I was forced to tired many forms of agitation during the learning curve while processing only one sheet at time.
Originally Posted by Jeff Bannow
I settled on a rod with a 1"-2" disc on the end and used in up and down stroke resembling a washing machine which perfected the agitation for me. Because I was early in the learning curve of this technique many very knowledgeable LF photogs sought my advice and as far as I know continue to use this same regime without short fall.
I always pre soak 3 ish minutes in water and then quickly introduce the diluted developer and agitate vigorously for the first 1.5 - 2.5 minutes depending on desire contrast followed by a Stand period of anywhere from 4 minutes to 40 minutes. The first agitation is gentle and in an up and down motion which ranges from 15 - 25 secs (again depending on desired contrast & being careful not to scratch the film) another Stand period and a second agitation just as the first and then a third Stand cycle and then quick to a diluted stop bath.
Very basically, the initial agitation needs to be vigorous and constant for enough time to allow the emulsion to absorb chemistry in a uniform fashion while the second agitation does not need to be as vigorous rather just constant and repeatable IMO.