stick the wet prints via there edges with white water colour tape onto glass, it will then dry in a few hours under tension and will be as flat as when you pulled it from the box, simple, just squeegee the print well and use a spray gun to wet the water colour tape and the sponge the excess water off
In my experience, the only time they'll be perfectly flat is when they've been dry-mounted on card. To get them tolerably flat meantime, I follow much the same procedure as others above, but with much less equipment. Air dry for a few hours face-up on taut fly-screen material until the emulsion side is visibly dry. Then turn over and let them finish drying face-down. Once touch-dry, they will be curled along the edges. Place them in neat stacks of up to 6 sheets, all facing the same way, with a waste print to protect the emulsion of the top one. Place each stack on a flat surface with a pile of large heavy books on top. All the books must be larger than the print. Leave for 3-4 days, or longer if you can bear the suspense!
Originally Posted by nyoung
It's not so much a question of getting them to dry flat for me; it's getting them flat after they are dry. I air dry my prints on screens in the basement--so they do not get bone dry. Then, what I do is interleave the prints in clean blotter sheets; place them between two large pieces of 3/4 inch plywood I bought and cut for the purpose; then stacking books on top for a coupla days. Low tech, but it works well.
Ferrotype tins are for glossing.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
The ideal, I think, is drying on fiberglass mesh screens (mosquito net!) and flattening with a dry mounting press (and cooling down under the same press and storing in a proper way).
As far as I understand the prints curl because of the edges are drying faster than the rest of the print; this leads to some kind of tension in the paper base and the print curls. With this in view I use a combination of several methods: fiberglass mesh screens, blotters, an ordinary flatbed print dryer, and a press – I use an old fashioned plant press, but other solutions is of course possible. The rest sounds complicated, but works quite good and now almost second nature!
The prints are squeegeed and put face down on fibreglass screens; on top some layer of acid free blotters to avoid too much curling. The prints should not be entirely dry at this stage of the process, it is enough that they can be put face to face without sticking to each other. When dry to that extent it’s time to use the plant press. Normally I make my prints on 91/2x12 in. papers, so I have cut some acid free blotters to the same size, and I use them between pairs of the prints put face to face, thus making up a bundle with prints and blotters (and blotters on top and back of the bundle as well) that is put into the press.
After some hours in the press the moisture in the prints seems to be more evenly distributed and the prints in fact entirely flat–but off course still not completely dry! In fact it will take weeks for the prints to dry in the press! So, it’s time to use the electric print dryer to squeeze out the remaining moisture in the prints. The dryer can be quite hot and the print is completely dry within a minute or so (putting your hands on the canvas of the dryer you will easily feel when the print is dry!).
It would be nice if this was enough, but unfortunately it is not! The very dry and now more and less hot and quite flat print should cool down in the press, and for the best results, in my experience, between the blotters which probably contain a rest of moisture and thus gives the print some kind of normal humidity. After some hours in the press the process is complete and the prints are flat, and they will stay flat, if properly stored.
I have explained my method to some friends with print curling problems who responded by investing in a dry mounting press! Maybe they made the right decision, but I think my method works quite nice – at least for me.
Before I acquired a dry mount press I would place prints between sheets of acid free mounting board and place weights on top after drying between screens. Now I flatten in the press and then let them cool between mat boards with just a couple books for weight. Depending on the brand of paper they may re-acquire a light wave or bow when stored loose in archival boxes but that is easily eliminated with either dry mounting or tape mounting to a back board with a window mat on top.
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I always thought it was because the paper and emulsion were affected differently by the dry/wet/dry cycle in that the paper expands slightly and that caused the print to curl. Double weight prints are stiffer and thus do not curl as much. RC papers keep the paper almost completely dry, so they do not curl much at all. If you keep the print mechanically flat when drying then the paper will generally remain flat. In the old days you had drying presses, which essentially kept it flat while adding heat to assist the drying process. Seems that someone could make a good cottage business building print drying presses again.
Originally Posted by Bertil
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The greatest advance in photography in the last 100 years is not digital, it's odourless stop bath....
Paul, you are probably right that the curling tendency of fiber paper also depends on the difference in how the paper and the emulsion side are affected in the process. But I rely on the following experience: if you let the wet print dry on the mesh, the edges are quite dry and curling after some time, though the center is still not that dry but quite flat. Putting such a print under pressure between blotters for some hours, you will have a flat print, though still not dry, which - at least - feels as if the remaining moisture is very even distributed in the print. It's quite easy to flat dry such a print with an old electric print dryer, thus without using a expensive dry mount press. Just putting a wet print on such a drying press, at least if it's just the old type with a single sheet of cotton on top, will not always give a satisfactory result - at least I haven't succeed that way. With such a simple dryer you don't have to wait 3-4 days with the prints under a stack of books in order to fully inspect your results - it’s enough that the prints cool down under pressure during some hours.
There are obviously many simple methods, all are good if they work!
What I do now is:
Dry it at a hanger or flat on a glass plate.
(Before I taped it to the glass, but due to the shrinking in the length region of the paper, it looks different than the one dried without tape.)
Next I flat it under a press at 85 degrees C.
Next step is to get an archival piece of thick museum carton.
put a piece of hot press tissue at the back.
position it onto the carton and press it for 1.5 min at 85 degrees.
Next i take it out and put it between two heavy wood boards to let it drop temperature so that the glue will set itself in this position.
If you let it drop temp. without pressure the carton, it will get an angle, because one side is glued and the other side not.
Sure, Dry and Flat in one operation. I've posted a few times
Originally Posted by wogster
this thread detailing the method I employ. Two components;
corrugated board and interfacing, a non-woven hydrophobic
material; that rather than an absorbent blotter material.
A practically costless, COOL way to flat-&-dry. How
about that? I may make it yet into a cottage
business with Flat-&-Dry. Dan
Maybe not helpful, but I go with squeegying prints on way out of wash (NOT with same squeegy used on darkroom splashback for evaluation!) using the thick acrylic dividers from the washer.
Prints then go face up onto mesh drying screens, and curl like hell while drying, finally settling a little.
Finally, I crank up the secret weapon - an old Kodak drum glazer. The drum itself has a coupla scratches and could never work as a glazer again, but I set the thing going nice and slowly at a moderate temperature, and once it's warmed up I feed prints in. They go in on the belt face down. Care needs to be paid or you could get folded corners. Prints come out nice and flat once cooled again.
In my experience super curly prints that never flatten have almost certainly spent far too long wet, in which case you are washing to excess or you left them soaking overnight or something. The only evidence I've ever seen for Eastern European papers being less flattenable is the old Forte RC's - which were simply on a thinner base and had a much shorter wet time than Ilford's much heavier RC MGIV. Less mucking about and better washing fixed this no problem. I've yet to meet an FB that won't dry properly once you've bothered to find out what it likes and what it doesn't. General rider: any print will curl a little due to humidity at times. Restricting this may not be a good idea long term for the structure of the paper as a whole - note that archival mounting techniques stipulate essentially hanging the print in the mat from one edge...