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  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by JG Motamedi
    Copper cut to sizes runs about $3.50, and silver electroplating costs anywhere from $7 to $10. Add shipping and other consumable materials (polishing wheels, compounds) and you are at about $15 a plate, not including the price of the polishing motor or other one time purchases or the incredible amount of labor.
    This is much cheaper than I expected as a local electroplater just quoted me a ridiculous cost of $ 140.00 Canadian for a quarter plate of 22 gauge copper with .35 mm of plating.

    This led to the obvious question, what is the thinnest layer of silver that can be used and what is considered the minimum and optimum thickness of plating?

    In some of my reading, plates were 1/2 the thickness of a dime (about .675 mm). If 25 % of the total thickness is silver that would be 0.16875 mm. Are these good estimates?

    Also, if my electroplater continues to be too high, does anyone know where I can order some quarter plates for shipment to Canada?

    As for home plating, it can be done using a kit (about $ 300 US) bought from a jeweller supplier like Rio Grande. They do not appear to be too hard to use and do not require cyanide in some of the mixes.

    If I decide to continue with Daguerreotypes, that will be the way I am going.

    Ehud

    PS: Why do things have to be so difficult in Canada. It just seems easier to get things in the US and UK.

  2. #42
    JG Motamedi's Avatar
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    You should speak with Mike Robinson in Toronto, in whose praise Sandy King started this thread.

    If you are serious you should probably take one of his workshops, Daguerreotypy is not something one can teach oneself.

    Anyhow, your silver plating estimates are way off. Plating should be done to .0005" (.5 mil) or 0.0127mm. Read newdags.com.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by JG Motamedi
    You should speak with Mike Robinson in Toronto, in whose praise Sandy King started this thread.

    If you are serious you should probably take one of his workshops, Daguerreotypy is not something one can teach oneself.

    Anyhow, your silver plating estimates are way off. Plating should be done to .0005" (.5 mil) or 0.0127mm. Read newdags.com.
    Thanks for the information. That should make the world of difference in the price.

    It is amazing how the internet, like the school yard, can contain all the information in the world but still get it wrong.

    Ehud

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by JG Motamedi
    Sometime back I tried to develop a plate in a FeSO4 based wet-plate developer, it did produce and image but had a terrible fog. I never tried again because no matter how much I polished I could never get rid of the fog, so it ruined the plate. I am sure however that it should be possible to do with enough time and money.

    I don't know anything about silvering glass, but will look into it.
    I'd guess the fog was due, in part, to the fact that a plate developed in a liquid developer might be several stops faster than one done with mercury vapor (though I don't *know* that it would be). OTOH, most developers can't develop exposed iodide (I'm told), so you might need to experiment with changes in your fuming process to favor a bromide or even chloro-bromide sensitive layer.

    Given the potential for lower cost experimentation with silvered glass, one could try stuff like this and have a bit less of "Polaroid syndrome" -- where you don't reshoot a bad image, because of the cost of the film, but instead just give it up as lost.

    Oh, htmlguru? If you have a mirror that isn't tarnished, it probably won't work (and if it is tarnished, you're likely to destroy the coating trying to clean it -- no win, I'm afraid). All "front silvered" mirrors made commercially in the past 40-50 years at least are vacuum aluminized or dielectric coated -- better reflectivity than silver once the coating is a few weeks old, and far more durable. Common mirrors kept silver almagam backings for a few more years, where the paint over the silver could protect the metal and the cost of the silver didn't yet offset the cost of vacuum deposition.

    Amateur astronomers kept silvering alive, though, because it could be done at home by a hobbyist instead of sending his nice new mirror in the mail to a company that might well take months to get around to coating it and sending it back. With silvering, if you ordered the chemicals when you got the mirror blank and grits, you could potentially grind, polish, figure, silver, and install a mirror in a couple weeks. And you could easily strip and resilver when the coating started to yellow too much.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by JG Motamedi
    You should speak with Mike Robinson in Toronto, in whose praise Sandy King started this thread.

    If you are serious you should probably take one of his workshops, Daguerreotypy is not something one can teach oneself.
    I agree. If you really want to learn to make daguerreotypes you should take a workshop with a skilled practioner, and based on my evaluation of his work I would highly recommend Mike Robinson. The demonstration of the process he did for me really left me in awe of his skills, and of his committment and dedication to the process.

    Sandy

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking
    I agree. If you really want to learn to make daguerreotypes you should take a workshop with a skilled practioner, and based on my evaluation of his work I would highly recommend Mike Robinson. The demonstration of the process he did for me really left me in awe of his skills, and of his committment and dedication to the process.

    Sandy
    My intentions is to take a class sometime over the next year but I am out of the country this summer so it has to wait.

    Today I emailed Mike to ask about his Century Darkroom products and to see if he sells prepared but un-fumed quarter plates. At that time I asked about classes so I am taking the advice to take a class in parallel with my current plans.

    Finally, and this is not a criticism, but early practitioners were often self-taught. Why do we, in the modern world, have an assumption that an expert is needed? Were they brighter or better in earlier days? Can people not be self-taught today?

    I do not claim that I can do this successfully on my own as I admit that I have a lot to learn but I want to maintain my sense of play until I can take a class.

    By the above, I an not trying to disrespect any comments in this thread nor the experience of others.

