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  1. #1

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    Bleach, wash for 30mins!? then tone

    Are there any long term effects caused to a print if it's bleached, given a wash shorter than the recomended time, and then toned? I can understand that if the bleach isn't washed off the print properly before toning, that this might cause uneven results. But i'm curious what other reasons there are for giving such a long wash otherwise.

    I'm working with Fibre based papers and bleach/sepia toners.

    Cheers,
    Ciaran

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I've certainly never washed any print for 30 mins after bleaching, only ever long enough to wash out all the bleach and with fibre based papers until the paper shows no traces, usually around 3-5 minutes. I've never had any problems that way in 40+ years, I've also never read anything about washing that long either.

    Ian

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    That's what I love about this place. I can be in the darkroom with a query, and less than five minutes later have an answer: thanks!

    Well I read 20-30 minutes for FB papers in Tim Rudman's 'Master Printing Course'. I've been following that procedure for a while, but now that I've a lot of printing to do and not so much time; I'm always looking for time quicker options. Plus it would be nice to save some water.

    Ciaran

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    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Ditto what Ian said, I wash the bleach off usually no longer than 5-7min

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarize View Post
    Well I read 20-30 minutes for FB papers in Tim Rudman's 'Master Printing Course'. I've been following that procedure for a while, but now that I've a lot of printing to do and not so much time; I'm always looking for time quicker options. Plus it would be nice to save some water.
    Ciaran
    Ciaran, when I wrote that book almost 15 years ago in 1993 (published in 94) that was the received wisdom and a number of authorities at the time (including Kodak if I recall correctly so long ago) warned of dire problems if a full wash of that order was not carried out.
    However, it was also the norm at that time to bleach fully, and often (especially with Kodak papers) this took quite a long time, allowing the bleach to penetrate deeply into the baryta layer and paper's fibres.

    Since then I have pushed at the boundaries repeatedly and searched for signs of the predicted but never specified problems and never encountered any, although I tend to err on the side of caution.

    My current practice when split toning/bleaching (as opposed to full bleaching) is to time the bleach according to test results and then shift the print swiftly into an adjacent half full sink and hose it off as quickly as possible to move any bleach from the emulsion fast, as uneven toning can occur if the print is just put into water, which allows bleach to keep working - often unevenly.

    I then wash until all signs of yellow have disappeared and then some more for safety, but as I am hosing during most of this time, washing off the bleach is fast and 5 minutes is usually sufficient for FB in my experience with light bleaching.
    If I am bleaching longer or with a hard to clear bleach like dichromate, I will wash longer - much longer with dichromate.

    I should add that I often bleach for sepia quite lightly, and with warmtone papers this can be less than a minute in quite dilute bleach, so there is not much chance for bleach to soak deeply into the fibres of the paper.

    Tim

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    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Thinking about it these short wash times are what have always been recommended in manufacturers data sheets, usually for their own formulae bleaches/toners, they work so there's no point wasting water. Back in the 70's I did a lot of research & practical testing of toners and short wash times never caused any problems.

    Ian

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    Thank you both.

    Tim, I suspected that the thinking on required wash times might have changed over the years.
    As you suggest, I have been hosing my prints down quickly for most of the day, and am only split toning - 40 seconds maximum in the bleach (diluted 1+20 for Ilford MGFB, and 1+40 for Fortezo - man that bleaches quickly!)

    Ciaran

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarize View Post
    ...a wash shorter than the recomended time,
    and then toned? I'm working with Fibre based
    papers and bleach/sepia toners. Cheers. Ciaran
    Shorter than 2 minutes? My packet of Kodak Sepia Toner
    instructions; after 5-8 minutes in the bleach, a minimum
    rinse of 2 minutes in running water then tone.

    It would be interesting to know where a lot of these
    "recommended" this and thats come from. Thirty. Try
    a generous 2 minutes and see what happens. All you've
    got to lose is a lot of wasted time and water.

    BTW, if you'd care to save more water give the print
    two or three short rinses using a tray and minimum
    amounts of water. Dan

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by dancqu View Post
    It would be interesting to know where a lot of these
    "recommended" this and thats come from. Thirty. Try
    a generous 2 minutes and see what happens. All you've
    got to lose is a lot of wasted time and water.
    The above post clears that up (Dr. Tim Rudman's book), although I should have mentioned the source initially.

    I was more concerned with any long term effects of not washing sufficiently. Anyway...

    ...I'm noticing that some of my prints, AFTER toning and washing have a much rougher/dryer surface texture than before - almost like a residue that is imbedded onto the surface. It's not visible, but they certainly feel different to the touch, almost brittle and no longer smooth.

    Any suggestions on possible causes?

    I think I washed the prints at a higher temp than usual, but the emulsion doesnt look stessed or anything.

    Ciaran

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarize View Post
    ...I'm noticing that some of my prints, AFTER toning
    and washing have a much rougher/dryer surface texture
    than before - almost like a residue that is imbedded onto
    the surface. It's not visible, but they certainly feel
    different to the touch, almost brittle and no longer
    smooth. Any suggestions on possible causes?
    Ciaran
    Kodak instructs the use of a hardener after the
    toning. The paper's included hardeners apparently
    suffer when sulfide treated. Do you know which
    sulfide you are using? Kodak's? Dan

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