Robert,
Hmmmm, for what it is worth, Veronica Cass was one of my first instructors in retouching and the use of the Adams machine. I took this class at the old adams factory and she was fairley new using the machine.I did not intend to get into a pissing war with you, but the method I described is the best, quickest and easiest way to overcome an emulsion emulsion scratch. Using varnish and graphite will cover a multitude of sins, but the needle and etching knife do not enter the picture unless you are creating a scratch on the base side directly over the scratch in the emulsion. The scratch on the base side as you well know will print white. (sometimes called abrading)

Again, for what it is worth, the majority of pencil retouching should be done
on the base side rather than the emulsion. Why???

A retoucher will do what ever that is necessary to remove the blemishes and improve the negative. A professional photographer should not be bothered by deep emulsion scratches as they simply do not allow any opportunity for a
negative to get damaged in the first place. Scratched negatives are created by careless handeling.

I also attended a 2 week PPof A session at Winona tought by one of Hurrell's
staff of retouchers. He stressed the fact that as much retouching of a negative as can be should be done on the emulsion side. When the base gets too slick to hold more graphite he sprayed over the retouched base with thinned Kodak varnish (retouching fluid) with an air brush. this sealed his first efforts and provided tooth for his additional graphite work. Rather than retouch directly on the emulsion, he again applied a thicker coat of varnish and did his pencil work using the tooth of the varnish. This method allows for removing, if necessary where the retouching on directly on the emulsion is much more difficult.

Retouching directly on the emulsion places the graphite in the grain of the image. When printing we focus on the grain, thus every pencil mark will show up as sharp as the grain. A bunch of tiny white figure 8's will proclaim I've been retouched. On the other hand if you do the retouching on the base
it will show much less since the retouching graphite is the thickness of the film itself away from the grain. Focus on the grain, then the retouching is diffused. (That is three stops down from wide open)


Sorry this got so long, but Robert, I did not fall off the wagon last night, I am glad you have so much faith in the old Adams. I averaged 16 to 20 thousand negatives a year on my Adams, doing College students and high school seniors. I did this over a span of nine years. Seldom did I ever have a damaged negative to repair.


Charlie........................................... ...

BTW, I also spent a week with Joseph Schnider at his studio in MO. learning
his method.