Cyanotype Toning.

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Does anyone on this site doing cyanotype toning have experience with this method as the group on "Flickr" is a closed one dripping info to make your tongue hang out. It was active some years ago but seems to be dormant just now.
Ned if you see this maybe you have figured it out.
"Nusol" what is it that gives the neatral black tone?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/schyter/8641358548/in/album-72157633125803604/

https://www.ebay.it/p/Serenoa-Capsule-Erbamea-Monoconcentrato/1456734115
https://www.ebay.it/i/222540143159?chn=ps
 

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The nusol is his magic potion developer. I can’t remember what it is...some weird Italian bean. Lol
He might tone it in that too? That’s what it seems. People tone in coffee so it makes sense?Idk he says after his vinegar and wash it is deep blue with no loss of color
So maybe it is scanning in greyscale ? Maybe he also does the hokey Pokey ( and singing it in Italian is the toneybit) I’m guessing Ned knows the real deal :smile:
 
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jim10219

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No, but it does look interesting. The closest I've been able to get to black is coffee. I'll have to give this a try one day. I'm not looking forward to a development of citric acid in 5 bathrooms though! I only have two in my house!

The picture on the file you have linked looks like Saw Palmetto berries. You can buy that in powdered form, so that might be worth a shot. It's not crazy expensive.
 

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I've got a bottle of J-Nùsol FM sitting in my garage, and have been thinking of trying to tone a cyanotype with it but haven't tried it yet.

It's a very strong 'tea" made mostly from fresh green walnut husks with a few walnut tree leaves thrown in. Walnut husks are full of tannins. Luigi ( and I ) made it from black walnuts ( which grow wild here in Northern California ) rather than English walnuts ( the kind grown commercially for the nuts ) but I doubt it would matter. I made mine by simmering a large amount of fresh husks which had been broken up with a hammer inside a ziplock plastic bag ( to avoid getting the juice on skin or clothes ). Added some leaves and simmered on a camp stove for a few hours, in an old stainless steel pot that I don't use for food. Filtered several times through coffee filters and then bottled. ( The "FM" in the name means it includes leaves, not just husks )

I was interested in trying it for developing paper negatives, which it does if you add some alkali, but I never got it to work without staining the paper base. The stain on the base was effective at blocking UV, so it defeated the purpose if you want to use the negatives for contact printing.

Last weekend I gathered some chestnut husks, because I want to try making a tea of those for cyanotype toning... I guess that's a similar idea. Because I'm making prints of chestnut leaves right now :smile:

Somewhat funny story. I think of myself as being careful with silver nitrate and other chemicals I handle. I've never had more than a tiny droplet sized silver nitrate stain on my wrist or forearm ( and the fact that those happen should be a strong hint that it's a good idea to wear eye protection when using it! ). Summer before last, all of a sudden there were stains on my thumb and the tips of a couple fingers -- they lasted for weeks. I didn't care, but was mad at myself for being careless... and I couldn't think of any way they could have happened. Eventually I realized they were from tannic acid, which I didn't know could stain your skin.... I'd filtered some preservative solution that has tannic acid, and tossed the filters in the waste basket. Later when I moved the waste basket, my fingers touched the wet filter paper and I didn't think anything of it at the time.... the stains on my skin appeared later!
 
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Thanks so far chaps for chipping in!
The print I linked to shows the paper as untouched by staining which isn't the case when I tone with tea, coffee, tannic acid or tannin for red wine from chestnuts.
I think scanning in greyscale and claiming that is the result from toning would really be disgusting.
 

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Black walnuts! Thanks for the tip! I'll have to give that a try! I've been wanting to try other things, such as acorns, but never got around to it. I've had some interesting results with various types of commercial teas though. I made some really cool duo toned prints using peach flavored green tea.

I learned my glove lesson a few years back when working with gum bichromates. I had been pretty careless up until that point, because the worst I had ever experienced was some staining on my hands, which having worked in various types of print shops over the years, didn't bother me. That potassium dichromate ate up my fingers pretty bad, and ever since then, I've been a big glove proponent. I still don't like using tongs though.
 

