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  1. #1
    paulbarden's Avatar
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    Question about storage of Xtol solution

    In my forty odd years of working with traditional materials, I have not tried certain films and chemicals - having decided long ago that I had settled on "a look" that suited me. Recently, I have decided to expand my materials vocabulary and so I am going to spend some time trying out Xtol instead of my old standard: D76.
    I have researched this formula (here and elsewhere) and its clear that this developer will oxidize rapidly unless oxygen is excluded from the storage container. I knew that bit, so - OK. But I have read a few accounts that state that Xtol should be stored only in brown glass bottles - NOT any type of plastic. I had planned on storing it in those collapsible brown plastic chemical storage containers - you know the ones - they accordion to exclude all air as you empty them through usage. Its how I have stored D76 all these years.

    So my question is this: Is the "accordion bottle" type container NOT suitable if I expect to use the Xtol within 3 or 4 months at most? I'd rather not have to source glass containers if its not essential. (They solve one problem but introduce the issue of oxygen in the container as the developer gets used) Thank you.

    Paul

  2. #2
    samcomet's Avatar
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    Paul - FWIW I've been using Xtol for quite a few years now and always mix up a 5 gallon batch and decant it into 3 x 1 litre collapsable accordion brown plastic containers (I use the remainder for my first tank of film). After squashing down the bottle, I also place a bit of plastic wrap around the mouth of the bottle before screwing on the lid (making it more air-tight). I wait until I have enough film to use up most of the 1 litre container and process and discard the rest of that bottle. The bottles are stored in a fridge when not in use, and I try to use the complete set of 5 litres within 60 to 90 days of initial mix. All in all I can honestly say that I have experienced NO discernible problems. Hope this helps you to figure out your workflow. Cheers, Sam
    Last edited by samcomet; 01-08-2015 at 05:49 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typos

  3. #3

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    I use clear glass (ex fruit juice, so you get to drink the juice first!) stored in a cupboard in my darkroom (so it gets to see nearly no light) and due to a lack of film developing I have used year old 'stock' which was fine. I record when I mixed it.

    I have/had (think I threw them out) a set of those accordion bottles and I've given up using them (used to use for mixed print chemicals) due to them expanding between printing sessions regardless of what I did to the lid. Some might be better than others but I wouldn't buy again (although I did use mine for many years)

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    In my forty odd years of working with traditional materials, I have not tried certain films and chemicals - having decided long ago that I had settled on "a look" that suited me. Recently, I have decided to expand my materials vocabulary and so I am going to spend some time trying out Xtol instead of my old standard: D76.
    I have researched this formula (here and elsewhere) and its clear that this developer will oxidize rapidly unless oxygen is excluded from the storage container. I knew that bit, so - OK. But I have read a few accounts that state that Xtol should be stored only in brown glass bottles - NOT any type of plastic. I had planned on storing it in those collapsible brown plastic chemical storage containers - you know the ones - they accordion to exclude all air as you empty them through usage. Its how I have stored D76 all these years.

    So my question is this: Is the "accordion bottle" type container NOT suitable if I expect to use the Xtol within 3 or 4 months at most? I'd rather not have to source glass containers if its not essential. (They solve one problem but introduce the issue of oxygen in the container as the developer gets used) Thank you.

    Paul
    Xtol is the subject of several myths. It is not more prone to oxidation than other general purpose developers (mostly internet noise). Store it as you would D-76. Glass bottles are good. I never found the accordion-type bottles to be airtight.

    Xtol is a great developer. It was the last real step forward in B&W developers.

  5. #5
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    XTOL does not care about the color of the bottle nor whether or not it is glass or an accordion as long as it does not leak. Rumors about XTOL not liking one wearing pink have also proven to be false! They are just that, rumors.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  6. #6

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    Mixing 5L at a time is a bit of a hassle. I have been mixing Xtol in 2.5 liters (I dilute 1+1 at time of development to make stock solution) and I get 500ml amber plastic bottles (5) and 1-250ml and 1-125ml at my local pharmacy. The original 2.5L goes into the 5-500ml bottles at the outset.

    No matter how much I need for a developing session, I decant the remainder into the smaller bottles and leave no air space. Since doing this I have had no failures due to oxidation. Easy peasy, no storage issues with 5L of developer, no partially full bottles that will go bad per Kodak's shelf life schedule.
    -Fred

  7. #7
    SMBooth's Avatar
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    I brought a 5 litre water bladder (with water) and use that, the air doesnt get into the bladder. Work great.

  8. #8

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    I use Xtol in a replenishment scheme. My working solution lives in a 2 L Jobo plastic bottle, and the replenishment stock lives in a mixture of glass and Jobo plastic bottles. I keep the working solution at the very top of the bottle neck, and I purge any open space in the replenishment bottles with nitrogen.
    My last batch lasted for about 16 months and the main reason I retired it was that it was growing things.
    FWIW, I mix it with distilled water, as I know I have a fair amount of iron in my tap (well) water.

  9. #9
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    Read This.

    Accordion bottles are not suitable for storing developer because they are made of LDPE, which is quite permeable to oxygen. They're also basically impossible to wash out properly.

    Go buy a 5L or 10L bag-in-box container of spring water, they're made of metallised mylar which is pretty impermeable. Make your developer stock up using the water and store it back in the mylar bag. It will keep for about a year that way, and is super-convenient to use because you have developer stock on-tap with no need to open/close bottles, and the bag collapses as you consume the developer, so no oxygen gets in there at all.

    To further help with longevity, you want to reduce the quantity of oxygen dissolved in the water you make the stock with. Boil it first to drive out most of the dissolved gas and mix up the stock once the water has cooled to about 30C. You can also mix a 5L pack of Xtol into just 4L of water for a slightly more-concentrated stock and therefore 20% less available oxygen in solution; just make sure you remember that it is more-concentrated when you go to dilute and use it (instead of 100mL stock plus 100mL water, you use 80mL stock plus 120mL water per roll of film at 1+1).

  10. #10

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    I went through this myself....

    I do not use glass. I use plastic. BUT.... type of plastic matters. One with plastic code 2 at the bottom works fine for me. It keeps full 6 months and usually longer. I don't use accordion type. I have lots of small bottles and store mine "per serving" size. That way, exposure to oxygen is once when I mix it and one more time when I use it.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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