van dyke printing setup questions from newbie beginner
I'm getting ready to order supplies to begin van dyke printing. I already have the chemicals from Bostick and Sullivan. Along with a contact frame, puddle pusher, and paper.
I am ready to get the trays, bottles to hold the fixers, graduated cylinders to measure, scale to weigh, etc. I do not know what sizes of bottles and how many, what size trays( I am using 8.5x11 paper), will 8x10 trays be large enough to accomodate 8.5x11 paper? What size of graduated cylinder should I get to measure? Are all trays similiar or does one brand stand above the rest?
Basically, I am asking for help on what to buy, how many, and what size.
Also, do I need a scale to weigh dry chemicals or is it ok to use conversion factors and measure dry chemicals?
Does anyone have any ideas on this to get me started? I don't want to buy a bunch of stuff I really don't need.
Thanks for any help...
If you are using 8.5x11 paper, 8x10 trays would not be sufficient as the dimension suggests. I would go with 11x14s. I would think any darkroom trays would work just fine. I buy ones from US Plastics. They are a little cheaper than ones at photographic suppliers. Or Ebay would be another source.
For fixer, you can reuse those bottles that other chemicals come in (1 gal). Any 2 liter soda bottles would work just fine as well. Or you can order brand new HDPE bottles from USP again.
I am not sure how others work, but I make new fixer every time I print. So there isn't really a need for storage. I do not think plain hypo lasts that long if I am correct.
Depending on how much to measure, you need to choose graduate cylinders accordingly. I have some 200 ml beakers to mix individual chemicals and one 1000ml to mix altogether. But I am sure you can do the same with two beakers.
Probably you would want to buy a scale. It does not have to be expensive kind. Anything it can measure accuracy of 0.1g would be sufficient for our use.
Last edited by Shinnya; 02-17-2006 at 05:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.
At this early stage, I would suggest scaling down on your containers and graduated cylinders until you become thoroughly familiar with the volumes of chemistry required. The idea is not to mix too much chemistry at first, but just enough so that you are able to coat a sufficient amount of paper that you can use immediately. Like many alternative processes, freshly coated paper works best, and is consistent. I use very small plastic containers (about 150 - 200ml capacity) bought from drugstores. Look in the cosmetics section. The containers are designed for transferring things like shampoo or lotions for travel purposes. They're rather inexpensive. Working with smaller volumes has an added advantage. If you make a mistake in mixing solutions (happens even to the best of us), the amount you waste is not too much. If you mix up one liter solutions in one go, and then you make a mistake, then that's a lot of expensive silver nitrate going down the drain, literally. The other pragmatic advantage is that you have less of a clutter on your work area if you use smaller containers, and accidental spills (again, happens to the best of us) are easier to clean up. The hypo fixing solution you can mix in one liter quantities. I also second the recommendation for using larger trays, unless you intend to cut the 8.5" x 11" into sections as your working dimensions.
I hope this is helpful.
Get a brush instead. A good one. That's what I've been told - another newbie.
Originally Posted by buggy
One thing I forgot to mention is that you should get an ambler bottle to keep the sensitizer. I am sure you can buy them at a drugstore, or UPS carries them if you do not mind buying them by a case.
I would agree that mixing smaller amount of solution is a better place to start with. There is a certainly chance of mixing at wrong dilution.
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To mix up the basic traditional VDB solution you will need to mix 3 different chemicals of 33ml each. Part A, B, and C. You will then add these together to make a final volume of 100 ml. It is important to follow the mixing instructions. After mixing each part (A, B & C) A&B will be added together and stirred throughly. Then part C (the silver nitrate solution) will be mixed into the combined A&B mixture very slowly. Usually a white cloudy percipitate will form , try to avoid this though by adding part C very slowly.
Originally Posted by buggy
I recommend that you contact B&S and get a few dropper bottles with plastic droppers. The plastic droppers have a uniform size and the drops shoupd be all the same size. I'm surprised that this wasn't supplied with your kit.
But to answer question get 2 or 3 50 or 100 ml wide mouth plastic graduates to measure the required water. And a couple of beakers will be useful.
And BTW, photo grade silver nitrate is real cheap about $100 or so per pound, enough for a life time of VDB printing. The FAC isn't very expensive a pound is about $25 nor is the tartarric acid.
The most expensive material will be the paper to make prints. Use good quality paper otherwise you will be disappointed from the get go.
Go for 11x14 flat bottomed trays. Probably at least 3. You can process with just 1 tray but you will need trays to wash and hold wet prints.
All of this will just get you started but in the end went you make your first good print will will be thankful that you spent a little more money for supplies.
I experimented with coating using an acrylic rod, did a LOT of small prints with it, and got decent coatings. When I wanted to go to larger prints I still wanted to use the rod, but it doesn't work as well as a brush, so I switched. I would start out with a brush because you'll want to go bigger, and the technique with the rod won't carry over.
Originally Posted by gr82bart
FWIW, I would start out with some el-cheapo foam craft brushes, 1-inch wide available just about everywhere. When you get the hang of it go for the Richeson brush that everyone raves about (do a search and you'll find it here).
Start with good paper, and only use one type. If after you've got your coatings consistent, your exposure figured out, etc., you are still having bad luck, then try a new paper. Don't mix up a bunch of papers when you're starting out, you'll only frustrate yourself.
Thanks everyone for the great advice. You have all been a big help. I hope to be setup to start printing within a couple of weeks. Now, I just need the sun to cooperate a little.
I'm a VDB newbie too. One tip I can provide (originally from Sandy King) is that you can use a spiral compact fluorescent blacklight as a light source. Mine is in a "worklamp"-type reflector clamped about 18-24 inches above the print. It has worked fine for me for 6x9" prints.
Lots of good ideas already offered in this thread. For my part I would recommend the use of 11X14 trays for your processing, and you really only need one in my opinion since one-tray processing is very convenient and takes up a lot less room.
I second the idea about the spiral BLB tube. If you put one of these in a 6-10" reflector ($6-8 at Lowes or Home Depot) and place it about 15" over the print surface you will get plenty of light with good even illumination for an 8X10 print, and avoid the inconsistency of the sun. Total expenditure on this would be about $30 or so.
Originally Posted by buggy