Friday, I took delivery of the first production quality run of 10 4x5 paper and film blades and 10 8x10 paper blades. These will allow coating very high quality hand coatings of alternative photographic chemistry or silver in gelatin.
I also have a prototype 4x5 film and plate blade, and a prototype 11 x 14 paper blade now.
So, I spent my day calibrading and testing. The results show that the production blades appear to be within specs.
The film and plate blade will need some slight modifications, but appears to be capable of 35mm, 120 and 4x5 film and 4x5 plate coatings. The length planned on will be about 2 feet of film or 1 (maybe 2) plate(s) at a time.
The 11x14 blade worked perfectly with one proviso. It was the first time I had handled that monstrosity and I was a total klutz. I therefore produced a 'ramp up' in quality from crap to acceptable in 3 sheets and I ran out of test melt, but it does work and being the klutz that I am, I'm sure with some practice I'll be doing just fine with 11x14 size. (my coating plate was only 11.5" x 13" so the paper overhung the plate by 1" in one dimension anyhow, so I have to get a new plate as well)
Anyone interested in 16x20?
The 4x5 blades weigh about 420 grams, the 8x10 blades weigh nearly 800 grams and the 11x14 blade weighs nearly 1 kg. This is for stability purposes.
I am going to start writing up a manual for both calibration and use, along with some pictures of the blades in action. They will be available at the workshops this summer and fall.
Thanks to all who showed interest in this. Thanks for all of the E-mails, PMs and other support.