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  1. #1
    aaronmichael's Avatar
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    New to Platinum Printing

    After watching an awesome video on wet plate photography, I got the urge to do something alternative. A friend at school suggested that him and I try platinum printing. After doing a lot of research, I think we have everything at the schools photo lab to make a few platinum prints. I still need a brush and paper though. Anyway, just had a couple questions. Sorry if this is online somewhere already.

    1. We have plenty of the EDTA solution to clear the prints but I don't know what the water/powder ratio should be when mixing it up.
    2. The developer we have is potassium oxalate, will the EDTA solution be enough to clear the prints? I've read I might need to use the EDTA mixed with something else?
    3. Do not know the ratio of potassium oxalate to water in order to make the developer.
    4. What do I do with the chemicals after I'm done with the whole process? Can I reuse the mixed EDTA? Does the developer go down the drain or can that be reused?
    5. What kind of safety precautions should I be taking? Obviously I'd wear gloves and an apron but are goggles or further safety implementations necessary?

    Help with any of these questions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Boy -- where do I start...

    First, once you make the Potassium oxalate developer, it technically will last your lifetime, except one loses some in the paper with every print. I like to use it warm (about 100F or so). Occasionally you might want to filter the developer. I'll have to go up to the darkroom to get the amount per quart/liter.

    EDTA -- about a tablespoon per quart (or liter). I like to add my EDTA to working strength Kodak HCA. Usually more HCA than EDTA -- perhaps 3:1. Some papers clear easier than others. I usually use 3% to 5% Citric acid for the first clearing bath, but three baths of the HCA/EDTA will work for most papers. As the first bath gets yellow (from the iron it is clearing out), it gets tossed down the drain and a new bath is added at the end of the line (the old 2nd clearing bath becomes the first clearing bath, etc).

    I save the second and third clearing baths for the next printing session.

    Good dust mask for mixing the developer. Gloves for the developing stage.

    I like to use a "Puddle Pusher" for spreading the chemicals on the paper -- then finish up with a brush.

    If your images have a lot of white near the borders (as in sky) and you get some "bleeding" of black from the black edge into you image area, I found that pouring the developer onto the print prevents this (rather than dunking the print into a tray of developer). This works for me especially as I have the developer in a water bath to keep it warm between prints anyway.


    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  3. #3
    aaronmichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Boy -- where do I start...

    First, once you make the Potassium oxalate developer, it technically will last your lifetime, except one loses some in the paper with every print. I like to use it warm (about 100F or so). Occasionally you might want to filter the developer. I'll have to go up to the darkroom to get the amount per quart/liter.

    EDTA -- about a tablespoon per quart (or liter). I like to add my EDTA to working strength Kodak HCA. Usually more HCA than EDTA -- perhaps 3:1. Some papers clear easier than others. I usually use 3% to 5% Citric acid for the first clearing bath, but three baths of the HCA/EDTA will work for most papers. As the first bath gets yellow (from the iron it is clearing out), it gets tossed down the drain and a new bath is added at the end of the line (the old 2nd clearing bath becomes the first clearing bath, etc).

    I save the second and third clearing baths for the next printing session.

    Good dust mask for mixing the developer. Gloves for the developing stage.

    I like to use a "Puddle Pusher" for spreading the chemicals on the paper -- then finish up with a brush.

    If your images have a lot of white near the borders (as in sky) and you get some "bleeding" of black from the black edge into you image area, I found that pouring the developer onto the print prevents this (rather than dunking the print into a tray of developer). This works for me especially as I have the developer in a water bath to keep it warm between prints anyway.


    Vaughn
    Thanks for all the information! That really helped. I might just start out with a brush to put the developer on the paper rather than a rod. I'm on a college student budget, so the less materials I need to buy, the better. If you could let me know the amount of potassium oxalate to the amount of water when you get a chance, that would be great. We might have one professor in the photo program who would know the ratio. One last question - do these chemicals go bad in their non-mixed form? I have a feeling that ferric oxalate, ferric oxalate with potassium chlorate, and the platinum solution have been sitting in their respective bottles for a while - along with the EDTA. They are in a closed cabinet in the photo lab and of course in dark brown bottles. But still wondering if they could possibly have gone bad. If they have, I might only be able to afford some palladium printing.

  4. #4
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    I am heading up to the darkroom tonight -- I'll get the info.

    The Ferric oxalate (especially with the Pot chlorate) do have a relatively short shelf life (those from B&S last about 6 months, and that is the longer lasting stuff). The other chemicals will last a long long time. The ferric solutions are relatively cheap, also. Since the platinum salts are the costly one, it makes sense to buy fresh. No sense taking the risk of failure and disappointment with bad ferric salts.

    So I suggest getting fresh Ferric oxalate solutions and buying some palladium salts, too. Then do a mix of platinum and palladium for your prints. I like the color and contrast of a 2:1 or 3:1 mix of platinum : palladium. This will stretch out the platinum supply you have. You can get paper from B&S, too -- and they can answer any questions on the phone when you order...great people!

    Try to make negatives that do not need, or need little of, the Ferric oxalate w/ the Pot chlorate (solution #2). If the neg will print on silver gelatin paper with no contrast filter, it needs more contrast for pt/pd. Your prints will look better as too much #2 will cause some graininess to appear.

