Just got my "new" Prinz Jet drum dryer from eBay today. First run of prints looked pretty dismal -- very pitted. After a couple of hours of polishing the drum with Brasso, I ran another print through. it's much less pitted, but there's still some pitting. I think I'll have to figure out how to pull the apron so I can bleach and wash it to get the crud off.
There's a more disturbing issue, though. In at least two or three small areas of each print, I see what look like the lines around a mountain on a topological map. These are hairline cracks in the emulsion that I only see when looking at the surface of the print in glare. Instinctually, I'm thinking it might be because the dryer is either too slow or the heat is too high, neither of which have any more than a toggle switch control. No budget left to get a different print dryer. I've gotta make this one work.
The prints are on Ilford Multigrade fiber paper, but I've also seen it on one Azo print I ran through.
Anyone know if too-high heat or too-long on the drum is the culprit? Anyone ever crack one of these things open and know how to (a) pull and replace the apron, (b) adjust the speed of the dryer or (c) adjust the heat of the drum?
Thanks in advance,
I had use of one a few years back. Are you place tihe print image side towards the drum? If so that is your problem. It goes face down on the canvas so the print will not be facing the metal drum. See if you can get a replacement canvas made. Even if you have to buy the canvas yourself and have someone make it. After you wash it, it may shrink. Then you are out the canvas and won't know the true size to have one made. This is FWIW
Hey... thanks for the speedy reply.
Originally Posted by Aggie
I am drying the prints with the emulsion toward the drum, intentionally. I want a high glossy finish. That's why I got the dryer.
Anyone out there got the the docs for this dryer? I know I can buy them online, but I'm both impatient and cheap. Does Prinz recommend against drying prints with emulsion against the drum? My dim recollection is that calling glossy paper "F" surface originates with the fact that the high gloss came from drying the prints with the emulsion against a "Ferrite" surface. Now, I don't know if the chrome drum of the Prinz Jet Dryer qualifies as a Ferrite surfice, but the high gloss from a fiber print dryer is what I'm after.
problem with the emulsion side towards the drum is it melts. You are lucky it hasn't stuck to the drum yet. I've seen that happen. Then you get to take a razor blade and scrap your print off the drum. that is the source of your cracks and pitting. You just don't have it high enough to melt it further and have it stick. The machine was intended for the emulsion to be away from the drum just for this reason. You can't get a really high gloss shine by melting it, it just messes up the emulsion.
One thing I used to do when I was ferrotyping prints was to wax the tin before I used it. A really good car wax worked for me but I wasn't worried about longevity of the prints. They came out with a really high gloss.
The pitting is usually from bits of trash between the print and the drum. Have you looked to see that the print has no particulates floating around with it in the wash?
Another thing is to be sure you have a solid bead of water between the print and drum as you load it. That will help make the gloss more even and also slow the drying a bit.
I've also seen print flattener solution that will help with the cracking. I think it was mainly glycerin and water.
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There are 10 types of people in this world - those who understand binary and those who don't.
Well, from the research I've done so far, it appears that this new
dryer of mine is a gateway to the whole multilayered subject of
ferrotyping and glazing.
I'll sum up what I've found, mostly on the net, and boil down my
questions afterward. Corrections and illuminations will be greatly
I started out believing that when you had a fiber print dryer with a
heated chrome drum like this Prinz Jet I have, that the process of
drying the print with the emulsion against the drum was called
ferrotyping. It appears that's not quite the case.
[please insert "it appears to me that..." before all apparent statements
of perceived fact. I'm just omitting them to get on with it.]
THE ORIGIN AND VALUE OF GLOSS
Glossy paper prints were first desired by photojournalists because
press reproduction of the time demanded as smooth a surface as
possible in photographs. These days, those who desire high gloss
on their prints usually do so because it reduces the diffusion on
the surface of the print, giving more extreme dMax and dMin and
increasing the apparent dynamic range of the print. It also lends
a deep three-dimensional look to the print that might not be there
with the same image on a matte surface. The latter characteristics
are what I'm after.
FERROTYPING AND GLAZING
Two terms, ferrotyping and glazing, appear to be at the center of
the craft of producing a high gloss on silver gelatin prints. As a
side note, there appears to be a cultural English/American
distinction between the terms wherein glazing is used in England to
refer to both ferrotyping and glazing, but whereas the two
procedures are named separately in the US.
