Lately I've been experimenting with enlarging paper negatives. Since all my negatives are shot on RC paper, the easiest way to begin is by stripping the emulsion from the backing paper. I haven't tried, but this probably will work with FB paper as well.
To strip emulsion, bring some water just to a boil and pour over negative I do this in an old glass baking dish. Let soak for several minutes, checking occasionally by trying to seperate the emulsion from the paper backing at the corner. Take your time here, and add more hot water as needed, and soak. Continue to peel apart until completed.
Next, take the emulsion layer and carefully place it onto a clean glass surface, rolling it flat with a brayer (or other roller). I keep a couple of 4"x5" pieces of glass for this purpose. I cover with a second piece of glass, making sure to remove all air bubbles (just like a microscope slide), and insert into my enlarger face down.
Now the fun begins. Time for experimenting with time and contrast. So far, my results aren't the best, but I have made a couple of respectable 8x10 enlargments from a 4x5 negatives.
Have fun kids!
do you need to worry about strange stuff enlarging
from the paper that is on the backside of the negative
that might not be as smooth as ... glass, but
rough from being pealed? or are you able to remove all
the way to the emulsion ?
I've been working on that part, that's why I roll them as flat as possible on glass. You have to be very cautious when rubbing the "fuzzies" from the back so not to rub through. The cleaner the negative, the better the quality of print. I'm trying mounting face down first to clean the back better. I'm also going to try oil to mount to glass to see if it works better or not. One other problem is stretching the negative without tearing, even minute wrinkles show.