FB paper dryers
Has anyone had success with this method of flattening FB prints?
It works well, but it also gives a different texture to the surface when dried emulsion out, emulsion in is a bear, to get a gloss you need hardened emulsion and a very clean and defect free chrome surface. The cloth needs to be kept extremely clean.
Yes, it is a fairly popular method. Unfortunately it seems that no two operators have success with the same method. My suggestions are:
- Dry with the emulsion against the glazing surface for all papers. I find that the emulsion side can pick up the texture of the canvas cover.
- For a glossy finish, make sure the print is wet and use a roller to ensure that the entire print is in contact with the glazing surface.
- For non glossy papers, make sure that all the water is removed from the emulsion side. I like to let mine dry a bit on screens before placing in the dryer.
- Start with a low temperature setting and work your way up. The print will pop off the glazing surface when it is dry.
Keep in mind that others have reported all sorts of problems when using one or more of the suggestions above. One thing we all seem to agree on is that the glazing surface must be clean and smooth. The print will pick up any imperfections on the glazing surface.
I do use a print dryer for my prints, despite not being a recommended method for archival treatment, due to potential carry over of contaminants on the linen. But I feel an archivally washed print should not carry any contaminant that can be transferred, I would never use it for drying test strips, or quickly washed work prints, only for finished toned prints. They are also not recommended for prints toned with the iron based toners, i.e. iron-blue, copper, etc., as there can be transfer of toner to the apron during drying.
Whilst the prints do dry nice and flat (well actually with a slight reverse bend), the edges can cockle _very_ slightly, so I place the dry prints under a heavy-ish book while they cool, and that takes care of that.
I squeegee the print onto the drying surface using a brayer, or roller squeegee, this helps to reduce the cockling at the edges of the print, and also seems to reduce the potential for the apron texturing the surface of the emulsion.
I dry emulsion out, unless I am going to glaze the print. The apron can leave a texture on the emulsion, but personally, I have never found it noticeable. If you want to glaze prints, you will need a glazing plate, and glazing solution. Tetenal's wetting agent, Mirasol, can be used as a glazing solution diluted 1 + 40 (rather than 1 + 400 as an anti-wetting agent).
"You don't need eyes to see, you need vision" - Maxi Jazz
I wasn't planning on glazing the prints and I'm happy with a natural air dried look. I just need the prints flat. I contacted the Ilford technical department about washing methods and they mentioned that over washing can lead to wavy edges after the print has dried.
I have some Forte Polywarmtone FB which looks very uneven and 'bumpy' after flattening under a mattress and wooded boards. The Kentmere paper is also looking bad after ironing.
I'm thinking a hot press used for t -shirt sublimation printing will give a very flat print...some are quite cheap. What is the maximum temperature a print can survive?
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I use my Seal drymount press to flatten prints that I've air dried though sometimes if I'm doing a lot of work prints I'll run them through my Beseler 1620 continuous drum dryer.
A few days ago I was given a rather old sample of these dryers. Instead of drying wet prints I decided to use it for dry FB prints which don't stay flat. I gave each print 10 minutes with the emulsion side in contact with the glazing surface and then put the hot prints between pages of a big and heavy book. The next morning the prints were perfectly flat. I'm very happy with this dryer and only wish I could also use it for 30x40cm paper, a size that is slightly larger then the glazing plate.
If you are handy with woodworking, a good print dryer is easy to make and very effective...
I have several electric prints dryers which I use to dry test strips and prints as well as when I want a glossy surface. But unless you have a motorized belt dryer-drying a large number of prints is a hassel. I use a set screens made out of wooden frames and plastic window screens. Mine are very simple, just 16X20 frames with 1/2 spaces so I can stack one frame on top of another, no rack. As I live in the desert I just stack them of my patio, this time of the year my prints are dry in less than a 1/2 hour.