Cleaning old print dryer

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djkloss

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Hi,
I recently inherited a very old drymount press (which works like a charm) and a print dryer which I haven't used yet. I bought some beinfang platen cleaner for the press and was wondering if I could use the same stuff for the chrome plate on the dryer. It's pretty old and dirty. I noticed that the platen cleaner is kind of waxey. I also heard about something called bon-ami.

I've been drying my fiber prints on a screen face up, then tried face down. Face down they don't curl as much, but I still need to put them in the drymount press briefly to flatten them out.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

thanks! (p.s...soooo love a site that is devoted to *analog* photography!)

Dorothy
shutterbug@velocity.net
 

Adrian Twiss

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If the chrome plate on the dryer is old I suspect that the apron will be worse and very probably contaminated. What are you going to use this print dryer for. Test strips of final prints. I would suggest as well as cleaning the platen that you try to replace the apron. The biggest problem I think you will face is that if the chrome plate is tarnished then it will not effectively glaze prints no matter how clean it is . I would dispense with the plate and dry the prints face up after replacing the apron.
 
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djkloss

djkloss

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Hi Adrian,
I am in the process of replacing the apron now (making one out of linen). I wasn't planning on glazing, just drying (it was free so I thought I'd try it) - I'm assuming you place the print facing the apron (from what I've read). I was wondering if the beinfang platen cleaner would work. Also I have no clue how long or what temperature. There is no manufacture's label & no instructions. - trial & error?
Thanks!
Dorothy
 

rbarker

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Being as you're not planning on ferrotyping glossy prints on the platten, you should be OK trying the platten cleaner you have. Alternatively, you could probably find a good chrome polish at an automotive store, that might do a better job. Just clean the platten well afterward. I'd also suggest inspecting it closely with a magnifier after polishing, looking for rust pits. If it is pitted, you may need to have it re-chromed to avoid contaminating your prints.
 

John Cook

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Dorothy,

The most common way to use these is with DW glossy fiber paper dried face up (against the apron) for a semi-gloss finish.

The dryer surface need not be super spotless unless you plan to ferrotype SW prints (which you are not). Bon Ami is a grit-free powdered cleaner available at your local supermarket, next to the Ajax and Comet. Their logo is a baby chick, with the slogan, "Hasn't scratched yet".

The major trick to these dryers is to get the print as EVENLY dry as possible before placing it on the surface. Squeegeeing is not enough. Also wipe front and back with a clean "motel-type" towel.

Prints stretch when wet and shrink as they dry. Wet fingerprints or water droplets will dry more slowly than the rest of the print, causing ripples and dimples.

Also, be very fussy with the amount of fixer hardener and fixing time you use. Over-doing these will over-harden the fiber prints, making them brittle. In extreme cases, this may cause emulsion crazing, as on old pottery. Too little fix will leave the print emulsion surface soft enough to stick to the apron, leaving a flocked surface.
 

paul ron

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Wash the old apron

I have an old drum print dryer that I kept stored for nearly 25 years. When I resurected it I just removed the apron adn washed it in the laundry. DOn't dry it with the clothes, do it on the print dryer while damp.

The platten was badly tarnished so I used silver cleaner, the pink paste used on jewlery and a clean cotton cloth. It not only removed the tarnish but also polished the plate to a mirror shine with out a single scratch.

Good luck.
 
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