Darkroom Chemical Working Solutions volumes

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by thisispants, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. thisispants

    thisispants Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Apologies for the seemingly cryptic subject title.

    I'm nearly finished setting up a simple darkroom in my garage and I just want to see how much of each chemical do people make.

    I will probably do 3-4 darkroom sessions a month. Nothing crazy.

    I have 2 of those concertina type containers which collapse to remove air.

    I was thinking of making up some fixer and stop bath, and keeping about 1 litre each of those chemicals in each of the containers.

    I assume most people here wait until just before they print to make the working developer solution....so assuming I want approx 1 litre of developer solution, is it ok to use a 1 litre soft drink bottle to store the developer assuming it's not exhausted.

    Or would you guys advise me to use one of the concertina containers for the developer and a soft drink bottle for, for eg. the stop bath.

    Does it even matter?

    I'm using Ilfostop, Ilford rapid fixer, Ilford MG developer.

  2. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

    Feb 2, 2007
    Keeping the
    Multi Format
    Some folks use their chemistry as 'one-shot' and discard.... Some like me use a replenished system. I make up a stock 2 liter batch of TMAX developer mixed 1:4
    I develop my film in that, then re-use the developer. Prior to developing new rolls, I pour out some of the stock solution based upon ho wmany rolls have been through it... Ie Kodak recommends 70ml of developer per roll of 120 film or 35mm film.... So If I've developed 4 rolls of 120 film, I pour out 280ml... round it up to 300ml and replace that volume with 60ml of TMAX concentrate, and 240ml of water in my case. When repleneished like this, a batch of developer can be kept going almost indefinitely.

    Similarly for stop bath, I keep a 2liter of mixed stock solution on hand, but don't replenish it. I just put about 25 rolls of film through it and dispose, then make new.

    For Fixer, I use Ilford Hypam mixed 1:4. A 2 liter batch mixed up and replenished every time I fix film.... I dispose of about 500ml of mixed fixer every 2 developing sessions, and replenish with 100ml of Hypam concentrate and 400ml of water..

    It is VERY economical for me to work like this. I useregular brown plastic storage containers, not the concertina bottles. I've had no issues the 2 years I've been using a replensished system.

    Other folks have similar ways of working, it's just finding the right balance for your workflow that's all.
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Subscriber

    Jul 12, 2010
    Southern USA
    Multi Format
    These containers are really worthless. The plastic they are made frm is permeable to oxygen and so is not suitable for developers. They are impossible to clean and fixer throws down crud fairly routinely. You could store stop bath in them but you really shouldn't save used stop bath.
  4. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    Downers Grov
    Stock developers last 6 months in full stoppered glass bottles. 24 hours in a partial bottle unless you put a nitrogen head on it. I mix a liter or two of D76 and decant to small one time use bottles, 4 oz. You can only buy gallon packs now, but I scratch mix mine at 1/10 the cost.

    Paper developer goes into larger one time use bottles. Same 6 month life. D72 same as Dektol. Same 1/10 the cost

    People like HC110 and Rodinal partly because you can work from high concentrates. I have a bottle of Rodinal I test occasionally. I put it into a small GLASS bottle in 1998, 13 years ago. Still works with around a 5% loss of contrast. HC110 you can use 3/6 ml from the bottle for two years if you get a fresh bottle. Look at the date on the bottle.
    Toss when it goes from yellow to yellow orange.

    I do not use stop bath for film, not even water. Mix as need for print session and toss if you must. Citric acid or vinegar work ok. Use for color prints too regardless of their instructions. No stop required if you use alkaline developer, they are all alkaline, and alkaline fix.

    I buy alkaline fix, Photographers Formulary TF4, and put stock in 16 oz bottles. Shake and mix enough for one film. Do not reuse a any film fix.

    I use film strength film fix on prints and fix for short times. 30 sec for RC, 120 and 2 baths for fiber. NO hardener ever. Use Kodak Rapid fix if you want. Use up film fix on test prints.

    Wash aid, mix as needed.

    NEVER POUR ANYTHING BACK INTO A BOTTLE per the late Fred Picker. Experience tells me he was correct.

    Working strength print developer lasts 8 hours even if you make one print and store in a sealed bottle. 8 hours period. You will get an image, but it will be off and you will try to correct with a new time/contrast and you will try and try and not get it not realizing it was the developer gone bad. It remains clear and looks good, but it is not.

    You will not believe all this, but after 30 years you will finally realize I am correct. Save yourself the trouble.

    Oh yes, take the collapsible bottles back to the store.

    Glass always works. Plastic may or may not depending on plastic composition. Glass is cleanable. Plastic is not and you can not see if clean anyway. I bought $200 worth of bottles and caps, best money I ever spent. Search internet for bottle suppliers.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2011