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  1. #1
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Is it necessary to squeegee prints?

    I've only ever used RC paper and will soon be transitioning over to fiber, as soon as I get all my orders in! With RC, as soon as it's washed it goes through the print dryer we have in the darkroom, although I know that fiber has to dry naturally on print screens (we have those there too). One of the girls in my class prints on fiber and she doesn't squeegee her prints and I was wondering how necessary it is. I certainly don't use a squeegee for film (just my fingers) and I wonder if print squeegees would damage the emulsion on the print at all. Are some better than others? Or are they generally used for RC papers? Are they really necessary? Thanks.

  2. #2

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    I have only ever used a squeegee for fiber prints. It helps the prints dry faster... the squeegee squishes out quite a bit of water.

    I carefully squeegeee both sides then leave the print face down to dry on a screen.

    as far as I know, not squeegeeing your print will only make it take longer to dry.... my only guess as a bad thing is the large amount of dampness in the paper may cause the face down emulsion to be more likely to gain an imprint of the screen that it is sitting on during the drying process.... about that, i dont know though!
    "Where is beauty? Where I must will with my whole Will; where I will love and perish, that an image may not remain merely an image."

  3. #3

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    You will get a plethora of answers on this. I find they are easier to handle wet if they have been squeegied, as they aren't as heavy in that fragile state. I squeegie face down on a clean sheet of plexiglass, and dry face down on clean screens. I am sure some folks do the exact opposite. Yes, fear of damaging the emulsion is why I squeegie face down. To answer your question, no, it is not necessary. You can use a wiper blade if you want to, but I like it to have more flex.

  4. #4
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    I think it makes sense to remove excess water off of a fiber print before drying. You won't damage the emulsion if you're careful. I lay the wet print face down on a piece of plexi glass (the bottom of a flat bottomed tray would work as well) and squeegee the back, lift the print, squeegee the plexi, lay the print face up, and CAREFULLY squeegee the front. Then I hang to dry! By the way, I use a windshield wiper and have never damaged a print.

  5. #5
    Contrastique's Avatar
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    I use this (see image below) to make the print dry faster and to avoid stains from drying up (we have a lot of lime in the water here). I just whipe it off and no worries about damaging the emulsion.

    I couldn't find a better image, i use a leather one with these tiny holes in it:


  6. #6
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    Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but the emulsion side, and the back side dry at different rates which is what can cause the fiber prints to curl. I think when you squeegee them, you can minimize that curling somewhat. Better to get it drying without the excess water. That said, years ago, I squeegeed part of the emulsion off a print, and it kind of put me off doing it.

    So, I have prints from years ago that I didn't squeegee, and then for awhile I only squeegeed the back... all have stood the test of time, and, in fact, they are flat, finally!! So, it may not be necessary, but I think with some care it's quite useful, and I squeegee both sides now, and knock wood... haven't wrecked any in the process.

  7. #7
    ann
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    we stopped years ago.

    the higher the humidity the slower the drying time, the flatter the prints.

    with rc, that scratch very easily and so we stopped that as well.
    http://www.aclancyphotography.com

  8. #8
    keithwms's Avatar
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    I never squeegee.

    Okay, only if I want a really quick check of drydown, then I microwave the print after squeegee.

    But for a proper print I don't squeegee, I steam the room up and let the thing dry nice 'n slowly.

    For final flatness I use a drymount press, oftentimes without any serious heat, just stack the prints in between tracing paper and clamp the press down and briefly heat it a bit, then unplug it, and go away for a day. Perfectly flat prints by the dozens, no scratches, no problems.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuzanneR View Post
    Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but the emulsion side, and the back side dry at different rates which is what can cause the fiber prints to curl. I think when you squeegee them, you can minimize that curling somewhat. Better to get it drying without the excess water. That said, years ago, I squeegeed part of the emulsion off a print, and it kind of put me off doing it.
    Nope, I won't correct you because I think you are absolutely correct. Your experience mirrors my own with fiber based prints, down to squeegeeing the emulsion right off the face of the print once. If you are careful, that shouldn't be a problem. I use a window washer's squeegee obtained at Home Depot and dry the prints face UP on a screen though. Maybe because I don't use a hardening fixer, I have had finished prints with the pattern of the screen embossed into the emulsion when I dry them face down. I've been using a home brewed print flattener as well. It's nothing more than a 2 or three of ounces of glycerin plus 2 to 3 ounces of drugstore rubbing alcohol in enough clean water to make 1/2 gallon. The exact proportions aren't too important, and the alcohol preserves the solution. I won't even begin to argue that this leaves my prints in "archival" condition. All I can say is that after three years, the earliest prints I have treated this way still look like new.

  10. #10
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    I've always squeegeed my prints - both RC and FB. Helps them dry faster. I've never had a problem with scratches.

    But I never squeegee negatives - not even with my fingers.
    Louie

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