Small bromoil problem - ink does not adhere on some spots
I'm in the process of making several big bromoils for an exhibition (to be held hopefuly next month). The prints are mostly sized from 20x20 to 30x40 and so on.... I do not use bromoil papers, I make my own papers with liquid emulsion.
I use Neutol WA as developer, Agefix for fix. Then I bleach the images with standard bleach for bromoils and refix the prints. Fixer and developer are non hardening, liquid emulsion is non hardened.
The prints are generally fine, I use Graphic inks.
I have only one problem on some prints.
After the print has been bleached and dried, I soak the paper into water. Then I blot the water away (both sides) and start inking. I do use brushes, sponges, rollers. The problem is that there are some areas (spots of 1-3 centimeters wide) on which ink refuses to adhere. Sometimes the spots are roughly circular/oval shaped, sometimes the shape is random, sometimes thin (half cm) and long (3-4cm) like a small "river". Whatever they look like, after I have inked the image they will always appear lighter (sometimes white) than the surrounding areas. In landscapes I can easily retouch those spots to make them like foliage, clouds, water, grass... But with architecture and portraiture is literally a pain...
The problem does not always occur... I'd say it happens in one print on every two or three. Sometimes is just a couple of spots, sometimes is an hepidemy. I've been able to "save" most of my prints from this nuisance, but today, for example, I had to throw away two big 30x40 prints because I couldn't fix and finished to ruin the whole thing. (I did not really trashed the prints, I hardly do that, but still I don't think I will be able to fix them for display).
I thought in the beginning that it was necessary to soak the prints in water more. I usually soak the prints for 10-15 minutes at 20°C (ambient temp). I tried for 5' and 30' and did not see any change. I prefer using 10-15' soaking time because the inking goes better at this stage. With 30' does not improve significantly and the spots are still there.
The only thing I noticed is that the spots tend to appear in light areas. With high key images there's a lot of them. On other images is more likely that they will appear on the sky for example. I don't thin I ever seen one in dark areas.
I thought then it could be the bleach. But the spots have appeared also on paper bleached with fresh chemistry. Perhaps I should mix the dichromate bleah before use instead diluting a stock solution everytime. I shake the stock solution before diluting, anyway.
Could it be something related to the chemical side? Or just to the way the prints are dried before soaked and inked? I can't hang them, I dry my prints on a custom made tray system.
What do you think it could be?
I have had similar issues when I cleared the green stain with an acid bath before inking. I used to do this quite a lot, and then suddenly I started experienceing problems with ink adhering. It went away when I stopped using a weak acid bath before inking.
The only thing I could suggest is to change your fixer. There is a slim possibility that the problem you are experiencing is caused by residual fixer or acidity in the fixing bath. I'm not familiar with Agefix though.
Could it be uneven sizing of the paper? Actually there are too many variables for me to get a handle on the problem.
Originally Posted by don sigl
The green stain of the dichromate bleach goes away after I refix the image.... At least this is what I do and what happens to my prints... I fixed my prints with Agefix and Tetenal Vario fix powder...
Maybe I could add some sodium carbonate to the fix bath to neutralize it. I'll do that and tell you... thanks!
Originally Posted by Gene_Laughter
The paper is a printing paper from Zerkall. I put some liquid emulsion over it and that's it. I use the same tecnique as Emil Schildt, you should know him. In fact, I have been a student of him this year. I already contacted him, but maybe he's busy now so I submitted the question also in the forum.
With the bromoils I used to make in his school there were no problems (there were problems actually, but of a different kind) and I use almost the same ingrendients as I did there.
Perhaps the devil is in the fixer acidity and/or insufficient washing after bleach+refix stage?
Please tell me what else I could tell you to eliminate some variables.
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I don't think it is an issue from uneven coating of liquid emulsion. In my (yet limited) experience when the coating is uneven the result is a grey spot, not a white one. I experienced some of these in the past, not anymore since I improved my coating...
Your best bet is to wait for a reply from Emil. He's the one with lots of experience using hand coated emulsions. I use only machine coated photographic papers for bromoil and any recommendations I might make would only be guesses.
It's alright! Now my bromoils are flawless... (so to speak )
Problem disappears if I rock costantly the tray with the print inside before inking it. I've also "super-dryed" the bleached print with an hair dryer before soaking into water (some of my sources mentioned this possibility to improve ink adhesion). I also added some sodium carbonate to the fixer after the bleaching bath to make it more alkaline.
Combining those things togheter makes the inking smooth and easy... Much quicker too!
Keeping an eye on the tray and rocking the tray is very boring, but with my papers only 10 minutes of soaking are needed.