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David Ruby

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A couple nights ago, while printing a few landscape shots, I succumbed to the tempation in my paper drawer and printed a couple tests on some old Kodak Polyfiber that a friend gave me.

Needless to say, this was my first attempt with fiber paper. To be honest, I haven't even seen it before this.

I have to say it's pretty cool stuff, and a lot different than the RC paper I typically use. I can't believe how thin it is. Anyway.....I was wondering, by the looks of this box of paper, it is quite old and who knows what it's been through. Being lazy, and just wanting to experiment a bit, I used the settings that I had determined for a good print on RC. The first print came out very very light. I tried again and doubled it. This one came out pretty good actually. I don't know the cause, but the paper must have been fogged or been exposed to heat because the edges are a bit stained/fogged. The affect is pretty cool to be honest. The prints look like I dug them up in an Indiana Jones adventure or something. Does anyone have any thoughts on what would cause that fog look? And, my prints curled like crazy when I hung them up. Now they are pretty brittle feeling. Can I rescue them, and/or what is a better way to dry them if I try it again? Thanks.
 
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Well, fiber curls no matter what. Although wash out tape can fix that (but be prepared to loose a border around the whole image when you cut it out).

As to the other stuff....

Probably an age issue.
 

MikeK

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Some paper is more prone to fogging than others. I have some Agfa Record Rapid, long since discontinued that I bought in 1982 :sad: that prints just fine, whereas I have some old Kodak and Sterling paper that shows a high level of fog and that paper is about 5 years old.

You can try to keep the fog at bay by adding some potassium bromide to the print developer. Make a solution of 2 grams of bromide mixed with a liter of water. Make a test print, if fogged add a couple of cc's and try again, keep going until hopefully you get a fog free print. There is no guarantee this will work and really will depend on the paper, its age and how it has been stored. But maybe worth a try.

- Mike
 

Annemarieke

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David,
I use mostly fiber paper, because I love it so much and there is a lot more tone between white and black than in RC paper. I use RC paper only to proof print.

For drying I use sheets of glass on which I tape the fiber prints with 'water colour tape' (paper tape that sticks when wet). I leave an extra wide white border in order to be able to stick them down with the tape (overlap of about 2 cm).

However, I don't stick the prints down immediately, but wait approximately half an hour after I have smoothed the prints down on the glass plate with a shammy. This is to avoid that the paper rips the tape (fiber paper is stronger than tape, and also shrinks whilst drying), and curling like h***!

Good luck!
Anne Marieke
 

lee

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Annemarieke,
This seems like your method for drying takes a lot of work. Plus, space. How many prints do you keep from a printing session? I went to the home store and bought 6 window screens (already made) and I now can dry my prints after I squeegee them on a glass and I lay them down face down and don't touch them until they are dry. I can do 6 8x10's on each screen. I cannot imagine having 60 8x10's but I can get 5 11x14's on each screen is good. I made a rack for the screens to sit under my sink and out of the way.

lee\c
 

Annemarieke

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Lee, you are right about my method being a lot of work, but the prints are totally flat.

I normally don't keep more than 6 fiber prints from one session, and I can stick two prints (254x30cm) onto one large sheet of glass, so it is not too bad!

I have heard about the method with window screens, but have never tried it.

Anne Marieke
 
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I do it when I work with things like papyrus. It really does. And in light of a hot press, it can be pretty useful.
 

ann

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We built a rack for our lab that contains pre-made window screens. Each sceen will hold 8 8 X 10"s. And there are 12 screens. Every two years, I remove the old fiberglass and replace with new. Works great. When moving prints around I always feel like I am baking pizza.
 
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David Ruby

David Ruby

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I have a feeling I won't be doing a lot of fiber prints for awhile anyway. At my level, there just isn't enough difference to outweight the work involved.

One the prints dry with curl in them, is there any way to flatten them out. I put these two tests into a fat book today to see if that helps at all.

Are most (or all) prints that you see in galleries etc. on fiber? Does it tone better than RC paper? THanks.
 

Ed Sukach

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Mentioning "window screens" has reminded me of a set-up I saw somewhere in the past ... that I was going to try, but forgot.

This consisted of modifying a regular pull-down window shade (with the spring-loaded center reel) by chopping off most of the shade material and fastening plastic (nylon?) window screen material to the cut end. This was mounted on the wall, and for use was pulled out over a bench, and the free end attached to a strategically placed hook. After use, the screen was unhooked, and, with a slight pull, retracted out of the way.

I've got to make one of these.
 

ann

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"At my level, there just isn't enough difference to outweight the work involved. "


There really isn't much difference in the work. A bit longer in the developer, wash times are of course different but since you indicate you do like the difference perhaps it would be worth it.

Of course I grew up using fiber and so it second nature for me. In fact I still only use graded fiber. We do recommend RC for beginning students but most of the intermediate and advance people move quickly to fiber.

With regard to your question about galleries etc. and RC prints. I am not aware of any galleries that would encourage and even show RC prints. Not in the end of the world, anyway.

Toning can be different. The shades of the toners will vary with the type of paper and developer used. IMHO fiber does everything better. But then I am an old traditionist.

Just place the prints under something heavy and leave them until you get around taking the next step. I just stick my under a dry mount press for ??? sometimes weeks. But then not every one has that option. Haven't tried ironing yet, but why not. Drymounting is also an "ironing method" (in a manner of speaking), In fact when I was a kid we did dry mount prints (small ) using an iron .

