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  1. #1

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    How to tone Rc prints (and make them archival) without ruining the prints themselves?

    I need to tone some 200 prints to make them archival.
    They are on Rc papers and I have a bottle of KRST handy to mix.
    I'm concerned about the fact that Rc papers can be ruined because of a too long immersion in chemicals or in water.
    If the "accepted" standard is to tone to 6 min @ KRST 1+9, counting all steps of development, stop, fixing, toning, washing the total of 15 minutes can be exceeded thus letting water or chemicals penetrate in the paper base, peeling off the emulsion and ruining the print.
    What are your method of toning Rc prints without ruining them?

  2. #2
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandro Serrao
    I'm concerned about the fact that Rc papers can be ruined because of a too long immersion in chemicals or in water.
    If the "accepted" standard is to tone to 6 min @ KRST 1+9, counting all steps of development, stop, fixing, toning, washing the total of 15 minutes can be exceeded thus letting water or chemicals penetrate in the paper base, peeling off the emulsion and ruining the print.
    I never had a problem with the emulsion peeling off from water immersion back when I was using RC. In fact, I was shocked when I read Ilford's caution of no more than 11 (?) or so minutes.

    I wouldn't try toning all 200 at the same time - break it up into lots of 10 or sone, tone and wash them, then start drying.
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  3. #3

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    I've had Ilford RC papers in solutions a lot longer than 15 minutes. I've toned some Ilford RC papers for 20+ minutes. I've had Ilford RC papers in hot toning solutions for extended periods of time. It's never damaged them in any way.

    Commonly accepted attitude is that RC paper is not really archival. It certainly can't hurt it to tone it, though.

  4. #4
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    I don't think that toning with selenium is guaranteed to make anything archival any more unless you tone enough to actually change the color of the print. It used to be thought that a little bit of selenium (but not enough to change the color) gave you archival qualities. That was disproved in a study somewhere. Ah, here it is:
    http://silvergrain.org/Photo-Tech/toners.html Read the part about Selenium toning. The study in question was done in 1991/late 80s.

    Do a search on the Kodak web site. I believe they say "keep the toning times to a minimum" with resin coated paper. See:
    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe.../g23/g23.jhtml for example. So it looks like if you mix according to the bottle and use the minimum time you will be fine. But your print will turn reddish-brown or brown depending on the paper you are using.

    I think that David Vestal's darkroom book is a great source for info on toning and washing, even if it is a little older.

    Best,

    Will
    Last edited by Will S; 04-13-2005 at 11:20 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  5. #5
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    Their number is probably conservative. I've had RC prints (Ilford RC) continuously wet for probably 25 minutes with no problems. Also I think the important term is continuously. The prints are now dry so with the pre-wetting before toning, about 3 minutes,6 minutes toning and probably another 5 minutes washing the 14 minutes or so you will be fine.
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  6. #6
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    If you use the 1:9 dilution, don't go more than 2 minutes or you may end up with purple prints. As the toner ages, you can go longer, but be careful and do a test first to get the image color you want. RC paper isn't long lasting to begin with, fiber is better in most respects, but it does take longer to clear.

  7. #7

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    The warnings against keeping RC prints immersed for proloned periods of time are extremely conservative. While I don't recommend that you hold them for hours in a bath of anything, there's no need to worry about the extra time it takes to tone and rewash them. The advice about not doing them all at once is very sound. At best, it will become a logistical nightmare.

    You can tell if you've had the prints wet for too long because the very tips of the corners are first to become a bit soft. It's not a big problem, just a small indicator to watch for.

    If you are really out to make archival prints, common wisdom indicates that you should be using fiber based instead of resin coated papers. I don't know. This might be yet another case of some conventional wisdom that at one time was valid. Today's RC papers are not anything like the very earliest versions and are likely to last quite a long time with proper storage. Then again, today's FB papers are not like the FB papers of old either. Who knows if it will last 100 years. Let me know what happens...

  8. #8

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    Good Evening, Alessandro,

    I'm pretty much in agreement with the general sentiments expressed above. I routinely run my contact sheets (Kodabrome RC) and any halfway-important prints (Ilford MG-IV RC or Polymax RC) through KRST 1:20 or so in my hypo-clear solution. I'm only hoping for a little extra permanence, not any color change. I don't think that the extra wet time is of any real consequence at all. I've overlooked faulty prints which were accidentally left for hours in the wash and have never noticed any damage; I'm sure there's a limit to this abuse of RC paper, but it must be well beyond the manufacturers' indications.

    Konical

  9. #9
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    A lot of info on archival matters HERE. Despite the name of the book, there is a lot of info on B&W materials too and materials used for both B&W and colour. It's an 80MB download, but for dialup users it can be downloaded chapter by chapter. Chapters 13, 14 & 15 seem to contain info most relevant to B&W prints and the mounting of them.


    Cheers, Bob.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Konical
    Good Evening, Alessandro,

    I'm pretty much in agreement with the general sentiments expressed above. I routinely run my contact sheets (Kodabrome RC) and any halfway-important prints (Ilford MG-IV RC or Polymax RC) through KRST 1:20 or so in my hypo-clear solution. I'm only hoping for a little extra permanence, not any color change. I don't think that the extra wet time is of any real consequence at all. I've overlooked faulty prints which were accidentally left for hours in the wash and have never noticed any damage; I'm sure there's a limit to this abuse of RC paper, but it must be well beyond the manufacturers' indications.

    Konical
    Konical,
    I've started this thread because, before even attempting to ruin these 200 photos I've tried to tone some crap unimportant one printed on Ilford and Agfa Rc paper.
    The sum time is as follows:
    1) a first cycle of normal development consisting of (2min dev., 10 sec stop, 1.5 min fix, water for 3-4 min, final rinse in photo-flo)
    2) a first attempt to tone with KRST @ 1+20 (first wash for 4 min, tone for 6 min, final wash for 4 min)
    3) then somewhere on the Net I've stumbled across the news that KRST @ 1+20 doesn't offer that much protection, so I've put these prints under another tone cycle with KRST @ 1+9 (first wash 2 min, tone 6 min, last wash 4 min).

    So, to sum up, these prints have undergone a total of 34 min total wet time, and I can assure you that the water and chemical solutions has begun to enter the paper base. The first sign of danger was soft edges.
    I've had to trim the prints in order to salvage them.
    So to me 34 min of wet time is too much for Rc paper.
    What are your real-life experiences?

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