That's very interesting... maybe the stock solution in TEA just keeps better than in water? What would be the approximate shelf life of PC-Kodalk water developer concentrate? Do you add Kodalk right before usage of a diluted stock? I will be very glad if you would put here your recipe, so I can try it on FOMA films.

Maybe I did overheat the TEA. It worked fine, but it sure did, and still does, stink up the whole darkroom with a sweet-ish, unpleasant smell that persists for a couple of days. I bought it from the Formulary.

1 tsp. (5g.) Kodalk (metaborate) OR 1 tsp. (6g) carbonate (Arm & Hammer Washing Soda or PH Plus) See note below.

1/2 tsp. (4 g.) Vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid)

4 ml 1% Phenidone stock solution (1g dissolved in 100ml either Propylene glycol or 90% alcohol)

1 liter water at 70F (22C)

I use metaborate for Delta 400; carbonate for Delta 100, Fuji ACROS, and Neopan 400

6 minutes for Delta 400
6:30 for Delta 100
7 minutes for Neopan 400
7:15 for ACROS

You may need to adjust times, but these will get you close.

Quote Originally Posted by jdef
A two-solution formula, with the ascorbic acid and phenidone dissolved in glycol, and the alkali added to the working solution seems the best alternative to TEA. I've made up many different TEA solutions, and have never noticed a bad smell, and there is no more of a mess than mixing in glycol. Maybe you're overheating your TEA?

As you can see from above. I'm not talking about a two-solution formula. I make only one stock solution containing the Phenidone, either in Propylene Glycol or 90% alcohol. It's a 1% solution--1 g. Phenidone (1/2 teaspoon) to 100 ml of the liquid.

When I'm ready to develop, I fill a beaker with 1 liter of water at 70 F. (22C.), then stir in either Kodalk (s. metaborate) OR s. carbonate and the Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Sticking a measuring spoon into a jar of chemical and stirring it into the water takes no longer on average than measuring two pre-mixed stock solutions. (These chemicals dissolve very rapidly.) Finally, I add 4 ml of the Phenidone stock using a cheap medicine dropper from the pharmacy. All this takes less than three minutes to mix, and I'm ready to pour it into the tank.

Result: lovely negs, very fine grain, very full shadow and highlight detail.

Some say that the Propylene glycol will preserve the Phenidone longer without loss of potency than the 90% alcohol, and theoretically that may be true. But a 100 ml bottle of the alcohol-Phen stock will make 25 liters of developer (in my two-reel tank (I shoot medium format mostly, and use a stainless steel Omega tank with 2 reels), that's 50 rolls of film. Since I'm only shooting for my own pleasure, and still holding down a day job, that's about 6 months worth of film on average for me. Maybe I also shoot a box of sheet film in that time too, and I use the same developer in 8X10 trays for my sheet film. I've never noticed any loss of potency with my alcohol-Phen. stock in a six-month period. So as far as my own working is concerned, it's longevity is a moot point.

If I wanted to not buy metaborate from a photo store or chemical company, I'd use Pat's formula mixing borax and lye into a stock solution, and then use 5 ml of that in place of the 1 tsp. of the metaborate powder. But at only a teaspoon per liter, a regular-sized jar of Kodalk lasts a long time.