... seemingly there is nothing I can do about it .... a large portion of the print surface [is] in direct contact with the side wall for the duration of the wash cycle.
I would email/call/smail Versalab and see if they have a suggestion for fixing the problem - from the posts in this thread it seems this isn't typical of the product. I am sure Versalab would like nothing more than to make you a satisfied customer.
In fairness to Thomas, I too have sometimes observed prints nestled up against the dividers while washing. Since they are completely submerged there is no issue of sticking, or anything like that. Because they will slide out smoothly there must be a thin water barrier separating the prints from the dividers. But they are sometimes very close.
When I first got the washer I did a Kodak HT-2 residual test and it turned out fine. However, after Thomas' comments I think I'll repeat that next time I wash prints, just to see what's up with it when the prints move over to the dividers.
My sense has always been that with fiber-based papers - the only kind I wash in it - the residual chemistry would leach out sufficiently through either side of the print. But since Thomas is reporting anecdotal evidence that may be at a variance with that, I will retest.
For the record, I also wash all of my hanger-developed negatives in the Versalab as well. This includes 4x5s on the 4-up hangers, 5x7s on the 2-ups, and 8x10s. I fashioned a pair of 1/8-inch brass rods into submerged racks with white nylon spacers. These hang over the sides of the washer and will suspend up to 10 hangers completely under water in the middle of the tank, once the print basket has been removed. The film hangers then sit parallel to the water jets and 3/4 of an inch apart.
This is a nice secondary use of the unit that keeps me from having to purchase yet another washer for my sheet film negatives. I don't have much space left in my smallish darkroom anyway. Double duty is always a good thing.
"When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."
— Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932
Prints I sell are always washed in a tray with a tray siphon, which I have found does a 100% perfect job as I don't see the same problems in any of those prints (some of my own prints are washed this way too).[QUOTE]
I also find tray washing works for my short print runs. My recommendation depends on your print size and volume. Print 4 or 5 toned 5x7s or a few 8x10s and wash in a 12 x 16 in tray. 6 or 7 fill & dumps over 20 to 30 min after fixing with TF-4 followed by a wash-aid works real well. Very simple. Small foot print.
If I had room I would opt for a Versalab. But my space is limited and output low; so simple works fine.
Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 02-14-2011 at 10:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I have had the 11x14 model for about a decade and use it for both 8x10 & 11x14 fiber prints. It has performed very well, with the prints suspended as they should be. Careful adjustment of the jets is important. For 8x10 prints I use four of the bars, making certain that the prints are submerged.