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  1. #11

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Melbourne, Australia
    Medium Format
    As you probably know, many salts are available in forms which differ in how much water is bound up in the crystalline structure. So you can get "anyhdrous" (no water) and various levels of "hydrate", the levels depending on the salt. e.g. sodium carbonate monohydrate, sodium carbonate decahydrate.

    In the case of sodium metaborate, there has been some unfortunate nomenclature which has been confusing. Lots of people don't know which version they have. Some vendors don't know what version they're selling (Vanbar in Melbourne, Australia where I got mine).

    These people make it (www.borax.com) and even they have made a mistake in one of the product sheets. See if you can find it.



    Some old photographic formulas don't specify which version was used.

    The maximum solubility depends on which level of water of crystallization. Maybe you have the one with less water of crystallization and you already have a saturated solution. I suggest that you use that, on the assumption that it's very close to what was intended. BUT, be very careful that any particles undissolved don't get into the working solution, for obvious reasons.

    Part B of PMK was always hard to dissolve completely.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Oregon and Austria
    4x5 Format
    Quote Originally Posted by KennethGoodman View Post
    I am new to this forum but would like some help with a problem

    Am in the process of making some PMK (Pyr-Metol-Kodalk) developer.

    Am having trouble dissolving the sodium metaborate in the water. The quantities are:

    600g metaborate
    2l distilled water
    at about 25 degrees Celsius

    Anybody out there who can help??

    Ken Rhodes
    Distilled water should do the trick. Make sure it's not just drinking water or the like. Make sure your metaborate is good quality (inferior grades may have impurities that won't dissolve). I've had trouble dissolving the metaborate in tap water, you really need distilled. You are making a saturated solution, so heat may also help. Start with a bit warmer water.

    If the problem persists, just double the amount of water you dissolve the metaborate in and then double the amount of part B you use when mixing the developer for use. The bit of extra water will make very little difference; if you are a stickler, compensate for the extra by mixing part A in appropriately less water.



  3. #13
    LikeAPolaroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Medium Format
    Resurrecting this old thread to ask a question: since metaborate has a natural tendency to cake, I want to store it as a liquid solution. I was planning to make a 20% solution. Any idea of what would be its shelf life? I'd keep it in a PET dark bottle, with as little air as possible.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Southern USA
    Multi Format
    I have never had a problem with caking when sodium metaborate is stored in a glass jar. Here in Florida the humidity is very high and no problem. When chemicals come shipped in bags or plastic containers I always transfer them to Mason (canning) jars. They are cheap, come in various sides and have replaceable lids. You can also get a canning funnel which is handy when transferring powders.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 09-26-2014 at 04:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  5. #15
    Jim Noel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Large Format
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by Mightycasey View Post
    So yes I am somewhat of a newb but if I may I have a question that I didn't really find an answer to searching the forums. I have been given an assignment through school to shoot B/W architectural exterior night shots with a 4x5. My instructor suggested that I use "Kodalk" to aid in development of my negs. He also used the term balanced alkali interchangeably but I haven't been able to find out much about it other than how to produce some.
    The questions that I have are: Does it do what I think it does as far as producing a larger tonal range therefore working better for night? How would I use it inline with Sprint systems developer, stop, and fix which is what we use at school? In place of the developer or in conjunction with? And what kind of times would I be looking at for something like Kodak T-Max 400?

    Thanks for any direction.
    As a retired Professor of Photography I think your instructor gave you a ridiculous assignment considering the chemistry you are forced to use at school.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

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