Ed; I saw that method for drying somewhere ages ago. Reminds me of any old fashion roll up blotter book.
 

ann

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Not in the end of the world, anyway. This should read Not at the end of this world , anyway.
DIdn't mean to sound like gloom and doom. Just a simple typo.
 

jtsatterlee

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David-

I have to agree with Ann, fiber does everything better - except dry faster and flat.

I dry mine emulsion side up on some small fiberglass window screens I bought at the hardware store. Depending on the humidity it takes a full day to two full days to dry (two days during the hot and steamy Atlanta summer)

When I am done I stick them in a cold dry mount press until I need them again, or under some really heavy books. (the only useful thing I have found for my college text books)

Also, you mentioned that the paper seemed thinner than RC. Perhaps you got 'single weight' paper, most fiber paper is 'double weight' and is as thick as or thicker than RC. 'Single weight' curls really, really bad, double weight doesn't.

John
 

photomc

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I'll vote for fiber doing everything better. Do alot of initial work prints in RC, then it is off to fiber for the finished product. To me there is just nothing quite as nice as a fiber print - but as was stated earlier, it is what I am used to. By the way, I hang mine from one end and let them drip-dry. Takes about a day and yes they do curl, but a quick pass in the old heat press and they have lost most of the curl. After a couple of days they are as flat a the RC.

I've noticed that RC seems thicker, but I think it is due to the plastic coating giving it a thicker feel.
 

michael9793

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Fred Picker once said. RC is for the hobbist and as long as we support it there is a good chance we will loose fiber paper.
When I went to the only Photographic store in my town about geting fiber paper, they said," no one uses fiber paper anymore. scary isn't it.
It isn't as archival as fiber either.
 
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David Ruby

David Ruby

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Yes, this box does say single weight. Why would one use single weight if it curls etc. so much easier?

So, when I end up doing more fiber, what print washer would you recommend? Prefferrably something I can find used on ebay or somewhere?
 

blansky

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David:

As you do more printing you will I'm sure, gravitate to fiber almost exclusively. Go buy a 8x10 packet of Ilford MG FB Glossy, and a packet of IlfordMG FB Glossy warmtone. Try toning the warmtone and see the effects that are available. I think you will get hooked on it.

As for a print washer, figure out what size prints that you think you will like to make in the future. Plan ahead on this because you will be disappointed if you get one that is too small. I use a Calumet, others here use ZoneVI as well as many others. www.fineartphotography.com has info on their site on kits to make your own. Check the archives and people here have described other ways to make your own.

Bottom line - try more fiber. By the way, glossy fiber is like pearl RC so I would recommend glossy.

Michael McBlane
 

Donald Miller

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David Ruby said:
Yes, this box does say single weight. Why would one use single weight if it curls etc. so much easier?

Some papers such as Azo are only made in single weight. I don't know that single weight curls anymore then double weight papers at least in my experience. The Classic Polywarmtone paper sold by JandC Photo (site sponsor) is a triple weight paper.

I would also strongly second what others have said about using fiber paper
for their fine work.


So, when I end up doing more fiber, what print washer would you recommend? Prefferrably something I can find used on ebay or somewhere?

I like the washers that are patterned after the Zone VI design. I bought my last washer used on Ebay. I built my first washer by patterning it on the Zone VI design. It is still in use today.
 

Alex Hawley

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I'll add another vote for using fiber paper. The results ar clearly supperior to RC. In the past, I've used RC paper to proof with for economy purposes. Most of the proofs go in the trash anyway. Once I get a print fine-tuned, then I'll switch to FB. Any further adjustments are very small as long as you use the same type of paper.
 

lee

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fiber paper in my darkroom when dried does not seem to curl much. Maybe it is humidity. I don't have a humidity meter. I would think that in cold dry climes the paper would tend to curl more. A dry mount press is important none the less. One thing I find important when finishing the wash process is I take all the prints that day and one at a time I squeegee front and back on a heavy piece of glass then I lay the prints face down on the fiberglass screening. Then I don't fool with them until dry. I generally try to do that when I am done for the day or session so the temptation is gone when I am not there. There is a slight curl towards the emulsion when dry. At least that is how it is in my darkroom.

lee\c
 
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David Ruby

David Ruby

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Some of my issues are probably a result of this paper being quite old. Alex answered my next question, which was about the difference in exposures needed bewtween Polymax Rc and Polyfiber for example. As I mentioned, in my test I simply gave this old fiber the same exposure that I found correct for the RC, but it was way way too light. Thanks for the discussion all. Very interesting.
 

lee

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this is not suprising. Run a test strip and see what the exposure really is. I know people that keep copious notes on f stops and time and dilutions and temp and enlarger heights for print processing. That is not me. I make a new test print on each neg in the session. Takes a little time but I get to the matter just the same.

lee\c
 

blansky

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Lee, I'm surprised you don't keep notes.

I keep date, exposure#, paper, size, developer, dilution, magenta(color enlarger), fstop, time, height, soft time, brightness,hardtime(Zone VI cold light head) toner, dilution, toner time, bleach time, as well as boxes to illustrate burn and dodge times

I find that the next day if I didn't like the final print or months later, I could get exactly the same or very close. It sure takes less time than starting over from the beginning.

I wonder what everyone else does.

Michael McBlane
 
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