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  1. #1
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Anyone sensitizing albumen paper with glass rods

    I have read in a couple of sources that glass rods are an alternative to sensitizing the paper by flotation in silver nitrate. This seems to have many advantages - not contaminating the silver nitrate solution and less silver nitrate stains all over the bathroom floor etc . But I tried it today and didn't have much success. No matter how quickly I worked, the points where I put the drops turned out darker and the image was generally uneven.

    Tips on coating by this method would be much appreciated. Silver nitrate is kind of expensive and so I prefer the economy as well as the repeatablity of this method (no contamination of the solution). Would a brush be a better bet than a rod?

    Thanks,
    Anupam

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    If you don't want wicking marks, you have to sensitize the paper in one smooth motion.

    The method I've heard of for coating with a rod is to lay down a line of silver nitrate at one end of the paper and pull it straight across in one pass, and then you cut off the uneven edges, including the area where you put down the line of silver nitrate. Whatever method you use, you always have to coat larger than you need and cut off the excess.

    If you look up Reilly's book at albumen.stanford.edu, it explains how to clear the silver nitrate solution with kaolin after it has been used, so you can reuse it. This is what I do.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3
    JLP
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    My experience with the glass rod is pretty much the same as yours Anupam, i have had success double coating but then you are also using more silver nitrate.


    jan

  4. #4
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    David, I am coating as quickly and smoothly as possible. But I hadn't thought of coating a large area outside and then cutting off. I might try that, though I like the space and the rough edges outside the frame.

    Jan, the problem with double coating is the time it takes for both the coats to dry. Since albumen paper doesn't keep well, I have to coat in the morning, dry them and print in the afternoon (if I am printing in the sun). But I might give it a try - maybe with a dryer to speed it up.

  5. #5
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    You're always going to get greater density where you put down the silver nitrate before pulling it with the coating rod. There's no way to avoid that, other than cutting it off.

    Another reason to cut the paper to the size of the final print is that large black areas outside the image eat up your toner, which is expensive, if you gold tone.

    I usually coat the night before a printing day and start printing around 10-11 a.m. and go as late as 4-5 p.m.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  6. #6
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    I have watched Mark Osterman do it over and over with no marks. He does not use a glass rod. His course is stupendous.

    PE

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    But he floats, doesn't he? I think that once you get the hang of floating, it's the most reliable and neatest method. In the age of albumen printing, it was used pretty much exclusively.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8
    JLP
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    Anupam, i have coated late night and then second coating the next afternoon but, i do use a Nuarc so i am not depending on the sun (Not easy to do in Oregon anyway)

    jan

  9. #9
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    He does not use a glass rod. His course is stupendous.
    Hi, do you know what method he uses? I can get a smooth coat by flotation, but am trying to figure out other ways to get it smooth.

  10. #10
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Mark floats and gets very even coatings. I have found no way to use a rod and get an even coating. The paper absorbs unevenly it and gives a pretty uneven surface. Brushing is good and the brush strokes give the picture a very interesting appearance. A foam brush works well, I understand. I can't use a foam brush with emulsions, but I have heard of people having good results with albumen.

    PE

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