    Ehud

    PS: I hope Mike writes back soon.

  7. #47
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    Well you can be self-taught but daguerreotypes just don't work with a standard recipe. I live in Belgium and learned to know Rene Smets trough NewDags and even after his generous explanations it took me months of work just to create the equipment. And that's the easy part. I only succeeded once in getting some image onto a plate.

    To answer a previous remark; I do silver my own plates and it's one of the easiest steps on the way. I use a little aquarium filled with silvering bath. You need a pure inox plate for chemical degreasing (with a degreasing solution) and a pure silver plate for the actual coating. + a power supply. I also have a magnetic mixer to stir things a bit up.

    In that case you also need to polish your copper plates, meaning you need a bunch or other stuff. The Newdags site provides lots of details on all this.

    Still, it is still interesting to talk to someone who already did it to make sure that your tools work right.

    Good luck.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking
    I agree. If you really want to learn to make daguerreotypes you should take a workshop with a skilled practioner, and based on my evaluation of his work I would highly recommend Mike Robinson. The demonstration of the process he did for me really left me in awe of his skills, and of his committment and dedication to the process.

    Sandy
    Just a little side note:

    It does look like we will be hosting APUG 2 in Toronto next June 2007.* fingers crossed on sponsorship right now*.
    For the exhibition with our show I asked Mike Robinson and Steven Evans to provide some examples of their work to be included in our show. They both graciously agreed and that is when I met Mike.
    I had pelimnary discussions with him to be an instructor in our next conference and I think he will. The details will be sorted out but as Sandy points out Mike is a good guy and I would love to have him involved with our next conference.
    So If you are interested in this process , bookmark your calander for next June and take a couple of classes with some of the best workers in these historical processes.
    By the way Steven Evans is one of Canadas best archetectual photographers and I would love to include him as well into our instructor's mix.

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by eyaniv
    Finally, and this is not a criticism, but early practitioners were often self-taught. Why do we, in the modern world, have an assumption that an expert is needed? Were they brighter or better in earlier days? Can people not be self-taught today?

    Ehud

    PS: I hope Mike writes back soon.
    I did not say that people could not be self-taught. Intelligent and highly motivated people will usually find a way to do things, as did many of the pioneers of our photographic craft. However, I would wager that a fair percentage of the early daguerreotpe photographers learned their craft from someone else. I don't have the statistics to prove it, but jut based on the fact that knowing how to make daguerreotypes could provide one with a good living makes me suspect that the best folks at the trade were charging others for the learning experience.

    Some things are very easy to learn on your own: most of the alternative processes, including palladium and platinum printing, are really remarkably simple. Yet, even here, a person can get a big jump on the experience by taking a workshop with a good instructor. Just seeing how this stuff is done *right* from the get go can save a lot of time in the future. Other processes, say carbon and photogravure, are more complicated and I would venture to say that few people will be able to learn these proceses on their own. Some will, of course, and I am one of them. But I estimate that doing a workshop with a good instructor on carbon or photogravure would save you in the end 6-12 months of work on your own.

    The daguerreotype is on another order. Not only is it far more complicated than any of the other alternative printing processes (and I refer to the traditional processes), it is also potentially quite a bit more dangerous. So I really think it makes sense from a number of perspectives to get some training before you start out on this process.

    Sandy

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking
    I did not say that people could not be self-taught. Intelligent and highly motivated people will usually find a way to do things, as did many of the pioneers of our photographic craft. However, I would wager that a fair percentage of the early daguerreotpe photographers learned their craft from someone else. I don't have the statistics to prove it, but jut based on the fact that knowing how to make daguerreotypes could provide one with a good living makes me suspect that the best folks at the trade were charging others for the learning experience.

    Some things are very easy to learn on your own: most of the alternative processes, including palladium and platinum printing, are really remarkably simple. Yet, even here, a person can get a big jump on the experience by taking a workshop with a good instructor. Just seeing how this stuff is done *right* from the get go can save a lot of time in the future. Other processes, say carbon and photogravure, are more complicated and I would venture to say that few people will be able to learn these proceses on their own. Some will, of course, and I am one of them. But I estimate that doing a workshop with a good instructor on carbon or photogravure would save you in the end 6-12 months of work on your own.

    The daguerreotype is on another order. Not only is it far more complicated than any of the other alternative printing processes (and I refer to the traditional processes), it is also potentially quite a bit more dangerous. So I really think it makes sense from a number of perspectives to get some training before you start out on this process.

    Sandy

    Sandy and others,

    You are of course right, Daguerreotypes are more dangerous than other photographic methods and one should seek instruction if it can be found. Unfortunately, it seems that I live in a wilderness where things like this are hard to find. Who would have thought that the 3rd largest city in Canada can be so barren both in expertise and materials.

    I have contacted Mike and might be able to take a class from him however, costs would be high as I would need private tuition due to my schedule coupled with airfare from BC to Ontario. I hope....

    I might be able to make it to the APUG conference in Toronto however as a school teacher June is a difficult month to get away. That is one of the reasons I did not attend this year.

    I will probably try to make a couple of photos (depending on whether my partner in crime wishes to continue due to costs) and see how far I get. I hope I can at least get something on a plate.

    Thank-you to everyone who has offered advice. You have all been very generous and I hope this conversation continues.

    Ehud

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