Emulsion flaking off fiber paper while processing

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brandonjscott

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During processing of fiber paper, I'm having a problem with the emulsion flaking off the edges. I think it is happening while sitting in the holding bath waiting for the second fixing bath, toning, etc. It's happening with Ilford and Foma paper, and it happens regardless of using an acid or alkaline fix. Mainly, I notice it when I contact print large format negatives so the edge of the paper is black.

I'm wondering if the water in the holding bath is causing the issue (I use tap water), but I can't seem to find that anyone else has this problem. Any thoughts would be helpful.
IMG_1682 copy.jpg
Thank you.
 

jnk

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I was plagued by this problem, hundreds of sheets of Ilford paper.
you should contact their customer service department and send photos of the problem like like you posted.
when I did their response to me was confusion and then
"do not print to the edge and to trim off the flaked parts".

I know . bad response. I hope theirs to you is better.
 

logan2z

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How long are you leaving the paper in the holding bath? The only time I've ever had this happen with Ilford paper is when leaving prints in a water bath for several hours waiting to be washed. Once I stopped doing that my prints never flaked at the edges again.
 

Vaughn

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Ilford gave good advice. It is mechanical damage to the emulsion on the cut edge (can be made worse by a long soak).
Keep it white and one won't notice it.
 

Nicholas Lindan

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I remember seeing this occasionally over the years.

I had put it down to emulsion cracking when the factory cut down rolls of paper into individual sheets.

If the flaking is always on the same edge of the paper then I'd say it was more evidence of a problem at the factory. Ilford's advice to print with a white border or trim the print may be as good as it gets.
 

Vaughn

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Good point, Nicholas. Though in theory, the factory has to cut at least two sides, and usually three or four sides, off the main roll to make sheets.
It also might pose an issue if using a dull cutter at home.

When would an emulsion be at its most brittle state? Perhaps in the wash after some hardening of the emulsion (esp. if a hardening fix is used)?
 

jnk

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Ilford gave good advice. It is mechanical damage to the emulsion on the cut edge (can be made worse by a long soak).
Keep it white and one won't notice it.

I never printed full bleed, I was very careful times spent wet. all four edges had emulsion peel. I use RC paper now because of this, or I make my own photographic paper. I will not buy their paper again because they do not care how much money people pay for their product and it is faulty and their advice was callous. if people have trouble with their film will they say the same thing? the paper is 5x7, 8x10., 11x14 16x20 and 20x24 I would have hoped since I paid for the entire sheet the entire sheet would have been good as I expect the entire roll or sheet of paper to be good. I have never been to a restaurant and they told me not to eat the whole meal I paid for. maybe I should just be happy, at least they make paper and film, I'm not really that happy.
 

Vaughn

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So it goes.

It has been a decade since I was involved with silver printing, and my personal silver gelatin printing was with graded papers of Ilford and Agfa. Ilford sheet film has been and remains consistent and an excellent product.
 

jnk

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So it goes.

It has been a decade since I was involved with silver printing, and my personal silver gelatin printing was with graded papers of Ilford and Agfa. Ilford sheet film has been and remains consistent and an excellent product.

yesseriebob it goes
 

Don Heisz

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That doesn't look like it results from the emulsion being brittle. That looks like the edges swelled due to soaking too long, so swelling the paper and splitting and peeling the emulsion.
 

Vaughn

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It is not a bad idea to trim edges of a print...especially RC. Chemicals enter into the cut edges of the paper/emulsion and are difficult to wash out.

Decades ago talking with a few of Ansel's ex-assistants, they told a story of talking with a paper rep (might have been Ilford) about brighteners in paper and how they seem to be washing out. The rep seemed suprised, since, he said, usually photopaper is only in water for less than 20 minutes.😄
 

momus

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I have never been to a restaurant and they told me not to eat the whole meal I paid for.

That's a great analogy. No matter what Ilford suggested, it's still a work around and not a fix. It's almost like saying that if your fender gets dented on your car, well, you didn't need all of it anyway, so just cut it off.

I hope that the people who run Ilford never go into health care. Got a broken finger, hey, just cut it off. You've still got nine, what does that patient want anyway?

They must have learned these tricks from Kodak, what w/ their "interesting" D76 packaging that gave me developer that looked like dark root beer. Their solution for when I contacted them? Just use it as it is, of course, it's not their problem, it's mine.
 

logan2z

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That doesn't look like it results from the emulsion being brittle. That looks like the edges swelled due to soaking too long, so swelling the paper and splitting and peeling the emulsion.

Yup, that's why I asked in post #3 how long the OP was leaving the paper in the holding bath. But I don't think he's visited since starting the thread.
 

