washing in a tray with a siphon - your process?
I've finally bitten the bullet and decided to play with fibre papers for the first time tonight. My biggest hold back in the past has been my fear of washing properly.
What I have done tonight for washing is 5 minutes in a tray, sloshing the water around, tipping it out regularly (the same method that I use to wash RC prints), followed by 5 minutes in Ilford Wash Aid, with constant agitation with a final wash in a big 16 x 20 tray, with a jury rigged siphon, that I have made out of half inch irrigation tube, with a crimped end to restrict the flow. As I am a bit paranoid, I have washed for 15 to 20 minutes, doing a full change of water at the five minute mark.
OK, I am probably going over the top a bit, so I want to ask, what do people do when the wash with a siphon? Do they just let the water run, with the print pretty much laying in the bottom of the tray and let the siphon do the work? Or do people constantly change the water (as per what I am doing?)
Any opinions are welcome!
According to Kodak, the water flow rate for washing film or prints is equivalent to one complete change of water every 5 minutes, or 12 complete changes per hour.
I use the "one change of water every 5 minutes" soak, total of 12, for one hour total time in clean water. I use one 5 minute soak, one soak in HCA(fresh), followed with the 12 changes of H2O, test for residual fixer(never had any show up), squeegee onto the platen of my drum dryer, dry for 4-5 hours on LOW setting. No curling with this drying method.
“What is a master but a master student? And if that's true, then there's a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.”ť
A siphon is a pretty traditional method of changing the water in the wash tray. Just keep doing what you are doing.
Archival wash for fiber papers
Here are Ilford's recommendations for an archival washing sequence. I tend to give it a bit more than that. Also, you can buy, from Photographers Formulary, a residual hypo test kit that will give you a good indication of whether you're washing properly.
I think you need to give more washing time actually. Ilfords recommendation doesn't work for me. You really need to run residual hypo tests on a "washed" print to determine if your method is up to standards or not. You can buy a test at PF. Here is the link. After fixing I wash for 5 minutes in a tray siphon, then 5 minutes in a washing aid, as you do, then final wash for 1 hour in a slot washer with water running very slowly.
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A lot depends on your fixing method, but unless you are doing a minute or less in non-hardening rapid fix (per the Ilford sequence) I'd echo the thoughts that your wash times are a bit short rather than "paranoid."
As I don't have running water in my darkroom but make out with trays and a seven gallon water container filled from the hose as needed, I do a version of the successive soaks. I soak prints for ten minutes in a large tub of water, followed by ten minutes in a wash aid, then an hour in successive changes of water. Five minutes is ideal but it rather depends on how much water and how many prints.
I echo the advice to get a residual hypo test kit.
Oh yes, the Ilford sequence: using a single fixing bath like this will exhaust it quickly, at least for this method. It will still test good with hypo check. I prefer two bath fixing for fiber base, but 30 second fix times are hard to keep accurate and repeat - heck sometimes the print can stick a bit and make it hard to get out in time. I do a minute in each of two baths, another reason to use longer times than Ilford recommends. Plus, their method was tested back when it came out and works for most papers, including all of Ilfords, but not all other fiber papers. The old Kodak Elite was said not to wash fully with their method, so again get the hypo test kit.
i never use a siphon mainly because i never believed they really washed the prints.
i have a big plastic tray that i drilled holes into the sides of that i use as both a water jacket
( for tray processing film ) and as a holding tray when i print. prints get put in face to face
back to back and the water slowly fills the tray and it leaks out of the holes.
after i am done with that run of prints,
i wash the prints 5 mins fill, shuffle dump,
then perma wash 5 mins shuffle dump
then final wash 10 mins fill, shuffle and dump
single weight paper gets the same treatment but
3 or 4 mins instead of 5
and the final wash about 8 mins ...
a lot of people don't know how to use a siphon correctly,
or the rotary drum washers, or the giant circular tub ...
corners of rc prints can scratch other prints, people run the stuff
too fast so edges and corners are creased/bent
or with the siphon it runs too fast and doesn't exchange the water so
it doesn't wash the prints.
it is good to have 1 bad print that you run through your print+wash routine
so you can do your residual hypo tests and make sure your methods do
what you hoped they would do ...
good luck !
Originally Posted by brian steinberger
It's probably OK to let the print sit with the water running over it if you have only one print. If you're washing more than one print, though, you'll need to shuffle them manually while the siphon is running. Otherwise the prints will tend to clump together and some of them won't get enough fresh water flow to their entire surfaces.
Regardless, don't guess - test.
A running water wash that changes the water 12 times in an hour is a much more extensive wash than 12 fill and dump cycles in a one hour period.
Provided of course that the running water is moving throughout the tray.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I'm curious for those washing for an hour - I thought using a wash aid was to enable a shorter washing time? If you wash for an hour WITH a wash aid, how long would you wash without?