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Thread: Alt Paper Hacks

  1. #1

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    OK... so it seems the lens & holder hacks were just not enough now I am doing Kodak paper hacks and I have a few 'issues' that I am sure you Alt printers will be able to resolve for me. I have 'discovered' that by giving fixed out FB papers a soak in an alkaline bath solution that the emulsions are altered to a surface that is much more receptive to hand coating and upon drying they still have some of that creamy lustrous finish that I like so much.... I will admit that at this point my process needs some refinement however some of these papers are sipping the emulsions like fine wine, I am using fewer drops and getting even coating by the regular methods once the paper has been treated.... & the price for paper is just right...free!

    Now I am concerned that by putting the paper through additional chemistry I am altering it's stability as a substrate for coating. I have been neutralizing the paper after the alkaline bath in a mild acidic solution (in a well ventilated area of course) then giving it a wash for a good hour... Kodak has certainly done their research on their FB papers they can stay wet for eons without damage.

    I am wondering.........

    1. What is the optimum pH for papers that are to be used for Pt printing so I can try to attain that, and how do you test for it?

    2. Is there some kind of final bath that I could put the papers through to increase their stability and longevity and help remove residual chemistry?

    3. I am assuming that the metals in the processed image are stable and they will not react with any small amounts of residual chemicals in the paper..... Is this so?

    4. Are the archival issues so blatant that this type of paper hacking is futile and should be abandoned?

    Thanks in advance for your kind consideration of my questions.

  2. #2
    Jorge Oliveira's Avatar
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    Bill Troop. of the Film Cookbook (and ex Kodak) fame, states that film/paper development should be made in an all alkali environment for better archival properties.

    So, if your alkali is not very strong (say, no more than carbonate, even better borax), jut washing will do.

    But I'm not familiar with the other steps of your process.

    Jorge O

  3. #3

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    If you are getting good results with the alkaline bath you are good to go, you dont even need to "neutralize" the print afterwards. Just wash it and leave it as is.

    pt/pd printing benefits from an acid media, this is why the oxalic acid bath trick is so useful. GIven that you are usign fixed out paper, I do not know if this applies or that if you would benefit from giving the paper an oxalic bath. If you are getting good results with now, dont mess with something that is working.

    Certainly the paper will have the same archival properties that a regular silver print has. So dont worry about this issue, just do your 3 clearing baths and you should be ok.

  4. #4

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    Encouraging information, thank you very much!!

  5. #5

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    [quote="Annie"]OK... so it seems the lens & holder hacks were just not enough now I am doing Kodak paper hacks and I have a few 'issues' that I am sure you Alt printers will be able to resolve for me. I have 'discovered' that by giving fixed out FB papers a soak in an alkaline bath solution that the emulsions are altered to a surface that is much more receptive to hand coating and upon drying they still have some of that creamy lustrous finish that I like so much.... I will admit that at this point my process needs some refinement however some of these papers are sipping the emulsions like fine wine, I am using fewer drops and getting even coating by the regular methods once the paper has been treated.... & the price for paper is just right...free!

    There is photograher from Canada named Craig Koshyk who has done a lot of work with fixed-out barytea paper and pt/pd and kallitype. He has a manual on the procedure which I believe he may be revising at this time. Craig sent me a couple of small pt/pd prints made with his method and they are just outstanding. In case you want to contact him his email is craig@prairieview.ca.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the plug Sandy!

    Well I am sure there is more than one way to skin the baryta cat as it were...

    The main hurdle to jump in coaxing pt/pd (or just about any other alt solution) onto/into the gelatin layer of fb paper is that of EVEN absorbtion.

    Any fb paper will absorb the solutions...eventually, but probably unevenly. Unless you use a surfactant (like tween) the absorbtion will be less than ideal. I suspect that the success Annie is having is due just as much to the prolonged soaking of the paper as it is with any modification in the ph of the surface. Maybe a long soak removes something from the surface of the paper that hinders absorption. Maybe it changes the suface structure and/or opens "pores" in the coating allowing better penetration. I don't really know. I usually fix my paper then wash it for about an hour. I have found no real advantage to washing it longer nor have I found it to absorb the solutions better than if it had a very short wash. Annie's mileage however seems to vary from mine. Keep us informed about your progress Annie!

    You may want to try adding a few drops of dilute Tween..say about a 10% solution to your coating mixture. You can even try Photoflo. It works...kinda. I am sure that by adding a surfactant you will find that the absorption will be much better.

  7. #7

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    Actually.... It is a similar process to Craig's that I am playing with....I am just trying to eliminate the step with the heat and get a more predictable outcome..... (yes Craig I still owe you a print!!).

    I am getting very consistent coating when the paper comes out 'right' from the soak. My impression at this point is that the prolonged soaking is not the reason the paper is 'taking' the Pt solutions so well, my paper wet time as I mentioned is also about an hour. I think that the solution is mildly etching the surface of the resin that carries the sensitized elements, the paper surface feels and looks slightly different after treatment. My concern at this point is not the consistency of absorption, when the paper is 'right' it takes every time... I was just worried that by exposing the paper to additional chemistry and wide swings in pH I was affecting the stability of the final image.... Not that it has to last a hundred years... The curators from the MOMA aren't exactly banging down the darkroom door!

    I have tried Photo-flo in the past and the sensitizer foamed like a mad dog!! Thank you all for your patience with my learning curve and I will let you know how it all turns out... may be a while, we are heading into the rainy season and I use the sun to print.

    Cheers, and thanks again for your thoughtful input.

  8. #8

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    I am glad to hear that you are making progress Annie.

    The heating step (coating on a warm surface) is not always necessary. I live in Winnipeg, Canada and do much of my printing in the winter. It can be very cold
    (-30) and especially dry (30%). The room in which I print can be quite cool at times and almost always very dry. The heating pad I use to warm up the glass surface upon which I put the paper is necessary for me to get a good even coating. In the summer I find I can do without it.

    In Vancouver, you may bemoan the lack of sunshine but the high humidity and warmer temperatures make for ideal coating weather. I would sugget you keep doing what you are doing, work without a heating pad.

    Are you using tween?

  9. #9

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    Mar 2003
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    Craig, I'll give the tween a twy (who names this stuff?).... thanks.

  10. #10

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    Aug 2003
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    Yes, do twy the Tween Annie.

    Of all the steps/ingredients/techniques used to coat fixed-out baryta paper, Tween is by far the most important.

    It chemically makes "water wetter". It lowers the surface tension of a solution and thereby permits a faster and deeper penetration into the surface of the paper.

    You can order Tween 20 (there are a couple of kinds. 20 and 40 I believe. I use Tween 20) from Bostick and Sullivan. Check the yellow pages for Vancouver though. I bought mine from a local chemical supply firm (Anachemia) here in Winnipeg. I believe the stuff is used in medical/bio labs so it is not that hard to find.

    If you can't find any locally I have about 2 lifetime's supply of it. Let me know, I can send you some. You will wonder how you ever got by without it!

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