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  1. #1

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    I apologize if this is a "simpleton question" in advance but I seem to be having a bit of difficulty of late getting my "light bulb" in my head to go on.

    I have been reading about the process and the chemicals required from Dick Arentz's book but I still do not understand the solutions. I am confused as to how much total liquid I need to make of each solution and how to mix the developers together to enable me to coat a piece of paper big enough for a 4x5 negative and also for a 8x10 negative.

    Do I make separate “A” (ferric oxalate), “B” (restrainer) and “C” (metal salts) and then blend them together? Do these solutions keep for months or do I need to make them fresh just before I begin to use the solution?

    The next question I would like advice on is should I buy a kit with all of the proper chemicals or by the chemicals separately. To help you answer that question I can tell you that I would rather invest a bit more at the beginning to get the economy further into my printing. I cannot see myself just printin 2 or 3 prints and giving up on Pt/Pd. If I begin this I am sure that I will spend at least a year dabbling. Learning and most importantly enjoying myself.

    So you help on a “Dummies guide to your first Pt/Pd print” would be so welcome and appreciated.

    Kind Regards,
    Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.

  2. #2

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    Yeah, the chapter on solutions is not very clear. So here goes. You make a part "A" which is Ferric Oxalate and oxalic acid. Then you make a part "B" which is ferric oxalate, oxalic acid AND a restrainer, usually potassium chlorate. Finally you make your metal salt solutions. All of this of course according to the quantities Arentz has.

    Now then, once you have all 3 or 4 solutions (depending on whether you are making pt/pd or pd only) what you do to coat a piece of paper is you mix drop amounts of each solution.

    For example, if you want to coat a piece of 8x10 paper and are using the hake brushes, you want to put 24 drops of solution A or a combination of solution A and B to make a total of 24 drops.

    Then you add drops of pt and pd to make a total of 24 drops. So all together the drops of ferric oxalate + the drops of metal salts would total 48 drops.

    As you read further along, you will come across a recomendation Arentz makes about adding the restrainer to the DEVELOPER instead of the coating emulsion. This approach is much, much better.

    Adding the evil #2 solution (what you call part B) usually results in mottled and grainy prints.

    It is best to mix solutions yourself, for palladium if you buy 10 gr you can make 110 ml, this will last you for quite a while and is much cheaper than buying it mixed.

    The metal salts solutions will last indefinitly, the ferric oxalate solutions anywhere from 3 to 6 months, I have used farily old ferric oxalate with no significant changes, but of course, fresh is always best. I would recommend you only mix about 15 ml of Ferric oxalate at a time, this way you will always have a fresher solution.

    I urge you to get the Richeson 9010 brush. This brush will make a significant difference in your savings. If we take the example above, for an 8x10 I use a total of 16 drops! 8 ferri, 8 pd. This is more than half savings in solution than what you would get if you coat with hake brushes. Plus you only need one, not an army of hake brushes. The brush is expensive, but in the long road it will make a big difference.

  3. #3
    clay's Avatar
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    Whoa man. The ferric oxalate and the metal salt are mixed together just before you are ready to coat your paper. The drop counts that Dick has illustrated in his graphs and tables allow you to adjust the contrast of the resulting print to match the negative you are working with. The procedure is similar in spirit to split filter printing in silver. The #1 solution contains no restrainer - and is analogous to a low contrast "grade 1" filter. The #2 solution (the one with the restrainer) is analogous to the "grade 5" filter. As you alter the proportions of each, you can achieve a nice range of various contrasts.

    Ask lots of questions. Between Jorge, William Blunt, Kerik and myself, we can probably save you a year's worth of frustration.

  4. #4

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    Remember too that when it comes to coating papers, there is no "right" amount. You can't say "You need XXml of total liquid." It will vary with the type of paper used, the method you use to apply it (remember that those brushes absorb some of the liquid) and even the humidity in the room. Sad to say, but with ANY of these processes, it is about practice, practice, practice. I'm about to start Pt/Pd printing myself and I figure if I get it right the first time, I am doing something wrong. A lot of this is more about "feel" and "what works for you".
    Official Photo.net Villain
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    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]DaVinci never wrote an artist's statement...[/FONT]

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by clay
    Ask lots of questions. Between Jorge, William Blunt, Kerik and myself, we can probably save you a year's worth of frustration.
    Clay is right James, from personal experience I know that Clay has saved me more than a year in frustration and lots of money. I have to say that the process would have been 10 times harder if I had not had the benefit of Clay's and Kerik's experience.