    Back to you later tonight...

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  5. #5
    Ian Leake's Avatar
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    Hi Aaron.

    1) Use an 8% solution of EDTA (80g in 1000cc). If you're using a strong paper then a weak (2%) bath of citric acid is excellent. Remember that you'll need at least three trays of clearing agent.

    2) Arentz suggests using a Sodium Sulfate and EDTA mix for Potassium Oxalate but I've no experience of it. I prefer other clearing agents.

    3) You need a 33% Potassium Oxalate solution (200g of Potassium Oxalate made up to 600cc). This is your base developer.

    If you're using film negatives then you'll almost certainly want to use a restrainer to achieve contrast control. If you're using the A+B method then the restrainer (in this case Potassium Chlorate) is already in the Ferric Oxalate #2 solution, but you have alternatives.

    I use Potassium Dichromate as a restrainer (this goes in the developer). Potassium Dichromate leaves you with much nicer highlights than you get with Potassium Chlorate. Make up a stock solution of 10% Potassium Dichromate (this stuff is nasty - read the data sheet carefully and be careful handling it) and then add between 1cc and 10cc of this to the fresh developer depending on the negative. I mix up a series of developer 'grades' each with a different amount of Potassium Dichromate.

    4) Your EDTA is considered exhausted once it's gone milky - so you'll need to discard it then.

    If you have three trays of EDTA you discard the first when it's exhausted and replace it with the second, replace the second with the third, and use fresh EDTA as a new third bath. By cycling your EDTA like this you make it last longer. You'll still use a lot.

    You never need to throw away your developer because it doesn't get exhausted. It will evaporate and get carried into the EDTA so you'll need to top it up periodically.

    5) Keep your chemicals in a safe place (e.g. a locked cupboard). Keep everything marked properly so if you ingest a powder or solution (or someone else does) then the medics know what's involved. Work with powdered chemicals in a well ventilated place (ideally a fume cupboard). Read and follow the MDS for all chemicals.

    If you're using heated Potassium Oxalate then good ventilation is even more essential. You may experience headaches and flu-like symptoms if you inhale the vapours for too long (I no longer heat it except for final prints).

    UV goggles are essential for the UV exposure, but not really necessary for the wet process – but if you're worried about splashes then wear goggles until you've done enough printing to make your own judgement about splash risk.

    Gloves are a good idea when handling chemicals.


    There's more instructions on making your first prints here: http://www.ianleake.com/platinum-pri...r-first-prints

    Hope this helps.

    Ian.
    Last edited by Ian Leake; 04-08-2012 at 11:13 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Re-wrote the stuff about restrainers

  6. #6
    Ian Leake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronmichael View Post
    One last question - do these chemicals go bad in their non-mixed form? I have a feeling that ferric oxalate, ferric oxalate with potassium chlorate, and the platinum solution have been sitting in their respective bottles for a while - along with the EDTA. They are in a closed cabinet in the photo lab and of course in dark brown bottles. But still wondering if they could possibly have gone bad. If they have, I might only be able to afford some palladium printing.
    The dry chemicals all last ages. Ferric Oxalate does go off when it's in solution. The metal salts (Pt and Pd) last forever in solution (with some qualifiers about how they're stored). Personally I wouldn't trust anything other than the Pt/Pd solutions. Ferric Oxalate is much, much cheaper than Pt/Pd so it's not worth risking a single failed print because of stale Ferric Oxalate. And mix fresh EDTA because it can take several years to discover that your EDTA was exhausted – and by that time your print is ruined.
    Last edited by Ian Leake; 04-08-2012 at 11:21 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Spelling

  7. #7
    aaronmichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Leake View Post
    The dry chemicals all last ages. Ferric Oxalate does go off when it's in solution. The metal salts (Pt and Pd) last forever in solution (with some qualifiers about how they're stored). Personally I wouldn't trust anything other than the Pt/Pd solutions. Ferric Oxalate is much, much cheaper than Pt/Pd so it's not worth risking a single failed print because of stale Ferric Oxalate. And mix fresh EDTA because it can take several years to discover that your EDTA was exhausted – and by that time your print is ruined.
    Thanks! The ratios helped a lot and will be good for comparison to others input. Unfortunately all the chemicals are at the photo lab on campus. I'll have to do all the work there and definitely won't be able to take anything home. I also need to ask the head lab technician when the chemicals were purchased. I'm mainly diving into it because if they belong to the photo department, then it's free for me to use them. If the chemicals are bad, I'll probably end up buying some palladium solution to work with since it's much cheaper than platinum. I probably won't be heating any of the solutions or working with this stuff extensively. I'm just a college kid looking to experiment a little Although I am taking a class called Advanced Black and White Photography and our final project of 6 photos is approaching. Maybe if the platinum printing works out, I'll do it for my final

  8. #8
    Ian Leake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronmichael View Post
    I'm just a college kid looking to experiment a little Although I am taking a class called Advanced Black and White Photography and our final project of 6 photos is approaching. Maybe if the platinum printing works out, I'll do it for my final
    Good luck! Platinum/Palladium prints aren't for everyone but if you get hooked then there's no way back :-)



 

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