Bill Troop's Alkaline Fixer TF-2 and Kodalk Sodium metaborate

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BobUK

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The recipe for TF-2 Fixer has the Kodalk (Sodium metaborate) added at the end.

I will use the Kodak 7g Borax and 1.5g Sodium hydroxide instead of Kodalk.


Question.
Can I make the Kodalk substitute up in water as per the Kodak instructions and then add the fixer chemicals in their correct order?
Or will this be detrimental to the end result ?


Similarly, when making developers that use Kodalk can they have the Kodalk added at the beginning of the mixing?

Thank you in advance.
 

Alan Johnson

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albada

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I seem to recall a statement in the Film Developing Cookbook stating that the order of chemicals for fixers should not be altered, lest you get precipitation or somesuch.
So I suggest using two beakers: one with the metaborate (from borax and hydroxide), and the second with the fixer being mixed. At the step where metaborate is to be added to the fixer, pour in the metaborate solution instead.

BTW, have you considered mixing TF-3 instead? Such an alkaline fixer has advantages, but the ammonia smell might be bothersome. I keep a lid on my fixer tray, so the smell isn't a problem for me.

Mark Overton
 
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BobUK

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I think you have both answered my questions.

The link to Ryuji was very interesting. A lot of information gathered into one place.

albada the TF-3 uses 800ml of a 60% solution of ammonium thiosulphate. Ammonium thiosulphate is expensive in the UK and I could only find one retailer of it in small quantities here.

The B&H site info gives 20ml of 10% solution = 2g Kodalk substitute

So, 20ml x 5 = 100ml = 10g equivalent of Kodalk.


I think I will stick to using it in this way and add it at the end.


Thank you Gents for the info. and links.
 

Alan Johnson

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I believe Ryuji is right and the B&H formula wrong for making metaborate as it commonly sold today , as tetrahydrate.
So what you originally posted, 7g borax + 1.5g sodium hydroxide is a good approximation to Ryuji's calculation to make 10g Metaborate tetrahydrate, CAS 10555-76-7.
B&H are selling CAS 35585-58-1, the octahydrate.
 
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In case you don't want to take chances and want to use solid Metaborate itself, it is very easy to synthesise especially in small quantities:

 

John Wiegerink

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TF2 is the only fixer I use. I make it up myself and always follow the recipe, adding chems in order. The reason I don't go to a different/newer alkaline fixer is because I have about 25lbs. of kodalk (sodium metaborate) on hand and might as well make use of it. Besides, TF2 does everything I want it to do.
 

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TF2 is the only fixer I use. I make it up myself and always follow the recipe, adding chems in order. The reason I don't go to a different/newer alkaline fixer is because I have about 25lbs. of kodalk (sodium metaborate) on hand and might as well make use of it. Besides, TF2 does everything I want it to do.

Both TF-2 and TF-3 use sodium metaborate. The main difference between TF-2 and TF-3 is that TF-2 uses sodium thiosulfate whereas TF-3 uses ammonium thiosulfate. The OP prefers TF-2 because sodium thiosulfate is cheaper and more readily available in the UK.
 

John Wiegerink

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Both TF-2 and TF-3 use sodium metaborate. The main difference between TF-2 and TF-3 is that TF-2 uses sodium thiosulfate whereas TF-3 uses ammonium thiosulfate. The OP prefers TF-2 because sodium thiosulfate is cheaper and more readily available in the UK.

One of my reasons also. I can buy bulk sodium thiosulfate pretty darn cheap compared to Ammonium thiosulfate.
 

juan

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As a non-chemist let me see if I got this right - to make TF-2, I can compute the correct amounts of sodium hydroxide and borax from Riuji’s formula and add those to the water along with sodium thiosulfate and sodium sulfite. No heating in a pan in the oven per Gainer ( I think that was bicarbonate).

If so, I can buy those chemicals locally.
 

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Ammonium thiosulphate is expensive in the UK

It sometimes pops up in places you wouldn't expect. For instance, it is used fairly extensively as a fertilizer, so it might actually be surprisingly cheap once you find it in the right place. Look for liquid ATS fertilizer.
 

Alan Johnson

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As a non-chemist let me see if I got this right - to make TF-2, I can compute the correct amounts of sodium hydroxide and borax from Riuji’s formula and add those to the water along with sodium thiosulfate and sodium sulfite. No heating in a pan in the oven per Gainer ( I think that was bicarbonate).

If so, I can buy those chemicals locally.

Yes, you are right:
 
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BobUK

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Alan,
can you please confirm for me that all I have to do for TF-2 is add and mix into the water, Sodium thiosulphate, Sodium sulphite, then Borax and finally Sodium hydroxide.
No need to mix the Borax and Sodium hydroxide separately in their own water ? Just add them dry ?

I might be reading to much into your answer to juan.

Thankyou.
 

Alan Johnson

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Bob,
Yes, what you say is all you have to do.
Adding a small amount of sodium hydroxide solid to sodium thiosulfate did not cause any strange reaction in a test I made, it just dissolves.
Best to filter the TF-2 through cotton wool or similar.
 
