I think you misunderstood about the hardener.
Originally Posted by Marco B
Kodak recommended Pre Harden (glutaraldehyde or formalin), wash, develop, stop, fix with hardener for soft emulsions or high temperature. They do not recommend mixing hardener with developer.
Also, wetting the paper should not be necessary. I do not wet the paper and can coat fine with brush, puddle pusher or blade. I prefer the blade as it causes less distortion, but that is my preference.
If the paper is dry and taped down, the top edge will wrinkle along the tape joint due to expansion, so I use a cold plate and the minimum of tape to reduce buckling. Also, if you fold up the edges you create a buckle strain along the fold which causes the paper to wrinkle due to differential expansion.
If you prewet the paper, you can have problems with not coating enough emulsion due to the paper already being saturated with water, so you must exercise care.
One way to coat is to melt the emulsion in a tray and then float the paper face down on the emulsion with corners folded up. Don't wet the back with emulsion.
Then lift the paper by one of the folded corners and drag it gently (face down) over the edge of the tray to scrape off excess emulsion. This wets the paper and removes excess emulsion in one operation. It was a preferred method of coating at one time.