David,

Two bath development is a very subtle contrast control with either graded or VC papers. There are many variations in dilution that will give different results with both types of paper. For example, I mix the hard bath quite strong, 1 to 1 instead if 1 -3, sometimes using neat stock solution when I consider that I need the added punch that it will give. On the other hand I mix the soft developer up to 4 or 5 times more dilute that recommended by the manufacturer although when using the dev so weak you do have to renew it if you are planning a long session for the extra dilute developing agent will exhaust very quickly.

When I use two bath I place the print in the hard bath first and remove it as soon as I see tone appear, I don't wait until I have a black on the paper. The remainder of the development is carried out in the very dilute soft developer although if you feel that the blacks need a kick you can return the print to the hard developer. I would normally expect to remove the print from the hard developer after only 15 to 25 seconds and still produce deep rich blacks. Those members who have seen my prints in either the post card exchange or the portfolio will confirm that the blacks are rich and vibrant. I do use other dilutions depending on the negative contrast and the tonality I wish to have in the final print. It may seem that there are many variables to consider and that the end result may not be worth the trouble but I am certain that when you have worked with this system for a while you will learn how to use different dilutions to give the control. Clearly the dilutions and method suit me and when I started using two bath on graded papers over 20 years ago I took some time work out how to achieve the subtle controls and what was best for me.