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  1. #1

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    Liquid Light issues. Help needed!

    In my quest to do some dry-plate photography, I have hit so many roadblocks, from the inavailability of glass less than 2.5mm thick, to coating issues, that I am going mad.

    I am seriously doubting that dry-plate is even POSSIBLE the way I am doing it.

    Here is what happened.

    Yesterday I ran two experiments.

    I coated two 2.5mm plates which I cut short. These seemed to fit the plate holders I have as long as they had a gap between the bottom of the plate and the bottom of the holder. I subbed them with gelatin, just the way the instructions tell you.

    At the same time I had two sheets of .007 mylar I subbed with gelatin and coated. They were going into a film holder, in the hopes that this would work instead of glass.

    All 4 items spent the whole night drying in my paper safe. They were dry to the touch this afternoon. I loaded everything up, and went home.

    I immediately went outside and started to expose them.

    I discovered though that the emulsion had MELTED!

    On all of them! It was oozing out everywhere, and was very liquid. Worse yet, it was sticking to the dark slides!

    Now, here is the thing...

    Liquid Light ALLEGEDLY needs 140F to melt. While it is hot here, those plates and sheets NEVER got above, at BEST 103F. More realisticly they never hit 90F.

    What is going on! I have ruined ANOTHER plate holder, and need to clean the hell out of my sheet holder now. It takes me 20 minutes to heat up the LL in the darkroom in a crockpot, but two seconds outside and it runs like hot honey!

    I am literally at the end of my rope here! I just recieved an old, maybe 80-90 year-old glass neg I bought, and this thing, which was sitting outside in a metal mailbox, and was hot to the touch has an emulsion as solid as the rock of Gibraltor. It is also MUCH thinner than anything I have managed so far.

    Can someone PLEASE help me here? I just want to coat my own film!
    Official Photo.net Villain
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  2. #2

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    Wish I could help you Robert - but I admire the tenacity. Don't give up keep at it!

  3. #3

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    robert:

    i am not sure what the instructions that come with the emulsion say, but i usually coated the glass 2-3 times. after that, i've always waited 2-4 days to make sure the emulsion is fully dry/bonded with the gelatine before i shot the plate, or i printed on it. i've had both processed and unprocessed plates in a hot studio ( 100º+ ) and they never melted.

    try letting your emulsion "cure" for a few days before you try to use it, maybe yours isn't really dried out.

  4. #4
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    black also increases the temp of what is inside of it. Knowing the heat of Tucson, and the color of the film holders, it doesn't take long for the temp to rise in that holder. Think about a black interior car in the heat of Tucson. How long before the temp inside of it is higher than the temp outside without A/C?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Kennedy
    In my quest to do some dry-plate photography, I have hit so many roadblocks, from the inavailability of glass less than 2.5mm thick, to coating issues, that I am going mad.

    I am seriously doubting that dry-plate is even POSSIBLE the way I am doing it.

    Here is what happened.

    Yesterday I ran two experiments.

    I coated two 2.5mm plates which I cut short. These seemed to fit the plate holders I have as long as they had a gap between the bottom of the plate and the bottom of the holder. I subbed them with gelatin, just the way the instructions tell you.

    At the same time I had two sheets of .007 mylar I subbed with gelatin and coated. They were going into a film holder, in the hopes that this would work instead of glass.

    All 4 items spent the whole night drying in my paper safe. They were dry to the touch this afternoon. I loaded everything up, and went home.

    I immediately went outside and started to expose them.

    I discovered though that the emulsion had MELTED!

    On all of them! It was oozing out everywhere, and was very liquid. Worse yet, it was sticking to the dark slides!

    Now, here is the thing...

    Liquid Light ALLEGEDLY needs 140F to melt. While it is hot here, those plates and sheets NEVER got above, at BEST 103F. More realisticly they never hit 90F.

    What is going on! I have ruined ANOTHER plate holder, and need to clean the hell out of my sheet holder now. It takes me 20 minutes to heat up the LL in the darkroom in a crockpot, but two seconds outside and it runs like hot honey!

    I am literally at the end of my rope here! I just recieved an old, maybe 80-90 year-old glass neg I bought, and this thing, which was sitting outside in a metal mailbox, and was hot to the touch has an emulsion as solid as the rock of Gibraltor. It is also MUCH thinner than anything I have managed so far.

    Can someone PLEASE help me here? I just want to coat my own film!
    Robert, bubba, my friend, you have to harden the gelatin before you can take them out, specially in AZ where you are, I still remember feeling squishy asphalt under my feet at this time of the year.

    I was reading about making dry plates for holographic applications and one of the things they stress is that the gelating has to be hardened before use. They use potassium alum for about 8 hours, I dont recall the concentration I will look it up for you. I guess if you use the little bottle that comes with the Kodak rapid fixer you can acheive the same results. I think the dry plates for holographic apps has a good chance if you make some alterations. I have a PDF if you want it. Let me know and I will e mail it to you.

    Hang in there bud, suffering is good for the soul.....

  6. #6

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    I would search the net for info about the old dry plate processes. I remember a site that walked you through the whole process of coating the gelatin and then sensitizing it. Sorry, I don't remember the address.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by matthew
    I would search the net for info about the old dry plate processes. I remember a site that walked you through the whole process of coating the gelatin and then sensitizing it. Sorry, I don't remember the address.
    The alternativephotography site, has a primer on how to do dry plates with liquid light, I think this is what Robert is using as a guide. This might be the site you remember. If you have not checked it out lately, do so, it has some very interesting article by Mike Ware, if alt printing is what you like.

  8. #8

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  9. #9

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    Well, the issue is NOT extreme heat.

    I had those holders outside for maybe 3 minutes between the darkroom and home. Another 5 for exposure at most. And some of that was spent looking at the goo oozing out from BEFORE I put them in the camera.

    Those holders were not at 140. Even after being in an A/C environment for 4 hours, the liquid light was still VERY mushy. Runny jello mushy. Not good.

    I have been using primarily the Liquid Light instructions and a bit of the Ware instructions. I have not used a hardner, so I am going to try that. I got some of that Formulight stuff from PF.

    I have HEARD that old LL can go "soft". I bought this bottle a year ago and from a store so who knows how long it had been there. IIRC when I used it a year ago, it was about twice the ASA of Ilford MGIV. Possibly a bit fast? I used the last of the bottle for this experiment and have a large bottle ready to go for actual use. Maybe that will work better.

    With hardener of course.

    Anyone seen LL go that bad?
    Official Photo.net Villain
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  10. #10

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    Obviously I dont have the answer, but a couple of comments that might help. If the holders are black, they might absorb more heat even if it feels cool to you. I know I have felt my holder get somewhat hot in the period I take them out of the bag and leave them for a few minutes in the sun while I meter. Obviously I stopped doing that.

    The other thing, gelatine, being an organic compound can break down over time. You say you have had this bottle for a year, I am willing to bet this is the problem. Try a new bottle, hardened and unhardened and see what works best.

    Good luck.

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