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Thread: Bromoil woes

  1. #1

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    Bromoil woes

    Hello apug!

    I need some help and I guess this is the place to ask. I've been trying to do bromoils for a few months now, and so far I have no success whatsoever. There is something broken in my process but I have a few candidate and since changing each variable costs me many hours of valuable time, I'm hoping someone can find the culprit directly.

    I end up with print that reveals no image at all upon inking.

    Papers: Ilford FB MG IV matte, Fomabrom Variant 123 semi-matte.

    My process:
    1) Develop (Moersch SE4 neutral developer, 2-3 minutes)
    2) Stop (ascorbic acid?)
    3) Fix (Calbe A300, 1+8 minutes)
    4) Wash (10+ minutes in running water)
    5) Bleach (Moersch bromoil bleach, 10+ minutes)
    6) Wash (10+ minutes in running water)
    7) Fix (like 3) )
    8) Wash (20 minutes in running water)
    9) Dry

    I let it soak in 20 degree water (submerged) for about 5-10 minutes, upon inking, the ink spreads evenly showing no texture or image.
    I re-soak for 2 minutes, dry off, this time the previous layer of ink (and gelatine?) gets taken off, even if my brush or roller touch is very light.
    Interestingly, on the ilford paper, some hint of an image appears if I completely ink the image to flat black and then start taking it off
    with heavy roller use. However, the image is far from usable and further attempts to improve it remove it as well.

    Any ideas what is the problem? Developer? Fix? Bleach? (I sent an email to Moersch directly, but got no response so far. I'm not sure what is in the bleach.)
    Thanks..

  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
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    I am not familiar with Moersch bromoil bleach, but is this also a tanning solution? It sounds like you are just bleaching the image without differentially hardening areas where you want the ink to take.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

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    That would mean it lacks the potassium dichromate? That sounds like a possible explanation. People mention "swelling of gelatine",
    I don't believe I see anything like that, the surface looks uniform.

  4. #4
    gandolfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pekelnik View Post
    That would mean it lacks the potassium dichromate? That sounds like a possible explanation. People mention "swelling of gelatine",
    I don't believe I see anything like that, the surface looks uniform.
    if no dichromate you won't see the swelling as all is swelled...

    I am sure Moersch will answer your question soon enough - he usually do...

    I am not familiar with your fix - is it a non hardening fix? (has to be) (I use Tetenal Vario fix)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gandolfi View Post
    if no dichromate you won't see the swelling as all is swelled...

    I am sure Moersch will answer your question soon enough - he usually do...

    I am not familiar with your fix - is it a non hardening fix? (has to be) (I use Tetenal Vario fix)
    I have been told it doesn't at some point, but I'm not sure. This website: http://www.firstcall-photographic.co...fixer-5-litres
    claims that it is Sodium Thiosulfate based, but here :http://forum.fotoimpex.de/index.php?showtopic=1224 a claim
    is made that it is Ammonium Thiosulfate. I think I can instead use this one:
    http://www.moersch-photochemie.de/co...ixierbad_sauer
    which explicitly states there is no hardener.

  6. #6
    gandolfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pekelnik View Post
    I have been told it doesn't at some point, but I'm not sure. This website: http://www.firstcall-photographic.co...fixer-5-litres
    claims that it is Sodium Thiosulfate based, but here :http://forum.fotoimpex.de/index.php?showtopic=1224 a claim
    is made that it is Ammonium Thiosulfate. I think I can instead use this one:
    http://www.moersch-photochemie.de/co...ixierbad_sauer
    which explicitly states there is no hardener.
    good idea - you have to be sure...

    The Tetenal I mentioned is great as it comes as a powder - which mean it is shipped for far less money and lasts an internity...

    http://www.macodirect.de/tetenal-var...er-p-1520.html

    EDIT: just read the moersch description and it states no hardening is added, but it also states it is ammonium based... (I might be wrong, but I have been told tostick to sodium based fixers) - I'd try the Tetenal... (as I know it works)

  7. #7
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Good old Sodium Thiosulphate fixer is fine for bromoils (crystals cheap as chips).

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

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    Quote Originally Posted by gandolfi View Post
    good idea - you have to be sure...

    The Tetenal I mentioned is great as it comes as a powder - which mean it is shipped for far less money and lasts an internity...

    http://www.macodirect.de/tetenal-var...er-p-1520.html

    EDIT: just read the moersch description and it states no hardening is added, but it also states it is ammonium based... (I might be wrong, but I have been told tostick to sodium based fixers) - I'd try the Tetenal... (as I know it works)
    I think the first thing I'm going to try is to mix my own bleach/tan solution. I don't suppose I could re-bleach the prints I have now and fix them again?

  9. #9
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    The Tetenal is a mix of sodium and ammonium thiosulphate if I recall correctly - I was in touch with Tetenal asking them about the composition of the fixer, as I was looking for a lith-friendly fixer.

    Secondly, I think that Moersch wouldn't sell a bleach that does not bleach/tan. To me it sounds like the swelling time is too short. There is a correlation between the hardness of the ink and the swelling of the gelatine. And the swelling of the gelatine is dependent on the tanning, how warm and how long the paper is kept in the water.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  10. #10
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    One thing that I am not seeing in the listing is the time you allow the paper to dry. The paper should be dried overnight (I take the extra step of putting the paper in a dry mount press). I have heard of Moersch bromoil bleach, though never used it, and have heard that it offers good results, so I doubt that that is the problem unless it has not been properly mixed (I have made this mistake, so that is a possibility). Actually, I would think that this is the most likely problem.

    I didn't see a mention of the ink you are using, which makes a huge difference. The ink I use has the consistency of cheese and there is no way it would be able to come from a tube. If you are using ink thinner than that then you will need to use magnesium carbonate as a stiffening agent.

    Cheers -

    george

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