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  1. #1

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    Keeping paper flat BEFORE exposure

    I've been doing darkroom printing for just a few months, using VC RC paper (mostly Agfa, but I did try some of Freestyle's Arista.EDU Ultra). I've got an 8x10 paper safe in which I keep most of my paper. Anyhow, I've noticed that when I first remove the paper from the box, it's flat. This is very handy when I want to make borderless prints; I just drop the paper on the borderless easel and that's it. After a few days in the paper safe, though, the paper curls, which means the only way to keep it flat for making a print is to put it in an easel that produces borders. I was just wondering what others' experiences are with this. Should I put a heavy object on the paper in the safe? Put it in the safe only during printing sessions, and keep it in its black plastic bag and box between sessions? Do something else? Thanks for any tips.

  2. #2
    glbeas's Avatar
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    There is a post-it style adhesive you can put in spots on your easel you can use, otherwise a vacuum easel is a good way to control unruly materials under the enlarger.
    Gary Beasley

  3. #3

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    You might try a barely damp sponge applying it to the back side of the print being careful not to dampen the front side. This might remove the curling long enough to make a exposure.
    Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)

  4. #4
    Andy K's Avatar
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    Not being able to afford a vacuum easel the only way round this I found was to use my masking frame. Unfortunately this does produce borders, but it isn't difficult to crop these off.


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

  5. #5
    Bill Mobbs's Avatar
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    Dip a cotton ball in your favorite soft drink and draw an "X" about the size of your paper... Let it dry a bit... all the brands I have tried are very sticky. If any sticks to your print it is gone by the final wash.
    "Nobody is perfect! But even among those that are perfect, some are more perfect than others." Walt Sewell 1947

  6. #6
    glbeas's Avatar
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    I have made my own vacuum easel with a drill and some formica. Drill a grid with a 1/4' bit, build it to the top of a shallow box and attach an old vacuum cleaner to it. Works best with the vacuum outside the darkroom, the air being piped through the wall with plastic drain pipe.

    Pay attention to reinforcing supports inside the box, as little a 5 psi vacuum can exert a total of 500 lbs on a 10x10 area.
    Gary Beasley

  7. #7
    naaldvoerder's Avatar
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    Would placing the paper emulsion side down, in the papersafe, with some sort of waight on it, be a solution??

  8. #8
    gainer's Avatar
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    My RC paper curls so the middle is higher than the sides on the easel. I roll it into a tube the other direction before I lay it down and it stays flat long enough for exposure. I have used double sided sticky tape at the corners also.

    If it curls away from the emulsion, your storage is probably on the humid side and a bag of silica gel may help. I'm tempted to use a small hair dryer on each curly sheet to dry the emulsion. If my dryer doesn't light up or can be shielded, I'll try it and let you know what happens.
    Gadget Gainer

  9. #9
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    Jobo (sigh) makes a borderless easel with the sticky edges and a bevel so that paper is held flat. You merely insert the paper into the easel and genly press the edges down.

    Lifting the paper is a snap. There is a handy lift lever you press and the paper is lifted above the edge at one corner for easy removal.

    The same easel comes with a 4 part light trap that allows you to make 4 exposures (4x5) on 1 8x10 sheet of paper, or 4 test exposures.

    Wonderful little device.

    PE

  10. #10
    fhovie's Avatar
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    I have never had issues with RC paper not lying flat - but - I live in a desert - My issues are with Fiber paper. I have concluded that all images will be printed with borders and likely the borders will get cut off at some time. The whole process after drying and flattening usually comprimises the 1/4 inch area around each photo anyway wo even if it were flat in the eisle, it would be lost after the process is done. A 7x9 or 10x13 image is just as fine to me as an 8x10 or 11x14.
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

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