An update --
I found a print dryer on Craigslist (for $10 !!) and I've begun using it. It's the Premier Print Dryer Model 110, with a curved chrome heated surface and a cloth on top.
I'm not sure if I'm doing anything wrong, but I'm still getting a lot of curling, especially at the edges. I'm drying fiber papers at setting 2 out of 4, which dries the prints in about 20 minutes. I'm trying to tighten the canvas as much as possible over the print, but it seems not to be enough.
Am I drying it too fast? Too slow? Should I try to weight the print some how? Should I do it face down instead of face up?
yup you are doing something wrong. You are not listening. You are trying to dry FB prints quickly which is not the way to go. DRY THEM VERY SLOWLY!!!
It's not that I wasn't listening. It was the first time I've used this dryer so I had no idea how fast it would work. I can try to put it on a really low setting and see if that helps.
I just replied to a post over on the Darkroom Equipment section ("Salthill"), discussing the blotter stack drying method.
I have a TechBlog discussing a home made unit:
If you have any woodworking capability at all, this thing is pretty easy to make, and it'll probably be the last dryer you'll ever make. Mine is probably 15 years old...
The OP should read through those dryer posts.
Originally Posted by Reinhold
BTW, I've never used a squeegee but can not think of any
reason to favor it's use over that of a sponge. A sponge will
draw water from a print's emulsion and paper and do so
without leaving any water spread about. Photo Grade
Sponges are fine grain and very absorbant. Keep
them just for the purpose. Dan
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I think if you try a real, professional squeegee that you'll retire that sponge. I used to use a sponge too (Kodak, even... remember them?), but find that the squeegee makes a significantly drier surface, especially on the base side of the print.
On the emulsion side, you'll find that, as the squeegee blade drops off of the edge of the paper, a tiny row of water drops ...may... be left behind, as I show on my TechBlog. (Ok, don't throw that sponge away, here's where it's still usefull).
To be fair, it's pretty easy to wrinkle a BIG print if you aren't careful. Just don't rush it, a light first pass lets the water float out from under the print so it will "cling" to the glass. A second pass with a bit more pessure gets the surface liquid down to zero. It doesn't seem to make any difference if I do the base or the emulsion side first.
The ability of a squeegee to remove surgface water is quite remarkable. To illustrate, wet a window with water and use a squeegee. Then draw a damp sponge over the same glass... Maybe my hands are getting arthritic, but I can't physically squeeze enough water out of a sponge to create the same state of dryness that exists under the nip of a squeegee.
What part if the Willamette Valley do you call "home"?
"Dan, ...but find that the squeegee makes a significantly
drier surface, especially on the base side of the print."
Perhaps so. I've my doubts though. At least the way
I use a sponge it seems as though it draws water from
the two surfaces. If I were well practiced with a good
squeegee I'd likely compare it with a good photo
grade sponge by weighing.
"...a light first pass lets the water float out from under the
print so it will "cling" to the glass."
I've no glass so use a counter. With a sponge there is no
draining of water. Any little water left is easily picked up.
"The ability of a squeegee to remove surgface water is quite
remarkable. To illustrate, wet a window with water and use a
squeegee. Then draw a damp sponge over the same glass..."
Glass? Not a fair comparison. Perhaps I'm more adept than
some but I do ordinarily use a sponge to clean windows.
"What part if the Willamette Valley do you call "home"?"
I'm just outside Salem. Dan