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BobUK

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Thank you for that Alan. I shall mix a small amount of TF-2 in this way tomorrow.
I cadged a little sodium metaborate recently and mixed up some TF-2 .
I shall see how both work.
The only comparisons I can think of are clearing times on scraps of film and the pH.

Watch this space.
 
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BobUK

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I made my comparisons at last.
TF-2 made with genuine Sodium metaborate, and another small batch made with Borax and Sodium hydroxide added at the end of mixing as dry chemicals.
Using litmus strips, both batches have a pH of 7 and the clearing time of 1 min. 15 sec.

So they both work fine for my simple tests.

My next puzzle is will a stock solution of solution of borax and sodium hydroxide keep on the shelf for a decent length of time?

Thank you all for your assistance.
 

koraks

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My next puzzle is will a stock solution of solution of borax and sodium hydroxide keep on the shelf for a decent length of time?

I would presume so. I don't see why it wouldn't keep as well as a metaborate solution. After all, that's what it is.
 

bluechromis

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It sounds the the OP has a solution to his question. Arguments can be made that alkaline fixers have modest advantages over acid fixers. But there are less options of commercially made alkaline fixers. This highlights the benefits that mixing one's own chems can offer.

I have an observation that is not specifically about the OP's situation. The OP didn't say that the bulk chemicals he wanted we not available in UK, that but the known sources were too expensive. As the OP likely knows, the chems they are interested in may available through Silverprint in UK. It is totally understandable if he doesn't want to pay their prices.

These kind of discussions (not specifically this one) sometimes get misconstrued and rumors spread it is impossible to get bulk chemiclals in given region and therefore impossible to formulate home-brew chems there or that Caffenol is the only option. Photrio members are knowledgeable and not apt to fall into that misconception. But I have seen this come up in other forums and I think is unfortunate. Often chems are more available than people think. On one forum there was so much confusion about sources of materials that they conducted a poll of users about access to bulk chemicals in their locale. I recall that results showed that the most commonly used chemicals were available in most of Europe, in North America and many other places. The impression was that chems were available in more of the world than not. Yes, there are limitations, and some chems that are banned in some countries. The poll results surprised many who had assumed that chems were not available in their area at all. Wouldn't it great if there was a grant that funded the creation of regularly updated database of photo chem sources worldwide?

As has been alluded, sometimes chems can be found through non-photographic channels. Pat Gainer and others have been resourceful in scrounging affordable chems that are marketed as pool supplies, health food supplements, drain cleaners, auto supplies, laundry products and others. For some, the uncertainty about these materials makes them not worth the trouble. For others the quest to hunt and gather materials is part of the fun.
 
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BobUK

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Hello bluechromis,
An interesting post.

In my youth chemicals were easily obtained in the UK, as long as you had a valid reason for using them.
Over the years things slowly tightened up.
From the seventies onwards we had a revival of terrorist bombings, targeting the military and the general public in the streets.
Our own domestic terrorism was slowly winding down when Foreign religious causes started to appear more frequently.
Some sellers refused point blank to sell chemistry to you, no matter how innocuous the substance, or even if you had a previous purchase record with them, you had to have a business.
It was no use pretending that you had a business, because some firms made (and still do) checks to see if you were/are a proper registered company.

The well known internet auction site was going to be regulated more stringently for anarchists materials etc..

Acid throwing, once popular in Victorian times has made a comeback in certain ethnic groups here.
So the government talked about tightening up controls on acid sales. I don't know how this is progressing, time will tell.

A couple of years ago the UK left the European Economic Community.
With this came crazy import and export taxes and restrictions. So much so, that to cover the expenses of extra paper work imposed by the new rules, whoever made them up, sellers needed to increase prices to pay for this extra work.
It is now a common thing to see traders in the EEC declaring that they will only trade with EEC countries, and will no longer export to the big world outside their club.
If they will export to the UK there is usually a minimum order between £125 --- £250.

This is not only the case in the EEC but a similar situation is created by UK retailers exporting to the EEC. Minimum orders and crazy handling charges.

The only chemical suppliers here I have found that stock Sodium metaborate are for bona fide business customers only, apart
from a firm that sells a minimum order of 25 lb sacks.

Silver print do stock Sodium metaborate at about UK£40 per lb. plus postage etc.. This is a crazy price when compared to Still Photographic who recently sold me 1lb of the stuff for about £20.

The EEC are well known for banning substances for whatever reason is popular at the time.
So we had to put up with EEC bans on certain chemicals, plus our own governments bans and restrictions.
A double whammy for us.

The available materials lists for private individual photographers here slowly dwindled smaller and smaller, and I cannot see it getting any better.



Way off my original topic, but I hope there is a better understanding of our difficulties in obtaining some of the more obscure chemicals for our hobby here in the UK.

Thank you for your interest.
 

bluechromis

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Hello bluechromis,
An interesting post.

