RA4 paper pre-wetting
I began RA4 with a Jobo CPE2, and found it too long having to dry the drums between each print, so I bought a Nova slot processor.
This processor is fine, but as my darkroom is also my bathroom, I have to install and remove all the processing material at the beginning and at the end of each session, and
installing and removing the Nova processor is tedious (you have to empty 3 baths and the water tanks, and the water tanks purge process is poorly designed in my opinion, having only two small holes to carry the water out, but that's not the subject).
However, I'm now reconsidering using the Jobo drums for RA4, but in a different way. I'm wondering if it would be OK to put the RA4 into a ~35°C water tray just after the enlarger exposition, and then to load it into a still-wet-from-previous-print (whashed, of course) drum. Do you think this would be a problem ?
I'm hoping that doing this way, as the paper would already be wet, the contact with an also-wet drum would not produce any stain.
Do you think pre-wetting an RA4 paper will damage or alter the RA4 chimical process ?
Last edited by clasbou; 06-09-2014 at 01:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I always prewet RA4 paper. Always. But I do it in the drum itself. I wouldn't want to handle the paper wet. No need. Just fill and drain the drum
manually. But if you insist on using the slot processor, just be careful lifting the paper out of your water tray, so that you don't touch more than the border.
When I pre-wetted my paper, I got less streaks with my Beseler drum processor. 1.5 oz per 8x10.
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You get better results because of better temp control with the slot processor. Anyway you NEED to dry the drum and cap for each print.
Add a stop in the second slot if you have 4, developer, stop, water wash, blix. When you get funky borders, you will see why you need the stop. 2% acidic is fine.
Not sure if everyone understood what you were asking. So you asking to see if you can put exposed RA paper in a tray with water?
If so, I won't do it. It is messy.
Most RA4 paper have the colored coating on it. Fuji paper has light blue layer on top and the color will come off when it takes on water. If you pre-wet the paper in the tray with water, the color will come off and you just can't control it.
Second, the color paper is still sensitive to most darkroom safelight. I do not know how you can control the quality with wet paper dripping color and you want to put the wet paper into wet drum.
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That is exactly what I was talking about : a tray of 35°C water, in which I would put the exposed print (in total dark of course). I would then load the wet print into the wet drum.
Why pre-wetting in a drum, as you all do, would be different from pre-wetting in a same-temp water bath ? Shouldn't the physical effect on the paper be the same ?
And why loading a wet paper into a wet drum should have any effect on the paper ? If both have a layer of water on it, when they come into contact, why should it produce any effect ?
Thanks for your help.
I've never understood if it was misinformation or just fussiness, but there's absolutely no need for the drum to be bone dry. My own workflow is to fill the drum with tempered water and take it into the darkroom (my processing area is outside the darkroom). In the dark, I run the enlarger, load the paper into the full drum, cap it, and I'm ready to go. This accomplishes three things: pre-wets the paper, tempers the drum for the 94F processing, and eliminates the need for drying anything. Granted this works best for smaller drums -- 8x10 and maybe 11x14.
If that's not a practical option, a cursory wipe of the inside of the drum with paper towels and a vigorous shake of the cap is all that's needed. Then just load the paper and be fairly quick about pre-wetting it. I've done both and never had any problems with streaking; my results are consistent.
Bvy, thanks, your water-filled-drum-loading option is even more simpler than mine, I will try and adopt it !
Thanks you all for your responses and help.
If this is a test paper, sure you can do it and save some time.
But as I said, I won't do this with my final print. I never want to get my hands wet handling the paper. The top layer of the color stain on the emulsion would make a mess of everything. You are 100% in the dark and can't see anything. The stain may stay with your fingers for some time and you run the risk of ruining your new paper from the bag. Also, my wet and dry sections are on different floors. I can't imagine myself holding a heavy tank with 50% filled with water and with the print paper half soaked.
Not sure if thin gloves would help much.
Of course you can do whatever fits you. It appears you already had your mind made up when you asked the question. But good luck with this.
I still do not understand why you need to put the RA papers in the tray. Do you try to use the tray as a holder area for multiple prints? Then you'll have to load a couple of drums, all filled with water.
Or this is a single print, and you just want to start the soaking as soon as possible? I just do not see the need for this.....