Brian:

No need to work in the kitchen, I got some keys to an unused darkroom at school. I had to mop the heck out of the space to clean up all the dust, but it's mine for the duration of this project. I'll attach some pictures! I wish I had shot some of the actual process, but it would have been too messy.

Incidentally, I did develop some of the spill mat today that had absorbed some of the liquefied emulsion. It turned black. So that's almost like testing it! And I'm halfway to getting the plate holder working, so I'll hopefully have some actual results to post soon.

Ron:
Oh boy. I wish I could take you out for a beer and absorb some of your knowledge.

Can we first discuss washing technique? I felt like that was the most inaccurate, dubious part of the whole process, and if I were to improve something, that would have been it. The way I just did it seemed wasteful and ultimately diluted the emulsion more than I think it should have.

Your method of dicing the emulsion and then rinsing it in the tip of some hose sounds too good to be true. How finely does the emulsion need to be diced in order for this method to be effective? Would I just rake a scrupulously clean knife through the chill-set emulsion until it was thoroughly scrambled?

There was no ammonia component to my emulsion but I noted that you include some in your recipes. I briefly looked over them earlier today, just after making my original post. So, since I added no ammonia, I can expect lower speed, but on the other hand, I should be able to harden it, right?

That brings up another thing I wanted to ask: hardening the emulsion prior to coating. I have a 5% solution of potassium dichromate leftover from the van dyke kit I played with this summer. Should I put some in a small tray and "float" the coated plates on it for a few seconds? Or is there a better, less carcinogenic way that I might approach this? I also have access to C-41 stabilizer if that's of any use (formalin?), and the hardening component for the lab's b&w fixer.

Should I even be worrying about hardening the emulsion at this point?

Guess I still have a lot of stuff to think over. I think I'll sleep on it.

Good night all,
Conor