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  1. #11

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    Here are some excerpts from Kodak Tech Pub G-23 that may help:

    Improper fixing is probably the major cause of stains in
    toned prints. Use two-bath fixing for best results.

    Do not exceed the capacity of your fixer. An exhausted
    fixing bath contains insoluble silver compounds that will
    remain in prints; you can’t remove them completely by
    washing. When these residual silver compounds come into
    contact with a toner, they form a dark yellow stain that is
    especially noticeable in print borders and highlights.
    Proper agitation in the fixer is important. Stains
    commonly occur when prints stick together or float on the
    surface of the fixer. For example, air bubbles trapped
    between or under prints during fixing can later produce
    round purple stains in prints toned with selenium or sulfide
    toners.

    Also avoid excessive fixing. Do not fix prints for longer
    than the recommended time...
    Prolonged fixing expands the paper and allows the solution
    to penetrate the base. Fixer that is trapped in the base is
    difficult to remove, and will make prints that are toned in
    selenium or sulfide toners turn yellow.

    Do not use metal trays or tanks to hold your toning solutions.
    Use only unchipped enamel, hard-rubber, or plastic trays.

    If you use Hypo Clearing Agent after fixing fiber-base
    prints, you can use a working solution of Hypo Clearing
    Agent to dilute Rapid Selenium Toner 1:20 or 1:40, and
    eliminate the wash step between fixing and toning. To avoid
    stains, don’t rinse the prints after fixing; immerse them
    directly into the combination bath, and tone for
    approximately 3 minutes for print protection or longer for a
    tone change.

  2. #12

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    Toning problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan R View Post
    I have quite a number of Ilford MG FB prints that I printed and selenium-toned in make-shift darkrooms up to 30 years ago, and they are fine. Now, I have a dedicated darkroom, but my prints stain as soon as I put them in the toner. The procedure I am currently following is:
    Ilford MG paper developer
    Tetenal Indicet stop bath
    Ilford Rapid fixer (1 minute only)
    Rinse, running water, 5 minutes
    Water bath hold until end of session
    Wash in running water 45 min
    Ilford Washaid
    Kodak Selenium toner
    ...and then I would wash archivally if only the d**n things didn't stain.

    I have seen Ilford's recommended archival wash sequence, which involves using toner diluted with washaid straight after the fixer. I am hesitant to try this, because (a) I understand it makes the toner essentially a one-shot bath; and (b) I can't see that why it would be an improvement on what I am already doing.

    I have read a lot of older threads here and elsewhere, and folk seem to divide into two camps over this (have problems, can't explain, or no problems ever). Does anyone have any chemical insights that might help me here?

    Thanks in anticipation.
    Hi Jonathan,

    There are two things that will cause a print to stain in Selenium toner:
    •The print is not fixed thoroughly, or
    • there is residual acid in the paper fibers

    I have been working almost exclusively with Ilford MG since the early/mid '80s, using Ilford's short fixing procedure since that time. No problems, here.

    It would seem that you have rinsed the prints sufficiently to not have acid content as an issue. The Ilford Rapid Fix should be just fine if mixed 1:4 with water, fixing WITH CONTINUOUS agitation FOR 45-60 seconds.

    Like you, I rinse the prints in a tray of slightly running water for a minute or more, then transfer to a large tray or sink for the duration of my session. The prints can then go directly into a tray of toner (MGFB at 1:10 for 3' or the new Classic for about 3' at 1:20). Next a water rinse. Next the wash-aid of your choice. Then I put the prints in fresh water THEN into archival washers for maybe 20 minutes depending on the washer.

    Good luck!

    Alan
    www.alanrossphotography.com

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by adelorenzo View Post
    I believe you do the Washaid before the wash, not after? That's what I do with Hypo-Clear at any rate. It helps make the fixer become more water soluble.

    I go straight from the fixer into a holding bath of Hypo-Clear until I am done printing. Then I do a 5-10 minute wash, toner, and then final washing. I'm probably doing it wrong but it's working for me.
    That would work but you are correct the OP has not read the Ilford wash aid instructions and got the steps in wrong sequence.

    You also need to read the hypo clear instructions too sorry for archival perm

    fix, rinse off fix, hypo clear, holding bath preferably sink syphon slow run

    the rinse of fix protects the hypo clear for the whole scession all the prints get fresh hypo clear with minimal hypo carry over...

    our corvettes just used sea water while they were taking U boat pennant number shots no desalination plants

  4. #14

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    The time in the fixer depends on the fixer. I use 2 minutes in ordinary, non-hardening rapid fixer (F-34) with continuous tray tilt agitation. I don't know the composition of the Ilford fixer, but there are fixers that will work properly in about a minute. I also don't know what is in the Ilford Washaid, but I am a bit surprised at its use after the final wash and immediately before toning, without a rinse. (Of course, there would be a wash after toning.)

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xmas View Post
    You also need to read the hypo clear instructions too sorry for archival perm
    I have read the instructions I just choose not to follow them. Some year I'll make a print worth keeping and then I'll worry about archival permanence...

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by adelorenzo View Post
    I have read the instructions I just choose not to follow them. Some year I'll make a print worth keeping and then I'll worry about archival permanence...
    Ok but the title of the thread was ...archival...

