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  1. #1

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    Mixing chemicals & storage

    I'm brand new and I have my darkroom all set up. I'm going to mix my chemicals for developing T Max 100. The chemicals I bought are all for making 1 gallon. Right now I have one of those half gallon brown storage bottles for the D-76 and a couple 2 liter soda bottles I was going to use for the Stop and Fix.

    I now realize that this could pose a problem trying to figure out exactly how much is half of a pack of powder intended for 1 gallon. Should I just sink the money into buying all 1 gallon brown containers or is there an easier way to do this? Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Don't ever mix 1/2 of any powdered mix. The mix often becomes non-uniform and therefore performs unevenly. You should mix the entire powder package in the amount of water specified.

    Sorry for the bad news, but this is the case for powders.

    PE

  3. #3
    ann
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    don't try to mix just half a pack, you need to mix the whole thing.
    you could put the mixed chemicals in several bottles. and frankly i would just invest in getting some gallon containers. i hve several at the lab if you want to pay the shipping and give a small donation to the school i would be glad to send them along. If not that is ok, but i would NOT try to mix half the pack.
    http://www.aclancyphotography.com

  4. #4

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    Dear rpohagan,

    Make your life easier, don't reuse your developer. Mix up a full gallon and put it in two half gallon containers. Using it "one shot" will ensure that you go through it before it degrades and you don't have to worry about keeping track of how many rolls you put through a given amount of developer before adjusting times. Developer is much cheaper than film. As for the stop and fix, assuming you are using Kodak Indicator Stop, mixing a smaller amount is not difficult. Find an extra 2L bottle for the fixer and you will be fine. BTW: Purchase some Hypo Clearing Agent to reduce your wash time and help remove any stray bits of magenta stain.

    One last thing, purchase a copy of the Kodak Black & White Darkroom DATAGUIDE and keep it handy.

    Enjoy,

    Neal Wydra

  5. #5
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    Mixing the whole package at once is the way to go. Since air shortens the useful life of developer, rather than large jugs (like I use to use) I decant the gal. into 250ML glass amber large mouth bottles, fill to the brim, place a small square of saran wrap (for extra protection from air) and put the cap on. I think this will double or triple the storage life of the developer.

    Works for me, YMMV.

    I had a hard time finding affordable bottles and ended up buying a large quantity of them, brand new. Still have some for sale in the APUG classified.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the responses! Looks like I'll head out to Calumet tomorrow to pick up some gallon bottles.

  7. #7

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    Get a few more 1L soda bottles. Remove the labels, and write the name of the contents on the bottles with a magic marker.
    Frank Schifano

  8. #8

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    I concur with the advice to store chemicals in small bottles. One way to go is to mix sizes. For instance, for 1 gallon (3.785 liters) of developer, you could use three 1-liter bottles, one 500ml bottle, and one 250ml bottle. (Most bottles are labelled slightly pessimistically, so it'll probably all fit.) You'd then start using the stuff from the 250ml bottle, and when it's gone, open the 500ml bottle, use some of it and put the rest in two 250ml bottles. This approach will minimize air exposure until shortly before you use the chemicals, thus maximizing longevity.

    As to bottles, for stop bath and fixer, it doesn't matter much (except that acids tend to eat away metal caps), but for developer, preventing air exposure is the most important factor. Glass works best for this, but failing that, PET/PETE (#1 recycling symbol) bottles are the best type of plastic, whereas HDPE (#2 recycling symbol) is worst. See this page for details. For some reason most plastic bottles sold for photochemical storage in stores are HDPE.

    Personally, I reuse drink bottles. Soda, iced tea, and other beverages can still be bought in glass bottles. Drink the contents, wash the bottle, and it makes an excellent and cheap photochemical bottle. (That said, I live alone. If I had kids in the house, I might want to use bottles that look as different from real beverage bottles as possible.) This approach also won't work if you're in a hurry, unless you want to just dump the contents or hold a party.

  9. #9

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    beer bottles capped with a handheld bottle capper (part of my homebrewing gear) are completely airtight.

  10. #10
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    Ten minutes ago the company that hauls waste in our area came by to empty the recycling bins. The metal/glass/plastic bin contained several bottles that could readily have been reused to hold darkroom chemicals (except that I already have more than enough).

    My point is that ordinary household waste typically includes containers that work very well for storing darkroom chemicals. Remove the labels, wash them out and let them dry, and then reuse them. Storage bottles don't have to be brown (in my darkroom, the lights are out the vast majority of the time), and they don't have to be those ridiculous accordian thingies that cost premium bucks and don't really do anything to prolong the life of the contents. Saves money and saves the planet.

    Also, after you mix up that gallon of D-76 and transfer it to storage bottles, make sure that you completely fill the bottles - all the way to the top. The last bottle that you fill will be a partial bottle, and that's the one that you should work on first. That way, you minimize contact between the developer and air.
    Louie

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