In my youth chemicals were easily obtained in the UK, as long as you had a valid reason for using them.
Over the years things slowly tightened up.
From the seventies onwards we had a revival of terrorist bombings, targeting the military and the general public in the streets.
Our own domestic terrorism was slowly winding down when Foreign religious causes started to appear more frequently.
Some sellers refused point blank to sell chemistry to you, no matter how innocuous the substance, or even if you had a previous purchase record with them, you had to have a business.
It was no use pretending that you had a business, because some firms made (and still do) checks to see if you were/are a proper registered company.

The well known internet auction site was going to be regulated more stringently for anarchists materials etc..

Acid throwing, once popular in Victorian times has made a comeback in certain ethnic groups here.
So the government talked about tightening up controls on acid sales. I don't know how this is progressing, time will tell.

A couple of years ago the UK left the European Economic Community.
With this came crazy import and export taxes and restrictions. So much so, that to cover the expenses of extra paper work imposed by the new rules, whoever made them up, sellers needed to increase prices to pay for this extra work.
It is now a common thing to see traders in the EEC declaring that they will only trade with EEC countries, and will no longer export to the big world outside their club.
If they will export to the UK there is usually a minimum order between £125 --- £250.

This is not only the case in the EEC but a similar situation is created by UK retailers exporting to the EEC. Minimum orders and crazy handling charges.

The only chemical suppliers here I have found that stock Sodium metaborate are for bona fide business customers only, apart
from a firm that sells a minimum order of 25 lb sacks.

Silver print do stock Sodium metaborate at about UK£40 per lb. plus postage etc.. This is a crazy price when compared to Still Photographic who recently sold me 1lb of the stuff for about £20.

The EEC are well known for banning substances for whatever reason is popular at the time.
So we had to put up with EEC bans on certain chemicals, plus our own governments bans and restrictions.
A double whammy for us.

The available materials lists for private individual photographers here slowly dwindled smaller and smaller, and I cannot see it getting any better.



Way off my original topic, but I hope there is a better understanding of our difficulties in obtaining some of the more obscure chemicals for our hobby here in the UK.

Thank you for your interest.

Thanks for that, I didn't know it was that bad. Acid throwing, sheeh! Unfortunate how some bad apples ruin things for everyone else. Petrol can be used to make Molatov cocktails. Maybe they will decide it has to be banned as well. Sorry about the difficulties. Hats off to you for persevering in spite of them.

Maybe Caffenol is the answer ultimately. If they ban the sale of vitamin C there is still hope--one can make Beerenol. There's no way they are going to ban beer in the UK is there?
 
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john_s

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You can make Ilford Hypam neutral or alkaline with ammonia solution (30%, sometimes called ammonium hydroxide). If you adjust the concentrate, it will precipitate, but the precipitate will dissolve on normal dilution (1+4). Or add the ammonia to diluted Hypam to avoid the precipitation. I remember reading that one of the alkaline TF fixers needed to be shaken before dilution presumably for the same reason.
 

pentaxuser

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Sodium hydroxide and borax are both available from the local hardware store, even in my small town. That’s a help.

I think that bobUK is based in the U.K. and was describing the situation and difficulties of obtaining chemicals that are needed for photographic processing in the U.K.

You seem to be based in the U.S. so I am not sure how your statement is a help to the OP or were you only saying that in your small town in the southeastern U.S. the local hardware store has borax and sodium hydroxide and that a help to presumably local citizens and even U.S residents in the whole of the U.S.?

pentaxuser
 

bluechromis

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I think that bobUK is based in the U.K. and was describing the situation and difficulties of obtaining chemicals that are needed for photographic processing in the U.K.

You seem to be based in the U.S. so I am not sure how your statement is a help to the OP or were you only saying that in your small town in the southeastern U.S. the local hardware store has borax and sodium hydroxide and that a help to presumably local citizens and even U.S residents in the whole of the U.S.?

pentaxuser

Perhaps my comment was too far off topic. Perhaps it should have been posted in a separate thread. I did say that my comment was not directed to the OP's specific situation. I did acknowledge that he already had a solution. I did know he was from the UK. I was certainly not wanting to say, "It's easy for me to get stuff in the U.S. What's your problem?" Although I did not realize how tough it was in UK, I do know that in other areas can be very difficult.

HIs challenges seemed to raise the larger question about issues for home-mixers in obtaining materials. This is worldwide concern. I realize that there are huge differences in access to materials in different areas. But there are commonalities. Even in the US we face increasing restrictions. On the plus side in all areas there are possibilities of creatively sourcing materials. In the other forum I mentioned that did the poll, the members felt it was beneficial to look at the problem in the big picture and see common challenges and collaborate on solutions. There were, for examples, suggestions from a member from a country with very different conditions that wound up being helpful to someone in another country.

As bad as it is in many areas, I have seen people holding assumptions that it was worse than it was and I have seen them them give up without trying. From the information I have heard, in many areas it is not a black and white thing of you can get anything you want or you can't get anything. Often it was more nuanced with some materials available and others not. I think it is unfortunate if people are being overly discouraged based on a lack of information. The example of OP's resourcefulness in getting materials is an antidote to that discouragement. My intent was to try to think about the situation in a larger way. It solutions can be found there is the possibility they could float everyone's boats including the OP's.
 

Alan Johnson

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This one is not quite as alkaline but avoids the need for metaborate.
 
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