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It's a very strong 'tea" made mostly from fresh green walnut husks with a few walnut tree leaves thrown in.

yeah, that's it big italian beans :smile:
really stainy ! :smile:
my wife uses some weird walnut stain to paint pottery
thanks ned !
john
 
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NedL

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I'm totally new at cyanotypes and toning them, but the one I've tried is "earl grey green tea" and it didn't stain the paper much at all, even after an hour or more. ( I read somewhere that you shouldn't use earl grey tea for toning, so of course when I saw earl grey green tea in our cupboard it was the first one I tried... ) It's not black or neutral though... more of a purpley brown.

Now this thread has given me a wild idea and maybe I'll try it first before I write about it so you guys don't think I'm crazier than you already think..... but most leaves contain tannin, and cyanotypes can be toned with tannin, and we've all seen sidewalks "painted" with leaf shapes when we sweep off the wet leaves, and so .... we'll see!
 
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jim10219

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I'm totally new at cyanotypes and toning them, but the one I've tried is "earl grey green tea" and it didn't stain the paper much at all, even after an hour or more. ( I read somewhere that you shouldn't use earl grey tea for toning, so of course when I saw earl grey green tea in our cupboard it was the first one I tried... ) It's not black or neutral though... more of a purpley brown.

Now this thread has given me a wild idea and maybe I'll try it first before I write about it so you guys don't think I'm crazier than you already think..... but most leaves contain tannin, and cyanotypes can be toned with tannin, and we've all seen sidewalks "painted" with leaf shapes when we sweep off the wet leaves, and so .... we'll see!
Many unrippened fruits and tree barks also contain lots of tannins. Persimmons are especially high. Oak trees are the original tannic acid used in tanning leather and oak barrels provide the majority of the tannic acid found in wine.

I've found that the colder the "tea" is, the less it stains the paper. Of course, the warmer it is, the quicker it tones. If you're ever having staining issues, try cooling it down.

It's also fun to experiment with different bleaches. TSP is especially good for duo tones, but you have to be careful with it. It eats the image really quickly. Washing soda is a lot slower and more even. Borax is in the middle. Lots of household cleaners will work, including things like Formula 409.
 
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So Ned it looks like you hold the key "sitting in the garage". Would love if you could post the result once you try it out.
I don't find the product that I linked to called "J-Nusol FM" in that list.
So It seems to be only home made soup of some sort & as you point to Walnuts of a certain category.
 

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So Ned it looks like you hold the key "sitting in the garage". Would love if you could post the result once you try it out.
I'll try to get to it soon, maybe even today. Sounds like the main things to determine are: 1. does it make neutral black, and 2. does it stain the paper.
Yes, it's a homemade concoction. "noce" is walnut and "nuce" is nutshell in Italian.
 

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I've coated a paper and will try to print a paper negative for a test this afternoon.

Here's an article about walnut ink.
There seems to be some muddle, with some people using "Black walnut" and "English walnut" interchangeably.

The husks I used were from the Northern California Black Walnut, Juglans hindsii.
Another black walnut is native to the Eastern US, the Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra.
And the English walnut, probably used to make ink by Leonardo Da Vinci and Rembrandt, and to stain the hands of criminals in ancient times, is Juglans regia
 
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Bravo Ned and thanks for the info, look forward to see what you manage!
Can't figure from this "noce" is walnut and "nuce" is nutshell in Italian.
Where the J-Nusol FM gets it's name from...
 

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Well for a real answer we'd have to hear from Luigi -- he is a photrio member, but I don't think he's been around for a while.

So... if "nuce" is nutshell, and many many developer names end with "sol", I think that gets us to "nusol". I think he said the "J" came from what his grandmother called the walnut tree when he was a child, and the "FM" probably is an abbreviation for whatever "with leaves" is in Italian! :smile: Just guessing!

I was surprised how good the print looked as a straight cyanotype... thought the paper negative might be too contrasty, but it looked very good. Glad you got me to try this -- now I know that my normal paper negatives can work! It took about 3 hours in the sun to print.

