I've often read that it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to get a true archival quality wash of DW FB paper without a wash aid, no matter how long you wash. (Maybe soaking over night in enough water, if it didn't damage the base or emulsion.)
I remember when this article appeared and still have the magazines, but here's a reprint of an excellent article about washing, and tests showing just how effective wash aid is:
I use the siphon, not to provide a final wash, but to provide a pre-wash for about 3 to 5 minutes, then they go to a holding tray ("they" being only the work prints / final prints that I want to keep)----I make judicial use of the trash can. Albeit somewhat cumbersome, I do all my final washing in the tub with several cycles of fill (agitate constantly for about 6 min), then drain, then fill and agitate again, etc...I only fill to the point that the prints start to float in the water. I've never had a residual hypo test return positive doing it this way. I hope to improve to an actual archival print washer with my darkroom that I'm preparing.
Originally Posted by hoffy
Using a tray siphon should be fine if it is functioning properly, if you wash long enough, and if you ensure that the back of the print gets as much exposure to the wash water as the front. Don't leave it stuck to the bottom of the tray, turn it periodically.
Your times are too short unless you are using the rather wasteful Ilford sequence and TESTING to make sure that there is acceptable residual hypo.
Print washers for fiber-base prints are well worth the investment if you want to wash more than one print at a time. eBay is full of them. Once you have one, you'll never go back. Buy one for the largest size you regularly print.
Fiber-base papers take more care with fixation. Two-bath fixation is standard and less wasteful than the Ilford sequence (as well as presenting less chance of working your fixer to exhaustion without realizing it). I use rapid fixers and fix in each bath for 1.5-2 minutes. This is followed by selenium toning, a rinse, a bath in wash aid for 10 minutes (or longer, sometimes I let the prints collect in the hypo-clear) and then a wash in an "archival" washer for minimum of one hour. Finally, a rinse in Sistan (a stabilizer) and then squeegee and dry.
My last residual hypo (HT-2) test (done before the stabilizer step), at one hour, showed no stain for any of the papers I use. The residual silver test also showed no stain, meaning my fixing sequence is adequate.
Hope this helps,
Yes, I did turn the print periodically, as well as giving it a push down every so often if it floated to the top.
Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder
Also, I'm curious. What is wasteful about the 'Ilford sequence'? Is it the dilution of wash aid?