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  1. #21
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woolliscroft View Post
    I'd just use tongs in the chemicals. You don't want them on your skin anyway, if only because even tiny amounts of fixer on your fingers can get onto the next sheet of paper you handle and leave nasty white finger prints on the image.

    David.
    Sometimes those nasty white marks don't show up for years, after you've perhaps sold or given the print to someone whose regard you esteem.

  2. #22

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    Dear Stephanie,

    As you are new to the darkroom, PM me your home address and I will send
    you the MULTIGRADE manual, should save you a few sheets of paper...
    and a few dollars, always handy at baby time.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :

  3. #23
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    To keep the fumes down you can use citric acid based stop which has no detectable odour (Ilfostop for example) and a low-odour fixer (Agfa FX Universal is probably the most economical with a neutral pH but there are others from Tetenal and Fotospeed and no doubt others). Luckily, most developers (at least the ones I've used) seem to be low in odour.

    I use stainless steel tongs with a self-closing spring. They have very grippy plastic tips. I was suspicious when I first saw them but in practice they grip the paper very well indeed - both RC and fibre - surprisingly, much more reliable than using the type you have to press.

    Good luck, Bob.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie Brim View Post
    Also, since I'm pregnant, I'm more worried about
    exposure. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Mr. Gainer should have chimed in. He is a proponent of
    the least toxic combinations of developer chemistries for
    both film and paper.

    Three chemicals are needed; phenidone, ascorbic acid,
    and borax. Ascorbic acid is commonly known as vitamine
    C. Phenidone is so little toxic that it need not be
    mentioned in MSDS sheets.

    To be most sure of non-toxic only solutions I suggest
    compounding your developers at home from the above
    three chemicals plus, for paper developer, a little
    potassium bromide.

    For fixer I suggest sodium thiosulfate alone. Sodium
    thiosulfate is used as a de-chlorinate for swimming
    pools. As a preventative of sulfite caused sulfur
    dioxide fuming, do not use it as a preservative
    but stir up small but workable volumes and
    replace as needed.

    Add a water stop, film and paper, and you've an
    odorless, fumeless, least toxic darkroom. Dan

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by dancqu View Post
    Mr. Gainer should have chimed in. He is a proponent of the least toxic combinations of developer chemistries for both film and paper.

    Three chemicals are needed; phenidone, ascorbic acid, and borax.
    I don't recall Pat Gainer posting, but I did mention the two commercial PC (phenidone/ascorbic acid) developers I know of: Agfa Neutol Plus and Silvergrain Tektol. Mixing a developer yourself vs. using a pre-mixed liquid developer does add to the risk, since you'll then have powdered chemicals floating about. OTOH, I doubt if many people would give a second thought to mixing powdered vitamin C into a drink or using any of the many powdered detergents that contain borax or sodium carbonate.

    Phenidone is so little toxic that it need not be mentioned in MSDS sheets.
    I'm not sure the issue is entirely a matter of phenidone's toxicity; I think it's at least partly because phenidone appears in such small quantities. A typical PC developer has about 0.1g of phenidone per liter of working solution, or proportionally more in a concentrate. I've seen many MSDSes that include notes to the effect that substances at under a 1% concentration are omitted. There's about ten times as much metol in a typical MQ developer, by comparison.

    That said, my understanding is that phenidone is among the least toxic of the common B&W developing agents.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by srs5694 View Post
    Mixing a developer yourself vs. using a pre-mixed ...
    There is an important point which I did not make at all obvious.
    If the OP compounds at home she will know exactly what is in
    her solutions. Should anything go wrong pinpointing the cause
    will be much easier and a remedy more quickly found.

    Off the shelf chemistry is laced with ph modifiers, sequestering
    agents and ????. Were I in her position I'd seriously consider
    compounding at home. Besides it's easy to do and fun. Dan

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by dancqu View Post
    There is an important point which I did not make at all obvious.
    If the OP compounds at home she will know exactly what is in
    her solutions. Should anything go wrong pinpointing the cause
    will be much easier and a remedy more quickly found.

    Off the shelf chemistry is laced with ph modifiers, sequestering
    agents and ????. Were I in her position I'd seriously consider
    compounding at home. Besides it's easy to do and fun. Dan
    I don't know how much experience the OP has, but IMHO it's probably best for newbies to begin with prepackaged chemicals (powdered or liquid). The reason is that there's plenty to learn with respect to the order in which to use various chemicals, agitation techniques, etc. If you have to learn to mix a developer from scratch, that just adds to the amount that must be learned from the start. Granted, most formulas aren't harder to follow than the average food recipe, but there's still learning involved regarding variant forms of chemicals (anhydrous vs monohydrate, for instance), locating sources of supply, etc. The extras you bemoan in commercial chemicals are there to prevent consistency problems, so between that and the extra complexity in mixing it yourself, I'd expect it'd be harder for a newbie to locate problems with home-mixed chemicals than with commercial chemicals.

    This is, however, getting rather far from the OP's stated concerns about chemicals: Safety given her pregnancy. For that, a PC (phenidone/vitamin C) formula has an edge over the more common MQ (metol/hydroquinone) formulas, and not handling powdered chemicals is desirable (although simple PC formulas' dry ingredients are unlikely to be very hazardous). The main safety advantage I can think of to mixing it yourself is that you can compound simpler developers and fixers than are readily available commercially, so there's less chance of having an adverse reaction to something in the chemicals.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by srs5694 View Post
    The main safety advantage I can think of to mixing it
    yourself is that you can compound simpler developers
    and fixers than are readily available commercially, so
    there's less chance of having an adverse reaction to
    something in the chemicals.
    I'd say we are in agreement. I'd only add that if there
    is some problem and if one knows what went into
    solution then a remedy is closer at hand. Dan

  9. #29
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    Stephanie! Congrats on the new (to you) enlarger!!! What a perfectly serendipitous thing to have right now. You will have tons of time to practice until the wee one is born!

    I can't speak for the chemical make-up of developers & fixers, but I do have some skin problems with my hands, so I use tongs. When I took a toning workshop, I also used disposable nitrile gloves (supplied by our thoughtful Gay Larson). There is no reason you cannot try both if it will ease your mind!

    This is very exciting, and RC paper is a good way to go to get the feel of things. I agree with the folks who recommended that you buy a box of 8x10 and cut it down. Remember, that you will need to cut it down in the area you create as your darkroom... erm... while it's dark (safelight on).

    I hope you will take Simon up on his offer! That book has tons of good info in it! Good luck & post up your practice prints!
    Jeanette
    .................................................. ................
    Isaiah 25:1

  10. #30
    sly
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    How you doing Stephanie? Did your darkroom get assembled? Have you had much time in it? How is the pregnancy/baby? Everything OK? Sly

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