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  1. #11
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Some the cadmium salts actually thicken the collodion compared to other salts. And the collodion seems to me to thin a bit as it breaks down over time. As you use it and have the storage bottle uncorked for awhile over and over again, the solvents evaporate and the collodion thickens. So, there is no one viscosity to call normal. Cream might be a good approximation as someone mentioned earlier.

    As far as storage, ether reacts with oxygen to form peroxides over time. Peroxides can be explosive so most ether has something added to inhibit (but not totally prevent) peroxide formation. Too much BHT additive affects its use for wetplate, so some suppliers of ether specifically earmarked for photographic use may eliminate the BHT or they might use ethanol to stabilize the ether. You should only purchase the smallest quantity you foresee using over a period of a couple months. Most institutions recommend disposal of ether stocks after 6 months. After decanting some ether, raising the level in the storage bottle using glass marbles will reduce the oxygen in the container and help minimize peroxide formation. Use of an inert gas blanket over the fluid in the storage container also will serve to isolate the ether from oxygen. Mixing the ether into collodion or ethanol immediately after you receive it will help stabilize it and go a long way towards minimizing the peroxide formation issue. Ether and collodion should be stored away from ignition surfaces (open flames and hot surfaces) in a cool, dark place where ventilation is adequate to prevent fumes from building up. Don't store either in a residence or in a standard refrigerator. Standard refrigerators can accumulate ether fumes and when the door opens and fan motor kicks on, boom. Special explosion-proof refrigerators (and ventilations systems) are available for use with these chemicals, but the cost may be prohibitive. The cooler you can keep the ether, the better. I bought a 5-day picnic cooler specifically for storage of ether and collodion and I change the ice packs every few days during warm weather. The cooler is stored in a secure area outside my residence. If you had a detached storage shed that could be locked away from the house and in the shade, that would make a pretty good place to store the cooler and chemicals. Just remember to ice the stuff down.

    Best plan is to mix and use it up quickly, and shoot a lot of plates so storage isn't a problem.

    I have used low-ether, high-alcohol formulas to keep from having ether around, but I've come to the conclusion that the standard formulas produce collodion films which are not as fragile and are less prone to ripping or lifting from the plate surface. So, I've gone back to purchasing minimum quantities of ether that I think I'll use up in a couple months. And, I mix alcohol and the salts into the ether to form a more stable stock solution.

    Joe

  2. #12

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    Joe, fantastic info and thanks for your time!

    How much collodion/ether in ml does it take to pour a plate, say 5x7 or whatever size?

    Just want to see how much I may use in a given period...

  3. #13
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PVia View Post
    Joe, fantastic info and thanks for your time!

    How much collodion/ether in ml does it take to pour a plate, say 5x7 or whatever size?

    Just want to see how much I may use in a given period...
    I've never measured the amount per plate. However, I've never used more than about 75ml in a day even with pouring 10x12s. The smallest readily available quantities seem to be 500ml to 625ml bottles of ether or collodion and combined with alcohol will give over a liter of a working formula. That's a lot of plates. If you find you are using it rapidly, you could always order more than the minimum quantities.

    I buy the Everclear 2 half-gallons at a time since it is not readily available where I reside. I also use denatured alcohol to clean vessels instead of using the grain alcohol so I save a bit of money there. But I'd always buy the minimum quantity of ether and use it up as quickly as possible rather than store it.

    Dana at Bostick and Sullivan has communicated to me that they would be willing to package quantities of ether less than 500ml if requested.

    Joe

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