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  1. #1

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    Gold toning Van Dykes but no color change

    Hi all,

    I've started moving from Cyanotypes to Van Dykes, as I've been wanting more neutral prints. I made a first batch a few days ago to check exposure times and single vs double coating (I'd read that double coating was recommended for shadow values, and that was what I found). Today, I did another batch and tried gold toning. I'm using the gold toning kit from B&S (.2% Gold Chloride solution, 2% Ammonium Thiocyanate solution). The instructions say to mix 1000ml water with 50ml each solution. I made a 500ml batch instead (so 25ml each). I rinsed the prints, then put them in the toning bath. As the title suggests, I saw very little color change in the prints; it seems like the highlights turned a neutral grey, but the shadows didn't seem to tone at all. For the last print, I added some more gold chloride, and toned for much longer (10 min or so), but still saw the same thing - highlights toning while shadows staying the same. What's the issue here? The few examples of gold toned Van Dykes I've seen online have been very neutral overall, not like my prints. Am I mixing the toner wrong? Would I have better luck with a different formula (I've seen at least two other ones - a thiourea + tartaric acid formula and a citric acid formula)? Longer toning? Stronger concentrations?

    Any help is appreciated!

  2. #2
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    Ten minutes in gold are a minimum. It goes first in the highlights then shadows. You get deeper blue black. See the change in the fix and the end result when print is dry.
    If you compare with an untoned print you will see a big difference. And toner will protect print from bleaching in the fix. Overall the B&S gold toner is a good one.
    Try the borax gold toner if you want. Easy to mix too.

  3. #3

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    Interesting. The highlights toned fairly quickly, but the shadows and borders never seemed to at all. In the print I toned this is less noticeable, since it's a fairly high-key image, but in the step wedges, I can clearly see the highlights go from white to gray up to some point, and then they become brown again. If 10 minutes is a minimum, what's a recommended time?

  4. #4
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    It seems that you tone to completion with what you say. Gold toner with this process doesn't act like on silver gelatin print.
    If you get blue grey highlights and dark brown blacks you good.
    I didn't print VDB for a long time and my memory plays on me now... :-)

  5. #5

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    Hmm, that is actually what I'm seeing. Perhaps it's working as intended. I've attached an example, which does follow what you say. Apart from a coating issue on the right side, I'm fairly happy with it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Scan-100425-0002 (2).jpg  

  6. #6
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    It works.
    You could go for more exposure (and more contrasty neg). You don't have real black.
    Then you will have a better feel with the toner.
    Regards.

  7. #7
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    Samples

    Here are a few with Borax Gold Toner. See the density of the black around. With toning brown goes away to almost blue black.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Zuili VDB Walls 004.jpg   Zuili VDB Walls 010.jpg   Zuili VDB Walls 011.jpg  

  8. #8

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    singerb,

    Try gold-thiourea toner if you can mix it yourself. It's very good in giving neutral - close to neutral results and it tones the highlights and the shadows at the same time and rate (non-proportional). It keeps very well too, unlike gold-thiocyanate toner. See this article for the formula. (At the bottom.)

    Hope this helps,
    Loris.

  9. #9

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    Guillaume; I agree that there's not much black in that print, but even with the step wedges, which do go to full shadow values, I'm not seeing the blacks you're got in those examples.

    Loris; I'd have to get a scale, but otherwise I could mix the gold-thiourea toner myself. It may just be time to bite the bullet and start mixing my own chemistry.

  10. #10

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    singerb,

    1. What paper do you use? (Alkali buffered papers aren't good for the purpose; you need a neutral / neutralized or acidic paper...)
    2. Do you experience bleeding while washing / toning / fixing?
    3. Do you double or single coat? (I think you double coat, but asking to be sure...) If double coating, can you please describe your workflow?
    4.a. Are you sure that you use a negative with enough density range? (Vandyke requires very contrasty negatives, I'm talking from memory - therefore I'm not sure - but my negatives' DR was around log 2.8 or a little higher - for double coated paper...)
    4.b. Have you checked your exposure time with a 31 or 21 step tablet?

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