Thank you, PE. I will look into those things. At least this time I could roll, fold, spindle and mutilate without the emulsion coming off the support while dry. That's an improvement.
Why would you suspect hardener, though? Can you explain to me the role that the hardener plays (or point me at a reference) in this process because apparently I do not understand. Obviously it does more than just make the gelatin harder.
No hardener or surfactant was included in the subbing and I don't believe there should be, right?
The hardener I am using is a 10% solution of chrome alum. 0.1 ml was added to 15 ml gelatin emulsion as well as 1 drop undiluted PhotoFlo as a surfactant. That was the level I settled on during my practice runs because a greater amount of alum (say 1 ml) was giving me a problem with the gelatin coagulating before I could spread it. Practice runs likewise used 15ml of gelatin. Coating temperature of the emulsion was 45C with the acetate/glass plate at about 38C. Processing was at 16C (room temperature of my workshop) in XTOL 1:1 for 6 minutes followed by 1 min 3% chrome alum hardening stop bath followed by Kodak rapid fixer where after 3 minutes the emulsion completely detached, but frilling started in the developer around the edges. The curing time was about 36 hours. Ambient temperature in the workshop is around 62F - about 40% rel humidity give or take a bit.
I cut up one of my practice runs from the other night and dropped a sample in distilled water and that gelatin is lifting in exactly the same way. Gelatin concentration in the practice runs is 8%, about the same as the emulsion. At least it looks like I don't have to use expensive emulsion to trouble shoot.
On a side note, would plain old Kodak powdered fixer be a better choice here than the C41 style rapid fixer? The C41 was sitting out on the bench so I just used it. I don't have any of the other mixed at the moment but I do have it on hand.
Sorry if this is a bit wordy - I am trying to describe exactly what I did. PE, your assistance and expertise is very much appreciated. Same goes for all the rest of you helping out.