Things are starting to look up I think. It was down to my shoddy coating, I was spreading it too thin over too large an area and losing too much on the brush which is why I was getting weak blacks. They're looking full and beefy now. Need to stick with the rod and practice coating. Last thing is a decent neg, how I yearn for an 8x10 instead of this inkjet crap. Oh, and a pile of books like you suggest PV!