    Id be more careful about your prints, year before last at Xmas I was visiting my boss, (lady) from 40 years ago, and removed the camera bag from auto as it was -5C and falling.

    So her greeting on doorstep was 'you still take photos?'
    Then 'The picture on my bed side table of the children is one of yours (- sic from 40 years ago).'

    Undirected candid of boy and girl happily playing together on Kchrome 25 1/30 f/1.4 M2 35mm lux, but value of print to her nostalgia, they were just end of roll shots for me, at the time.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ross View Post
    Hi Jonathan,

    There are two things that will cause a print to stain in Selenium toner:
    •The print is not fixed thoroughly, or
    • there is residual acid in the paper fibers
    ...
    Alan has your answer.

    Since you rinse enough to ensure that the prints are not too acid, you can likely suspect inadequate fixing or contamination.

    There are quite a few things to consider here.

    First, if you insist on using the single-bath method with film-strength fixer, be aware that the capacity of your fixer is very small. Ilford states it is only 10 8x10s per liter before residual silver in the fixing bath is beyond limits for optimum permanence. Be sure you aren't overusing your fixer. However, the first few prints through your fresh fixer should be fixed well and should not stain in selenium. If you are getting staining on these, then look elsewhere.

    As others have mentioned, the wash aid before the selenium toning may be the culprit. And, as mentioned before, the wash-aid treatment should come after the toner, just before the wash. It's easy to fix that...

    As for mixing the toner with wash-aid: forget it. It is old-school and wasteful. Selenium toner will live forever if replenished and filtered before use. There is no need to toss an active (and potentially dangerous) selenium-rich solution into the environment just because the wash-aid capacity has been reached.

    So, mix your toner without wash aid and use the wash aid after toning. Use fresh fix, or better, a two-bath fixing sequence (which Ilford recommends before toning, by the way...) and you should have no staining problems.

    ------------------------------------------

    Also, you should know that the entire "strong-fast fix" method that Ilford espouses is based on limiting the amount of fixer that makes it to the fibers of the paper base. The idea is that stronger and faster will fix all the halides in the emulsion before the fixer seeps into the paper base and thus reduce wash times. The time it takes for fix to reach the paper base is just over one minute. If you are fixing a bit too long, you might as well change techniques. Also, the Ilford sequence may not work for other products besides Ilford's... I don't believe Ilford tested with other manufacturers' papers or chemicals. Fixing too long with this method won't cause inadequate fixing, but it will require longer wash times.

    I long ago decided that a conventional two-bath fixing sequence using a rapid fixer and then the associated longer washing times was a better method for my work flow.

    FWIW, I use Ilford Rapid Fix or Hypam 1+9. I fix for 1.5-2 minutes in each bath, and discard the first bath after a 36 8x10 per liter capacity is reached.

    I tone in separate session to printing. When printing, the prints get the first fix and are then washed (min. one hour) and dried. Keeper prints are collected and toned in a later toning session.

    My toning work flow is: water pre-soak (5 minutes), fix two (in freshly-mixed fixer, 1.5-2 minutes, again with a 36 8x10-print-per-liter capacity), then directly into the selenium toner. Prints are toned visually until the desired tonal change is achieved and then go directly into a homemade wash-aid. (Yes, the capacity of the wash-aid could be increased by inserting a rinse after the toner, but sodium sulfite is cheap and I don't need the extra step.) The prints are agitated for three minutes and then simply collect in the wash-aid bath till I have twelve to load the washer with. Wash time is a minimum of one hour.

    I test regularly for residual silver and hypo and always have had excellent results.

    Maybe my sequence can work for you as well.

    Best,

    Doremus

  8. #18
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    that's a sign of underfixing. start using a 2fixing bath procedure.residual silver will stain in he toner.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  9. #19
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    Thanks Doremus, I got some tips for improved process from that.

    I agree that, if some prints stain but the first ones through the fixer don't, it's most likely over used fixer. I've used two bath fixing but been getting to print too seldom so I went back to to single bath fixing and found what was said here - the life if the fixer is less than half what you would expect with conventional fixing times, even with a single bath. 10 8x10s per litter may be a tad conservative but not much. When using a single bath I stop at 20 8x10s per half gallon. More use risks stains in toning and under fixing even without it. I suspect a longer, conventional fix time would still work ok for somewhat more capacity but at the expense of longer wash times.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #20

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    Friends, I had not expected any responses until after the Christmas break, but two whole pages of thoughtful advice is humbling. Thanks to all.

    I think my problem probably is with incomplete fixing. I have been using only a single fixing bath, because it seemed difficult to use two if the total fix time was to be limited to 1 minute. Also, I couldn't see the point in having fixer soak into the fibre base if one could instead have something simpler to wash out, like acetic acid. It's hard to believe that there is residual acid in the paper before I tone, because of the long first wash and the Washaid. No typo there, by the way, I did use the Washaid immediately before the toner. That was maybe mistaken, given the intended function of the Washaid, but it surely wouldn't be a cause of the staining, if it's OK to mix the toner with Washaid?

    But it's also odd that I got staining yesterday, because I mixed fresh chemicals and put through only 5 12x16 sheets before starting to tone. Admittedly, the first one in the toner was the last one printed.

    OK, it's a 2-bath fix for me next time. Will report how things go. Merry Christmas, all.

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