Does paper expire?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by BetterSense, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I've heard about film becoming fogged and that you should store it in the fridge if you want to preserve it. I just bought a bunch of Ilford paper that is probably decades old. Does paper ever go bad?
     
  2. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Oh yes. Same forces at work on paper. Depending on how the paper is stored it could run from slightly fogged and a bit flat to completely fogged and worthless.
     
  3. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    'Fraid so. The first test you want to give it is to take a sheet and just develop and fix it without any exposure. Straight from the box into the developer. If the emulsion side tone is any darker than the back then the paper is fogged - not necessarily by light but by heat, age, cosmic rays etc. It's probabl;y not a lot of use. If there is no fogging then you can print with it.

    Paper generally loses speed and contrasty with age. But - if it's not fogged - the very least you can use it for is contacts and proofs.

    Hope this helps.

    Bob H
     
  4. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Even if the paper has some age fog, it can be rescued if the fog is not too bad by adding benzotriazole to the developer. You have to do this in increments, as you don't want any more benzotriazole in the developer than absolutely necessary to supress the fog.
     
  5. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    If it happens to be worthless as its intended purpose, that is silver prints, you may be able to use it for an alternative photo process. You would fix it without development and then apply a suitable alternative process emulsion. Check the forum here on APUG.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    To add to Phototone's recommendation, you usually also want to decrease the development time for age fogged paper, typically to 30 sec. or less, and increase exposure time to compensate. I have some Haloid Industro from around 1956 that gets this treatment, and it's kind of like having Azo Gr. 1.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Yeah, it's Ilford Multigrade IV paper, glossy. I guess I'll give it a shot after I move this weekend.

    By the way, is it ok to cut RC paper into smaller pieces? I never really thought about it but I just got this book and it says not to leave RC paper in water very long (guilty of that as well) because water can seep in the edges. Using pieces would seem to exaggerate this effect.
     
  8. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    It's already cut into tiny pieces compared to the roll coming off the production line. :smile:
     
  9. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    My experience is that it is worse than film for going bad with age. It really probably isn't, but it becomes useless more easily and decidedly.
     
  10. Marcus K

    Marcus K Member

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    Yes, paper does expire. If developed normally, you probably will get a fair amount of base fog. However, the good news is that there are ways to salvage vintage paper. The easiest way is to add a 1% solution of Benzotriazole (or PF TAF-1, Edwal liquid Orthozite). I personally use Ansco 130 1:1 with about 175ml of TAF-1. I have used this developer to print on Ansco Indiatone paper (expired 1944) and Kodak Illustrator's Special (expired 1954) without any fog! I recently bought some Kodak Velox (expired 1919!) that I hope to try out this weekend. As mentioned above, you should keep the developing times as short as possible. I usually start off with 1 minute when I'm working with vintage paper. Exposure times are usually long (due to age and short developing times). By the way, what type of Ilford papers do you have?

    Also, here's a link to an excellent discussion as well as some examples of vintage paper: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/47681-old-paper-again.html#post593689
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Member

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    It sure does. Buying old paper, or storing it for a long time is usually a bit of a crap shoot.
    I have found, however, two solutions to this, one of them via APUG member RLibersky.
    1. Defender 58-D print developer. You have to get the ingredients yourself and mix them. But this thing suppresses fog and gives a pretty nice print on very old and expired paper. Libersky regularly prints on papers that expired in the 1950s and earlier.
    2. Lith printing. Some of the older papers do well in lith printing, and since you overexpose the print by a factor of 4 to 10, the fog plays less of a role in the finished print. I was gifted a stash of 1980s Agfa Portriga Rapid that fogs up helplessly in Ansco 130, Ilford Multigrade, and Amidol. But it works very well with lith chemistry.

    I think it was Ilford and Simon Galley that latest talked about paper aging on APUG, and the number of 5 years for some reason wants to make itself heard here, but don't hold me to it.
    I think the decline of the paper qualities is gradual, so it gets gradually worse, but for a certain time period it will stay within specification. I think it's best to use the paper fresh if you can.
    With that said, many interesting effects can be had with old paper, but it's usually not repeatable.

    Good luck.