Print washer FB/RC DIY question
Well, I will go to the FB prints this or next year. I have some experience with EFKE FB papers, 13x18cm and 18x24cm size, but never was seriously into FB.
After seeing prices of commercial FB print washers OVersalab, Paterson, Nova...) and having in mind that custom, tax, shipping (weight) and bank expences will make price 50 to 100% more than washer price itself, I decided to make it myself, for 30x40cm print size. I have "commercial" RC washer (that is 50x60cm print tray with JOBO "kit" for print washing) and have DIY RC pint washer (something simillar to Kaiser RC print washer), but never had chance to work with FB print washer, so I don't know how they look in action (how they work). I have found on internet sources how to do it, so my question is: How strong water flow is in FB print washer? In my RC washers water flow is strong enough to make print moving, but when I put my hand in washer, I can barely feel water flowing. Is that enough? Please, you who have commercial or self made print washers if you can answer this, and one more question: In your washers, does tube from which water goes out into washer is above water level, or into water when washer is working. I mean tube with holes in print washer, not from water source to the washer tube.
Any other advice will be helpfull.
I use FB paper for most of my serious work. I don't have a print washer. Instead, I wash prints by letting them soak in trays of water. During the course of a three hour printing session, I will typically generate 12-24 "keeper" prints. I sometimes will refresh the water in the holding tray halfway through the printing session, especially if I sense that I am keeping more prints than usual.
During the printing process, prints accumulate in a tray of water. Then, when the sesssion ends, I empty my developer, stop and fixer trays, and mix a tray of hypoclear. I transfer the prints from the holding tray to the hypoclear and agitate by shuffling through the stack for several minutes.
Then, I transfer the prints to a tray of plain water, shuffle through them once, and then let them sit while I put away the boxes of paper, printing filters, and all of the other stuff that tends to accumulate on top of my counter while I am printing. After that has been done, I fill another tray with fresh water, and transfer the prints to it, shuffle through them, and then let them soak. I repeat this process through 5-6 trays of fresh water (over the course of perhaps an hour of time), before squeegeeing the prints and then placing them face down on fiberglass drying screens.
The flow of water does not need to be great. One complete change of water every 10 minutes should do the job for fibre.
I do not use flowing water at all. I use a washaid followed by four 15 minute soaks. I.e. put the prints in the washer and fill the washer with water, leave the prints for 15 minutes, drain the water and re-fill - repeat for a total of 4 times.
My washer has water flowing into the washer at the bottom and water flows out to the waste pipe at the top - but I don't not think it matters: either way will work fine. The important thing is that the water circulates freely around the print.
There are other threads on the subject on APUG that may give you some good ideas.
fine art photo supply used to sell a kit to transform a fish tank into a print washer. basically it was 4 pieces of plastic pipe with slots cut into it to hold separaters(plastic) and a syphon hose.
i have a print washer (not the one that i described above, but one that cost me an arm and a leg) but i never use it, i just use trays of water - shuffle-fill/dump instead. much easier.
good luck with your project!
Last edited by jnanian; 06-11-2006 at 08:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I understand that each person uses different washing methods for their prints… I’m a little confused as to the difference between an archival washer and a tray washer (type with the hose & constant water flowing over prints). Both types of washers cycle water through them while washing the prints. The only difference I see between them is that the archival type is upright and the other is just a tray. Is there something that really makes the former truly “archival”, or are these trays basically performing the same function?
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The "archival washer" costs more. Because the name on the label says "archival". If used properly, they are functionally identical.
This whole "archival" thing is pure marketing hype. Fundamentally, it comes down to whether the print has been processed in a way that maximizes it's expected life.
The archival phreaks insist that "archival" means that it has been fixed thoroughly (often, that is interpreted to mean fixed in two successive fixing baths), washed to remove all but a microscopic trace of the fixer, toned in selenium or gold (sulfide and thirurea toners are sometimes considered archival, iron toners - as in blue - are not), mounted on acid-free 100% rag mat board, overmatted with similar board, mounted using "archival quality" adhesives and linen tape hinges and never dry mounted, blah, blah, blah.
The thing that is missing is whether the work deserves this kind of treatment.
They are intended for two different jobs: the tray type is intended to wash just one or two prints quickly (RC) and the upright versions are intended to wash several prints over a long time (FB). The term "archival" is somewhat misleading as, of course, no washer can guarantee an "archival" wash - it's up to the user to ensure adequate washing. As can been seen above, practically every one has their own routine. The name was probably a marketing choice when these first became available...
Thank you all.
Yes, I agree with you about "archival washing", that is why I decide not to give 300 USD for washer, but to build it myself. I don't need washer which will wash 10 or 15 prints at same time, 2 or 3 print most, so... If I will ever have need to wash 15 prints at same time and to have absolute archiving quality, that will probably be time when I would make such money of photography that I will be able to buy "best washer on planet"
I posted photo's of my homemade Vertical Print Washer in the this Darkroom fourm. Search for "DIY Vertical Print Washer". Hope it helps. If you have any questions please drop me a line.
Thanks Todd, I will certanly look at...