    Ask as many questions as you want no matter how dumb you think they are, the alt printing community is very generous with their knowledge and assistance, it is another thing that makes this process so enjoyable.

  6. #6

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    Grey Wolf,
    I would recommend a palladium kit from Bostick & Sullivan to get started. It's a small investment and all the materials included are pretty much ready to use. The Richeson 9010 brush is the best and will save a lot of headaches or use a glass rod (puddle pusher). Page 49 of Dick's book pretty well covers making your first print. After you get started you will probably want to try other materials but to start with I believe the kit is the best bet.
    Wm Blunt

  7. #7

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    Thanks for explaining all of this. Now if I am getting the information correct, I will have three separate solutions that I mix together only when I am ready to coat the paper?

    Otherwise these three solutions (made in smaller batches) can sit comfortably in my darkroom until the next time I wish to make a Pt/Pd print?

    I now should be looking for a chemical supply house to buy the chemicals needed to make these three solutions. It seem that I should buy about 10gr. of platinum and 10 gr. of palladium? These will last quite awhile and the the mix ratio is 1:1 so that they both should complete at the same time?

    Do you place these mixed solutions in clean eyedropper bottles? Seems like a small amount of solution so it would seem logical to keep them in small glass bottles.

    Also notice that the recommendation is to do the mixing at quite high temperatures. Is this correct? I guess I am cautious of doing this because in traditional b&w stuff, too high a temperature can have a negative effect on some of the solutions.

    Thanks for the starting help, and yes I am already out seeking the Richeson 9010 brush which I assume is the flat tipped one.

    Kind Regards,
    Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.

  8. #8

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    James,

    For the first time purchaser, I recommend following William's recommendation to get the products from B+S in their starter kit. It'll all be mixed and ready for you to do. Yes, It'll cost a bit more in Canada, but the hassle saved is definately worth it.

    This eliminates any concerns that you may have mixed the chemicals wrong, and it gets the chemicals to you in logical bottles, etc.

    After you have made some decent prints, you can decide whether it's worth it to try to track down a supplier for the raw chemicals in CA. There used to be one up there but I don't know if they are still in business.

    http://colba.net/~fotochem/

    It looks like they may still be around...

    If you don't have the ability to get an experienced pt/pd printer to show you the ropes, you will need to eliminate as many variables as possible in the process, and buying pre-made chemicals is one of those that I think should be eliminated if possible.

    Other than that, the Arentz book, and the Sullivan & Weese book are really all you need to get going (plus forums like this, of course). You really only need one, but they are written in different styles, so one book may be better for you than the other for comprehension.

    ---Michael
    ---Michael

  9. #9

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    James,

    If you can't find a source for the brush in Canada, check out these guys:

    http://www.dixieart.com/FineArts/Jac...and_Flats.html

    They have the best prices in the US that I have found.

    For 8x10 prints, you probably want a 2" brush. For 4x5 or 5x7, a 1.5" may be better, but I don't know, since I've never used one that small. You could do it with a 2", but you might be a little more precise with a smaller brush.

    For 11x14, you might want to think about a 3", as it will spread out the chemicals faster than the 2".

    ---Michael

  10. #10
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    This is sort of off-topic, but I recently began to realize that the Richeson brush size needs to be matched with the print size to some degree. I was coating some 4x6 test wedge prints with a 3" brush, and the resulting prints were really weak and had abnormally low Dmax. I thought I was experiencing some sort of solution 'failure' until I realized that the volume of water still contained in the brush was completely diluting the smaller-than-normal volume of coating solution I was using for this small print (about .3mlFO/.3mlPd). When I switched to the 1-1/2 inch brush, the problem was solved. So the moral is: you can use a smaller brush on a bigger print, but you can't use a bigger brush on a smaller print.

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