer after selenium toning. I get occasional reddish stains on the surface of the plastic print washer, but not on the prints.
    I do the same - although I don't get any red staining on the actual washer. Sounds like there is a reaction between the 2nd fixer (no washing) and the toner. Why not give it a last final wash, after the 2nd fix, before toning and see how that works out for you?

  6. #6
    Doc W's Avatar
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    I also wash my prints really well before toning.

  7. #7
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    Weird reaction to selenium toner

    Fixer is toast or under fixing.

    You do not need fully to wash prints before selenium toning after fixer you just need to make sure they're fully fixed. A short rinse is all that is needed.

    I do it all the time with 2 stage fixing. Short rinse in a holding bath and then right into KRST. Never stained.

    Full wash is then after selenium.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  8. #8
    michael stevens's Avatar
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    I had a similar problem a little while ago and ruled out exhausted fix being the problem by mixing up a fresh batch. In my case the cause turned out to be toning in too acid an environment: the acid from the fixer was being carried over into the selenium bath and causing the stain. An alkali fix would not give this problem. I now give the prints a more thorough wash before toning and use a little HCA to lower the acidity in my water holding tray.

    If I were you I would try giving your prints a good rinse before putting them in the toner, or missing out that final fix bath all together.

  9. #9
    David Allen's Avatar
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    Your problem is due to not washing between rapid fix and toning. The wash does not need to be extensive - 3 changes of water in a dish over a 5 minute period will be sufficient to give you a reasonably neutral PH.

    I then use fresh fixer for an additional 3 minutes and place the prints into the 1+19 Selenium direct from the fixer. I believe I got this from A.A.'s "The Print".
    Not quite correct - Ansel Adams used to place the print in a bath of plain hypo before toning not rapid fix. Using 3 minutes in a plain hypo bath before toning is the most dependable way of ensuring you never get staining. However, a reasonable wash between a rapid fixer and the selenium toner will also work well.

    Bests,

    David
    www.dsallen.de

  10. #10

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    Maybe you can try adding some Balanced Alkali to your toner. http://stores.photoformulary.com/-st...ali/Detail.bok

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