I am a newcomer to enlarging but this thread got me to pondering various ideas, cheap ideas, lol!
What reason would there be against putting a piece of thin (say 2mm) very clean glass on top of the paper and projecting through it like a contact printing frame? Would it interfere with the focus or contrast?
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
Thanks for all your advice. I'll try wetting the back of the print (with water and with soda), as some of you have suggested, and look for that double-sided sticky tape. If that doesn't work, I might also try using 8.5x11-inch paper, setting a conventional bordered easel to produce a precisely 8x10-inch image, and trim it.
In my Cibachrome days, I carefully set up the enlarger, got everything ready to go, doused the light, and loaded the paper into the easel. I waited a minute, to get my hands on the Jobo tank before hitting the footswitch, and hit the switch.
This usually let the paper relax. Sometimes it only illuminated the top of my cat's head, who liked to hop up on to the easel to watch what I was doing.
In time, I just went back to black and white.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
This sounds like the varioformat easel. It is a versatile piece of kit and will also do two 5x7 prints at once. The four part light trap has guidelines on it
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
for this. The edge of my easel seems upright rather than bevelled. However if there is a bevel on the edge I have not noticed it being particularly successful at holding down paper which is bowed. Mine doesn't have sticky edges either but double sided paper at the edges would work provided it wasn't too strong. Is there a special Jobo sticky paper for the Varioformat perhaps which is like "post-it" notes in terms of stickiness but is double sided. If so I'd like to try it. I am wary of most double sided tape as it seems too powerful for this job
Ideally you'd need five stick points, one at each corner and one in the middle on the easel to keep the paper perfectly flat.
I usually bend my paper the opposite way before placing it but to be honest there is sometimes still a very slight bow in the middle. It doesn't seem to affect the edge to middle focussing enough to be noticed by the naked eye on the print, at least not my naked eye but I suspect a big bow would. If this is the case then it's either sticky tape or a constant heavy weight on the black bag which probably means a bigger box and only putting enough paper in the safe for the actual session.
My solution has been to purchase a piece of glass from my local commercial suppier of store display windows.
It is cut to the exact size of the paper. They polish the edges to eliminate cuts.
Thickness depends upon how much paper needs to be kept flat. A 250-sheet box requires at least half-inch glass. Perhaps quarter-inch might be heavy enough for fifty sheets. Eighth-inch common window glass from the hardware store isn't heavy enough.
Store the glass inside the paper carton on top of the sheets of paper. They will stay flat.
While you're at it, get a sheet one inch larger on all sides than 8x10 paper for making contact proofs. For proofs, be fussy and make sure the glass has no tiny scratches from handling. They will show on the print.
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It's impossible to use a grain focuser when the print is under glass -- the glass changes the focus very slightly (moves the plane of focus away from the lens by about 1/3 the thickness, near enough), so perfectionists, at least, couldn't focus, then drop the glass. The bigger problem,however, is that it's two more surfaces that can produce marks on the print -- dust, fingerprints, scratches, etc. -- and a 2 mm glass isn't heavy enough to reliably flatten a truly curly sheet anyway. Add to that the issues with composing the print (safelight filter? I can't see much under those) and having to lift the glass to move the paper, or keep the paper from moving while you drop the glass.
Originally Posted by Andy K
And then, just when you have everything right, you drop it...
I've been printing with the smallest border my easel will make (it has a movable stop under the fixed corner), with the expectation that I'll trim off the borders if I want a borderless dry mount. Personally, I don't at all mind a border on a print that will be handled; gives somewhere to grab without fingerprinting the image.
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.
You could try a Ganz Speed EZL. They do give you a border however, but you slide the paper in, under some built-in sides that hold the paper down.
I keep my paper flat in the paper-safe by flipping it over after each darkroom session.
Tske the paper and put it back in the package when done printing. About 1/2 emulsion
up, bottom, and the top emulsion down. Store compacted in original package.