A couple points. Cranes Kid Finish 8111 is actually a very nice paper for Pt/Pd as long as the negatives are 5x7 or smaller to avoid the repeating watermark. It requires careful handling but was in fact everybody's "standard" paper during the revival of platinum printing in the 1970's. That said, there are other papers much more rugged.
Second point is that you can't use one paper to "test" your platinum solutions and then print on another. The paper you coat on has enormous impact on the color, contrast, and speed of the coating solution. To put it another way, I keep at least six different papers in stock and get a range of effects in my prints primarily from choosing the paper, not from varying the coating solution formula.
Third point of course is that even a really expensive paper is never more than half the cost of a print, so there'd be no economy in using a cheap paper for tests, even if the tests were valid, which they aren't.---Carl
How do you all like Van Dykes? I have been intending to try that (I've been meaning to try a lot of things). I've dealt with Dan Smith, and he is a real nice person to do business with. I got a box of Azo from him a while back. I used to like reading his answers to questions on the forums. His stock nonserious answer to almost everything was "get a Deardorff"
Excellent! I will have to get off the dime then. If you would, please let me know a good place to buy from, and paper recommendations. One initial question. Do Van Dykes "like" a certain kind of negative? I know cyanotypes work best with high contrast negatives for me, and platinum (I have been told) "likes" a dense negative. How about Van Dykes?
I'd agree with Carl on this one. I use Cranes Kid Finish almost exclusively, and it works well with Pt/Pd, albumen and salted papers and argyrotypes, providing of course you avoid the (sometimes) annoying watermark. I also find that it works better when printed on the BACK side (or felt side - with the watermark backwards) rather than the the front (or screen side - with the watermark legible). When printing on the front, I find I sometimes can see the screen marks running diagonally through the areas of lower value, but I never have anything but a pleasing pattern on the reverse.