Ferrotypes are also a synonym for tintypes, the earliest
US-originated photographic process whereby a sensitized metal plate
was exposed, processed, and polished to a high sheen. It's this
polishing of a plate that, I supposed, has migrated the term
ferrotype to this process of adding gloss to paper silver gelatin
prints. In ferrotyping, an enamel or metal plate is polished with
a wax-based polished to a high sheen. Prints are squeegeed on to
the plate. Gradually, the prints dry from the edges in to the
center, and once they finally dry, they pop off the plate. I get
the impression that ferrotyping is usually done at room
To avoid having to wax a plate, the successor to ferrotyping was
Glazing. In glazing, the polished wax is replaced by a hard-polished
chrome or similar surface and heat. To keep the emulsion from
cracking from uneven drying, prints are soaked in a solution of
gelatin and water to deter the speed with which water evaporates from
the emulsion as it acquires the gloss from the chrome plate or drum.
Extraordinary attention to detail is called for in keeping the chrome
clean and polished, a shortcoming of glazing being that you can't
just wax and polish your surface smooth. Another thing to watch
out for is that the cloth apron wicks up any impurity of
non-archivaly processed prints and could potentially contaminate
all prints done thereafter until you re-clean your apron.
As an aside, I've got a copy of The Photographer's Handbook, 3rd ed.,
by John Hedgecoe, and on page 60 it shows a nearly exact duplicate
of my dryer and calls it a rotary glazer, specifying that prints be
dried on it face up, against the heated drum.
Thanks to the reference from John Brewer, I've learned there's such
a thing as a glazing sheet, which could go between the print
emulsion and the drum. This might be a good alternative to forever
brasso-ing the chrome drum of my dryer.
That's what I've found out so far.
- I've read that heated drying (which I would presume includes
glazing) is contraindicated for toned prints, since it could have
unpredictable effects on the toner. Eventually, I'd like my
workflow to include solenenium toning followed by hot glazing.
Anyone have any comments on heated drying and/or glazing and
- Anyone using glazing sheets? What are they? Is there a cheap
alternative I can use that would be just as good, such as thick-ish
foil from a craft shop?
- I've heard that the gelatin and water solution is not archival and
promotes mold development in the dried print. Does this mean that
hot glazing is not suitable for archival intentions?
The adventure continues.
My glazer/dryer whatever you want to call it has an optional sheet of chromium plated steel. Mine is very old! When I just want to dry FB prints put them face down and use a low heat. I did use the glazing sheet for some small prints, (some of the glazing sheet was rusty), but I didn't like the mirror like finish, it was too glossy.
There are 10 types of people in this world - those who understand binary and those who don't.
That surface of the dryer needs to be glass smooth if you don't want to have any pitting. I would not use Brasso on chrome, nor on anything that is going to have heat involved as it does contain some petroleum distillates that are not good to have around your photograph. There is a product used for cleaning metal surfaces that dates back a few years called Bon Ami. It comes in a bar form and is used with terry cloth and water. It requires some healthy elbow grease but is really remarkable in its ability to clean metal surfaces. It is slightly abrasive, so you need to clean things when you are done, don't leave residue. As for changing your dryer belt, forget about washing the old one, it needs to be replaced. take the old one with you to a fabric store, or a marine sales store that sells canvas, and by what you need and make your own, be advised the seam needs to be at an angle, or it will not pass through the rollers of your dryer...
You can also find ferrotyping plates at some garage sales here and there, made by Kodak too! I may have some floating around, I'll take a look. I always wondered what I would do with those once I started using RC for high gloss prints...
Do not question what you have not done, question what you will not try.
In the previous millenium when I was an avid photo hobbyist there was a product for coating ferrotype plates. It was a liquid and I think it was referred to as a wax, but it was unlike any auto wax. A very thin coating was rubbed on the plate with a soft cloth then buffed when dry. I remember that it resulted in vastly improved glossy prints compared to a plate without the treatment. Keep in mind that any irregularities on the plate surface are transferred to the shiny print surface. A scratch on the plate will look like a crack on the print.