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  1. #1

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    Old bromide papers and lith developing

    Hi, I've been lurking around for a while - thought it high time I took the plunge and posted.

    I'm new to the whole darkroom thing, but I've into photography for years. In the last six months I've aquired the means to build up a rudimentary darkroom with a Durst M605 B+W enlarger, cat litter trays, pasting tables, chems and safelighting in my attic.

    This weekend I went to a camera fair, and brought a car boot full of old papers for 20 pounds, the seller seemed keen to shift it on all at once and I thought it worth a risk as that price normally would buy about 30 sheets not several hundred.

    It took three trips to the car park to load it all, and in there I have old kodak bromide papers, Ilford papers graded 2,3 and 4, loads of Agfa papers, kentona papers. So many different flavours of paper, I'm still figuring out whats what.

    Most of the multigrade/polygrade seems to be very fogged using the "normal" processing technigues, but the graded fibre papers seem to be only slightly fogged, some boxes worse than others.

    This is all new to me but in conjunction with processing normally I've also been playing with a fotospeed lith kit, so I threw one of the worst fogged fibre papers (I think it was old kodak Bromathon or something) into the lith dev after overexposing 5x to see what happened.

    My expectations were not high, but to my surprise the print came up not bad at all, nice pinkish/orange mid-tones with some fairly bad pepper fogging, but pure whites on the highlights and fairly true blacks.

    Its just got me thinking, I know the paper would no way be viable to use in plain B&W but the results with lith developer seemed that the paper might just be usable. Just wandering really if anyone else has any experience with "ancient" papers and lith, and if this is worth me persevering with, or if the results are never going to be as good as fresh paper.

    Oh, and one last thing, if anyone has any suggestions for a printing novice like me to stop my paper curling up during drying like the dead sea scrolls, I'd love to hear them !!

    Cheers
    Dan

  2. #2
    karavelov's Avatar
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    In lith printing papers had greater reciprocity failure factor. that's why you need to overexpose compared to normal b&w development. One of the side effects is that the base fog do not show, it is not developed. You could try also polygrade and variable contrast papers for lith printing, some of them are nice if they have not incorporated developer.

    Another option for using the slightly fogged papers is adding small amounts of potassium bromide to the developer. It will restrain fogging but you have to give a little bit more exposure.

    Best regards
    luben

  3. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Don't know much about lith printing, except that your Kentmere Kentona is supposed to work great for the process.

    In respect to drying prints flat, I have hung them up to dry in pairs, back to back, with clothes pins in all corners. It's not perfect, but better than hanging them single. The best way is probably emulsion side down on nylon screens.

    - Thom
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #4

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    Cheers for the ideas, I've come down from the attic tonight and I don't seem to be having the same success, wondering if yesterday was just a fluke!

    During the same kind of experiment with the fotospeed lith dev today, making up a small quantity of about 200ml, and using ilfobrom grade3 paper and kodak t1 (looks late 1970s - early 1980s judging from the graphics, no dates to be found on this paper)

    The paper starts to pink up, but doesn't ever make it past the point of slightly developed... when I chuck in another similarly exposed sheet it hardly develops at all. Its like the papers are exhausting the developer really really quickly.

    Could this be because of dev in the paper? I don't know much about the chemistry, and its hard to find clues. I can feel a purchase of Tim Rudmans book coming on, I'm suffering with a bad case of trial-and-error here

  5. #5
    matti's Avatar
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    I love my old fogged emaks paper in lith. Here is an example. Get back in there! After one good day comes a bad with lith printing.
    /matti

  6. #6

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    Dan, went through this myself last summer, with about forty boxes of paper from an estate sale. I've lithed all the old stuff you mentioned with the exception of the Kodak. According to Moersch, the test to see if a paper is "lithable" is place a drop of solution B on a scrap of paper. If it rapidly develops, it's no good. (I think a sodium hydroxide solution also works.)

    Regarding the fogging, I agree with the above, seems like you can get away with a step of fog with lith. Potassium bromide helps this as was mentioned, if you have the patience!

    By the way, the LD20 says it should be used within 60 days of opening . . .I have found this to be conservative, but it won't last six months. So if you don't get to the darkroom often, if an old paper won't lith, don't discount it if your developer is old.

  7. #7

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    Tonight went better. I think my stingeyness with a dribble of dev in the tray might not have helped. Tonight I made about 600ml of the LD20 and a splash of the old brown.

    Lithed up some Oriental Seagull first, followed by some more Kodak grade 3, and some wildcard paper in an umarked white box. Every paper lithed up wonderfully and I have 6 10x8s and a huge lith now hung up to dry above the bath.

    I'm amazed at the difference in the papers. The seagull goes a dark muddy brown, the unmarked box goes a light peachy brown, and the kodak liths in a fairly pure black. Really happy to be making progress again and making use of this old paper, I have plenty to practice on now at least!

  8. #8

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    drying FB / old papers with Lith dev

    [QUOTE=danwarren;450883]
    Oh, and one last thing, if anyone has any suggestions for a printing novice like me to stop my paper curling up during drying like the dead sea scrolls, I'd love to hear them !!

    Hello

    Thanks for your mail on old papers and lith. I just got some old papers yesterday and was wondering about the results. I'm into printing for years but only lith a few times and really into it now.
    Some of the brands I've got are Lumiere lumitra and elysee, Gevaert, Leonar leigrano, Agfa brovira (the subtitles are promissing: "sand" grain, "silk" grain, extra white rayon, cream glossy…)

    If anyone knows which ones are good for lith????

    I haven't got time to see all the papers the old man had in his flat (should I say museum?). I went there looking for a replacement enlarger and came back with tons of equipment, large trays, papers roll of Agfa brovira… and for nothing. That incredible man needed space and just wanted to get rid of many books and photo equipment. Need to go back to see the other papers!!

    I hope I can get old kentona too. Seems like it's way better than the new version for lith…

    About drying:

    What I do for drying FB papers, is to lay the print on a glass face up, get rid of the water with a clean sponge and fix it all around to the glass using a special adhesive tape (sorry I don't know the name of that tape in english). They use it for fixing paintings to frames. The glue of that tape sticks with water, when drying. I leave the print to dry something like one day and cut the paper to release the print.

    You need to print with enough blank space around the photo to be able to put the tape and cut. Sometimes the print sticks to the glass (maybe cause the glue of the tape goes under the paper…?) a bit but most of the time it's ok and flat!

    Good luck!



 

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