After washing ( w/ a little citric acid in the wash water ) and oxidizing with a little hydrogen peroxide, I bleached the print in weak sodium carbonate until there were no darks left. Then I diluted 1 part nusol with 6 parts water ( I was afraid it would tone too fast and stain the paper ). It looks like extremely strong tea, and has no odor. Then when I saw that it wasn't toning as fast as I was afraid of, I added a little more nusol, so now it is probably about 1 part nusol to 4 parts water. After about 12 minutes, I poured off the nusol and washed it to have a closer look.... it's toning about as fast as green tea and no obvious staining of the paper yet. So I put the nusol back in and I'm going to let it go for at least 30 more minutes, maybe longer depending on how it looks. I don't know what it's going to do when it dries down, so I don't have any clue about when to stop! It is a pretty neutral grey right now. I think I should try to get it pretty dark before I wash and dry it.

I'll let it dry overnight and then scan and upload... I'll be out of town tomorrow so it will probably be Sunday when I get to it, but maybe tomorrow night.

Cheers!
 
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J probably stands for "Juglands" so clearly walnut.
Can't wait to see the print Ned.
 

NedL

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Sorry to report, so far it looks like you will be disappointed. So far the results seem to be similar to tea-toning.
But my test was not fair and needs to be done again, I've coated another sheet this morning and will try again.

Notes:
I left it in the toner for about an hour, and the tone did increase a little, but not very much after the first 12 minutes, and the paper did stain a lot more after that.
I've noticed green tea does not have very much capacity and this behaved similarly... so this was an unfair test of nusol.
It's possible it will work much better, with less staining, if I use a stronger solution and don't let it sit in the toner for so long.
For today's test I'll overprint a little more and then use the nusol full strength. And I'll extend the washing before bleaching.

The print did not change much during dry-down, but it's very interesting that the stain around the border, where there was cyanotype coating under the rubylith mask, became visible during drying. I thought I washed it long enough before toning, it appeared perfectly white, but obviously there was something around the border left to tone. I'll extend the wash on today's test.

The color looks very similar to toning in green tea, a kind of pinkish or purplish gray... my scan below shows too much brown. The fact that the color is so similar makes me think that is the color of this kind of ferric tannate and it's not likely to become more neutral, but we'll see!

Notes about the scan:
  • I'm not very good at getting colors right on a scan. It's less brown and more gray, but not neutral at all.
  • The contrast in the print is worse than the scan suggests... the blue print had nice "pop" and contrast, it looked really nice. The foreground was not muddy, I was impressed! The toned print is flat and weak looking. I decreased the contrast of the digital image to try to match the print, but the print really looks much worse than this scan.
  • The scan exaggerates the paper stain... it's not as bad as it looks and is actually a nice warm color. But it's not paper white at all!
pinhole paper negative and rubylith mask:
nusoltestneg.jpg


scan of dried print:
nusoltest0001.jpg


One last note, not related to cyanotypes. When I used nusol to develop paper negatives a few years ago, the stain was much more extreme... a sort of orange-yellow tan color in all the places the negative should have been white. It did not stain the paper used here ( canson marker ) anywhere near as much. I think this probably means that either the nusol stains gelatin, or that it reacts with unexposed silver bromide. If it stains gelatin, then gelatin-sized paper might stain a lot more than what I'm showing here.
 
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Herzeleid

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The reaction between tannic or tanno-gallic acids and ferrous iron to make ink or wood stain is well established. I tried the ink and the wood stain with different iron salts, tea, tannic acid and coffee.
The ink looks black with purple undertones very much like a toned cyanotype, wood stain is also cold colored somewhat greenish (probably due to warm color of wood).

I never expect to get a black from cyanotype, it might be dark and deep but I don't expect it to be a black of a carbon print. I am quite curious what is in that magic developer soup. Lack of paper stain is heartening.

The print did not change much during dry-down, but it's very interesting that the stain around the border, where there was cyanotype coating under the rubylith mask, became visible during drying. I thought I washed it long enough before toning, it appeared perfectly white, but obviously there was something around the border left to tone. I'll extend the wash on today's test.

Hi Ned,
That is my experience too when toning cyanotypes. Masked edges become apparent after toning. Longer washes or acidic washes didn't changed that. I don't exactly know what it is, may be residual iron is left which would be quite a big problem. May be it is an intermediate form like prussian white, it is definitely hydrolysed in alkaline condition and then it is toned to produce some iron-tannin salt (Dr. Mike Ware would be the one to know it. ).
I am quite conservative in the color of cyanotypes so I don't tone them for my personal work but I occasionally show toning in workshops and demos.

