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  1. #1
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Producing fine white lines with Farmer's Reducer and a ruling pen?

    I have an idea for a photograph where the ability to "draw" on the print with bleach would be very useful; being able to produce very thin white lines.

    You could also sign prints in black areas like this.

    Anybody ever fooled around with trying to get really fine detail from farmer's reducer? I know that lots of printers have done this kind of thing, like W. Eugene Smith, presumably with small paint brushes, but what about a ruling pen? Will the liquid flow and diffuse too much?

    Just curious, thanks for your thoughts..

  2. #2
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    I should mention that I want to produce thin straight lines with a straight edge, just like a ruling pen would normally be used for.

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    Since you would need to work on a wet print I think excessive diffusion might be a problem.

    Tim Rudman recommends a "dry" bleach made with iodine,thiocarbimide and methyl alcohol which can be used on dry prints without the "creeping" effect of ferri type bleaches. It allows much finer detail and also can achieve reduction to paper white if desired. It seems like this might work better with a ruling pen.
    See page 113 of his "Masters Printers Handbook" for the formula and a description of the technique which is also different than wet reduction.

    good luck,

    Larry
    "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest"........Paul Simon

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    I have tried the very thing you mention, and I guess one important thing I took away from the experience is that the bleach--if not thickened beyond the point where it would flow out of the pen--will seep under a ruler that isn't raised off the surface a bit. That seriously messes up the fine line aspect, although one edge remains nice and straight.

    I have used gum arabic as a thickener with some success.

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    A cork backed rule would help. If you don't have one, put a strip of tape or two that are narrower than the ruler along the back. This lifts it off the surface and also allows you to control the cleanliness of the ruler as it touches the print.

  7. #7
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Larry, a dry bleach sounds like the ticket! Would it be possible to post that formula, if it's not too much trouble?

    An Le-qun, also a very interesting approach. I just found a comic book blog about ruling pens and he mentions the need for a raised ruler. How fine of a line would you say you're able to achieve??

    Great input, thanks y'all

  8. #8
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    You could put into a rapidograph type of mechanical pen and get a very fine line.

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    I'd doubt the line would remain crisp no matter what one did- the emulsion itself will soak up the bleach and getting anything to go to white would require an awful lot of bleach wouldn't it?

  10. #10

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    There are other tried and tested methods for thin white lines which seem to have fewer if any difficulties than bleach in a pen

    pentaxuser

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