MattKing

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Extended soak times aren't ideal for any paper - particularly incompletely fixed paper. It sounds like the OP is using the paper in a way that is outside the recommendations of the manufacturer. So if it is a necessity that those extended times be employed, other compromises may need to be made.
Does the same thing happen if the print is fully fixed, a washaid is used, and then the print is properly washed, all as recommended?
If that prevents the problem, that is the solution to the problem.
To the OP - have you tried a brief wash after the first fixing bath, and then hanging the print to dry temporarily? That may prevent the damage, and shouldn't make it any more difficult to later wet the print again and precede with the second fixing bath later.
 

logan2z

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I hope it's ok to post this since it was sent to me in a private email from someone at Ilford, but there's nothing particularly private/sensitive in it and it might be useful information for anyone having a similar problem to the OP (as I was):

The issue you are seeing (we call it edge frilling) - is virtually always linked to the paper being washed for too long. FB papers are very fragile and we really only advise washing MGFB Classic for between 30-45 mins.
If its washed for a lot longer than that - as the paper gets very soft, it simply can lead to the emulsion lifting of along the paper edges. It can be triggered too - if the paper edges are in contact with other sheets in a washer (ie if a lot of paper is attempting to be washed in a small sink), or if water is running fast and the paper is swirling around a lot and hitting the side of the washing tank.

Our advice would definitely be to not leave paper to stand in water for anywhere near as long as you are doing. ie 5-6 hours would definitely soften the paper way more than its designed to cope with - especially as your final washing method in an archival washer, will tend to be fairly vigorous/long too.
Ideally we would advise that any prints made, simply go from the fixer tray straight into their final wash method container (ie your archival washer - or a sink) - so they are not having to stand in a waiting tray of water, as it really is likely the time in the waiting water tray, thats causing the problems.

I appreciate it might be difficult for you to do this, so can only suggest try to keep the waiting water tray time as short as possible, and maybe just stick to a max of 30 mins in the archival washer - instead of the hour you are currently giving. (Thats assuming it has quite a good water flow).
I hope you are now able to eliminate it happening - from the above comments.
 

AgX

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But frilling is yet anather artifact than emulsion flaking off, though as bad, as most likely after drying some degree of frilling or distortion will remain
 

logan2z

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But frilling is yet anather artifact than emulsion flaking off, though as bad, as most likely after drying some degree of frilling or distortion will remain

I might be misunderstanding you, but 'frilling' and edge flaking are the same thing. Ilford seems to use the term 'frilling' for what we've been calling flaking. Their response was to my question about flaking.
 

AgX

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My dictionary describes frilling as a strip or the edge of a sheet getting wavy perpendicular to its plane.
 

logan2z

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My dictionary describes frilling as a strip or the edge of a sheet getting wavy perpendicular to its plane.

Right, I don't know why Ilford uses this term, but they were responding to my question about flaking. See this part of their response:

...as the paper gets very soft, it simply can lead to the emulsion lifting off along the paper edges.
 

nmp

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Right, I don't know why Ilford uses this term, but they were responding to my question about flaking. See this part of their response:

...as the paper gets very soft, it simply can lead to the emulsion lifting off along the paper edges.

Frilling is caused because of mismatch that occurs due to excessive swelling/softening of one of the layers with the other layer being relatively rigid - the former being gelatin in this case.

Flaking is caused further as the paper dries and those frilled edges have created a source of cracks and de-laminated emulsion from the base which then comes off in flakes.

:Niranjan.
 

AgX

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A convincing explanation relating both phenomenon. Though the OP's sample shows no relicts of that frilling, which I expected.
 

Vaughn

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Frilling in carbon printing is when the transferred print partially lifts off the final support (usually a corner or edge). Interesting word.
 

Don Heisz

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My dictionary describes frilling as a strip or the edge of a sheet getting wavy perpendicular to its plane.

Which is what happens, due to excessive absorption of water at the edge of the paper - the paper adjacent to the edge doesn't absorb as much. So, at the edge, the paper has linearly expanded but is restrained by the field of paper, which has not, and so gets wavy. The emulsion, however, has not linearly expanded so releases from the surface of the paper.
 

pentaxuser

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Yup, that's why I asked in post #3 how long the OP was leaving the paper in the holding bath. But I don't think he's visited since starting the thread.

I wonder why he hasn't responded to your very pertinent question. He hasn't visited us for 3 days. There has to be some very good reason why he started the thread looking for answers and then hasn't visited to find those answers, surely?

Isn't it possible to do an archival wash after exposure under the enlarger of FB as per the Ilford instructions on the 5-10-5 basis of 5 min wash; 10 mins washaid and 5 mins wash so that's 20 mins plus if it suggests a total of 30-45 mins in water this allows for up to 25 mins in a holding bath or a bit longer as Ilford clearly indicates that this 45 mins is a conservative limit

If you need to store exposed paper, how about storing it dry in a paper safe or box? How long before the image fades?

pentaxuser
 

DREW WILEY

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Several potential causes : old or poorly stored paper, too strong a stop bath, temperature differential shock between unequal temp baths, maybe just sitting in some solution way too long, certainly too hot a temp, or physical abuse of the edges, like in a dull trimmer. But I've personally never had it happen with any paper, Ilford or otherwise.
 
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