Regards
 

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Thanks Serdar!
I would think that it might be possible to get a colder blue-black color with iron+gall or iron+walnut, but maybe not starting with prussian white.
Off to go put today's test out into the sun :smile:
 
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Well Ned Thanks for the effort! I wait and see what you might get on improvement. Nice Neg from the camera!
Use the edge of your neg laid next to the result of the print while scanning and you can neutralise the Hlt. Mt. Sh.
With the scan software which will bring your print in line to correct colour mainly for the paper and general tone colour.

I made a small test after I bought a small bottle of "Juglands Regia" (all I could find in the local bio shop).
It is an extract in alcohol and so I took a small amount 50drops in 20ml water and did some toning on a bleached print and an unbleached print.
As this was rather slow I dumped in a bit of Tannin from chestnuts for red wine and a small amount of walnut stain that I have used as a pigment for gumprints and that gave it a push.
The bleached print (Left Strip) came up like a dark sepia brown almost like a Vandyke brown but lots of paper discolouration (too much I'm sad to say).
The unbleached (Right Strip) gave the same paper discolouration but the blues went a very dark coldish black but closer to neutral than I have yet had.The paper staining makes it difficult to judge the black.

MetroCyano.jpg
 

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I have some prints from 6-7 years ago toned with various concentrations of tannic acid, which had slight to moderate yellow tannin stain. Today they look orange-brown in paper base. In years the paper stain gets worse. These prints are in kept in separate plastic sleeves, they stain other prints if they stay in contact.
One more reason why I am very conservative with the blue color of cyanotypes.
 

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The nusol is his magic potion developer. I can’t remember what it is...some weird Italian bean. Lol
He might tone it in that too? That’s what it seems. People tone in coffee so it makes sense?Idk he says after his vinegar and wash it is deep blue with no loss of color
So maybe it is scanning in greyscale ? Maybe he also does the hokey Pokey ( and singing it in Italian is the toneybit) I’m guessing Ned knows the real deal :smile:
I think it's Saw Palmetto
 

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Well Ned Thanks for the effort!
I made a small test after I bought a small bottle of "Juglands Regia" (all I could find in the local bio shop).

Your extract might be even more concentrated than mine! Nice print :smile:

The second one is drying now. It was mostly similar to the 1st one, but with full-strength nusol it toned faster, and I think I got deeper toning and better contrast. That could be just as much from exposing the print a little longer ( 4 instead of 3 hours ) as from the stronger toner solution. But it has the same pink-grey color, and the paper stained faster in the stronger nusol. I tried: bleach then 5 minutes toning, then bleach again, then 5 more minutes toning. In the end the paper is stained about the same as it was with an hour in the more diluted toner. I think the print will probably look better than the one I made yesterday, but it's not going to be black or cold toned.

I'll try that idea of setting the white, mid and black points during the scan tomorrow. Thanks for the tip!
I enjoyed making these prints and as always I learned something.

Have fun!

I think it's Saw Palmetto
Steeped in San Pellegrino to tone our palm tree photos, which we can enjoy making and viewing on a tropical beach!
 

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I put white, black and neutral grey cards into the scanner, used them with the "droppers", then removed them and made the scan. On my laptop this looks pretty close to the right color.
I knew there were coating defects at the bottom but went ahead with it since it is just a test.
I washed this for a long time before bleaching it... about 45 minutes in many changes of water w/ a little CA.
I think Serdar is right that the stain might be unavoidable... probably best to coat the whole visible margin, so at least it will all be the same stained color!

cyantone0002.jpg


Here's a different idea:

From "The Photographic Journal of America, Vol 52" 1915, page 544:
Screenshot from 2018-12-31 11-39-48.jpg
 
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Ned so what I see is that the image has more punch & alongside paper discolouration increase too.
The result is still not very black or at least not neutral. This then might not be the right direction sadly.
Interesting that gallic acid is used in the 1915 PJA. Maybe Gallnut tannin could also be an option for toning.
Here some info on ink making:
https://travelingscriptorium.library.yale.edu/2013/03/21/iron-gall-ink/
https://giltmanuscript.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/ink-making-day-1/

Lets hope Luigi or someone familiar turns up to chip in. Ned, thanks for your valued contribution.
I'm going to try some yerba mixed with the J. Regia. and will post if interesting though I am not so sure about paper stain.
 
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