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  1. #1

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    Experimenting With Fix

    Hi all,

    I've been playing around with using coffee/washing soda as a developer for my paper neg's and I'm pleased with the results and look that I'm getting. I'm using a plain water stop bath, but now I'd like to make a simple fixer bath.

    OK - so I could purchase Sodium Thiosulphate and I know it's cheap and readily available, but am I right in thinking that in the early days of photography sea water was used to fix images?

    It may need lots of water and/or take a longer time to work but I'm interested in finding out a bit more about whether a saline solution could be used, i.e. by dissolving a quantity of table salt in water.

    Does anyone have any ideas about whether it would work? What ratios would be needed? How long it would take? Has anyone out there tried it?!

    Thanks,
    David.
    Creative Image Maker e-magazine is back! Find out more at http://creativeimagemaker.blogspot.com

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I don't think you are correct in thinking sea water is a fixer. The Navy used sea water to wash negatives, save for the final rinse which was fresh water. The reason for this was to conserve fresh water on board the ship for cullinary purposes. The photogs would place the developed film in mesh and drag it behind the ship for a few minutes then final wash and dry.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  3. #3

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    Well, it's certainly a possibility that I got the wrong end of the stick! But, I'm also fairly sure that I had read somewhere (and that's the problem as I don't remember where) that an essentially saline solution was used - or at least tried - as a fixer in the early days...

    Unfortunately, when I read it I was actually searching for something else and paid little attention to it at the time, now all I have is this vague recollection!
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  4. #4
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    I've tried very strong table salt solutions to try and fix film before with absolutely no effect.
    www.gregorytdavis.com

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  5. #5

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    Sorry, but there is no practical substitute for sodium thiosulfate or ammonium thiosulfate as a fixing agent.
    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

  6. #6

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    OK - I guess that's answered that one! Thank you all for your comments :0)

    David.
    Creative Image Maker e-magazine is back! Find out more at http://creativeimagemaker.blogspot.com

    Thank you.

  7. #7
    Rudeofus's Avatar
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    The beautiful property of thiosulfates is that they form a very stable and soluble complex with silver salts, and as a result they effectively remove all remaining silver salts from you film. That's why thiosulfates work so well as fixers. There is no indication that sodium chloride can substitute for that.

    And one more point: sewage plants really hate silver salts because they kill their bacteria. Even if you can fix a roll of film with 50l of sea water, you have just created 50l of hazardous waste which should definitely not go in your drain. Compared to these troubles a few spoonfuls of thiosulfate sounds quite nice
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

  8. #8

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    I'm thinking that I really need to start a chemistry degree or something to understand all this!

    Thanks for the information, Rudeofus; as mentioned above, I'm aware that sodium thiosulphate is cheap and easy to get hold of, but it was just a thought...

    Cheers.
    Creative Image Maker e-magazine is back! Find out more at http://creativeimagemaker.blogspot.com

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  9. #9
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Thought process are good for all of us. Do not stop thinking or asking questions, it's how we learn.
    Rick A
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  10. #10
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    You are correct that in the very early days salt was used to try to stop ongoing development. William Henry Fox Talbot tried it unsuccessfully until Herschel advised that sodium hyposulfite (the misnomer for thiosulphate) would do the job. This is also the source of the word hypo being used for fixer today.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

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