Functionality Test for old FB paper

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mexipike

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I just received boxes and boxes of old fiber based paper. Some of it I'm sure is probably trash, there's some Kodak Polymax in there and some Agfa, which both must be really old. Of course if they've gone completely off I'll know after trying them right away. I also got a whole lot of Ilford MGIV which I'm not sure from when that may or not still be OK.

My understanding is that often times papers don't just have a sudden death type of expiration but rather a loss in contrast, blacks etc.

That said, is there any test that can be performed to determine wether or not the paper is performing at it's full functionality?

The obvious test that jumps to my mind is to buy the same paper which is current and compare, but I see two problems with that: 1) I'm cheap and don't want to buy any, 2) I know that companies change emulsions from time to time and would have a hard time telling if I was seeing differences in formula or in working functionality (maybe)

Any ideas?

Thanks
 

piu58

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Thats's quite simple - make a print. If the print has grey or yellowish borders the paper connot be used anymore. If the contrast is lesser than expected, try some things to increas contrast: Use with contrasiter negatives or for contact sheets, use more concentrated developer and longer developping times. If the paper is multigrade, use the adequate filtering.
 
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Use a step wedge, and compare to fresh paper.

If the old paper can't be used for regular printing, then it's a good idea to use them for lith printing. Many of the older papers are spectacular for this process. If you're not interested in it, then at least look into selling them on Fleabay. Lots of interest in expired stuff there. (Or just give it to me, and I'll make good use of it. :smile:)
 

Dr Croubie

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If you're worried about loss of blacks, that's easy. Snip a corner off, hold half firmly between your fingers walk outside with it in full light, throw in the dev and see how black the black gets, the bit between your fingers that got no light should show how much base fog there is.

Once you've verified that a certain paper makes decent enough whites and blacks, make a print and see what contrast you get out of it.
 

Tom1956

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I've learned if I get my hands on an old pack of Agfa paper--throw it out. Don't waste another minute of my life on it. (that's for me) GL
 
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I've learned if I get my hands on an old pack of Agfa paper--throw it out. Don't waste another minute of my life on it. (that's for me) GL

I have a few envelopes of Brovira and Record Rapid that are wonderful for lith printing. In fact, even fogged to oblivion in regular developer, they are still amazing in this process.

There are also those who do carbon printing and could use fixed out silver gelatin paper as substrate for their tissue.
Lots of uses for old paper.
 

Dennis S

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I use older paper (when I can find it) but find that the only way to really tell is by using it. Definitely looses contrast as I had some graded Foma paper and could only use the Grd 3 and 4 for printing. Great paper for testing/experimenting with as it is cheap. I definitely know I am a better printer since a went through a bunch of old paper. Finish prints are worth the extra $$ for updated paper.
 

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When you do a test print of a strip for speed test if the unexposed parts are not white add potassium bromide and redo test print. Make notes of how much you added for repeatability metol and phenodine behave different.

If it is chlorobromide you may get warmer tones.

Never tried BZT with paper.

If you proof on paper the fog hardly matters?
 

Tom1956

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I have a few envelopes of Brovira and Record Rapid that are wonderful for lith printing. In fact, even fogged to oblivion in regular developer, they are still amazing in this process.

There are also those who do carbon printing and could use fixed out silver gelatin paper as substrate for their tissue.
Lots of uses for old paper.

I can appreciate that. I'm an offset printer by 35year profession. I kinda like normal paper, and not some experiment. A mortgage and insurance changes one's sense of "creativity". I, by profession can make all sorts of images on all sorts of stock. But it quickly becomes work, and not "hobby", if I have to fool with some old worthless Agfa. The junk just didn't not keep well over the years unused.
 

john_s

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I have some graded Brovira from the mid 1970s that's still good for straight prints (not lith etc). Portriga Rapid from a decade later was useless. Both with temperate room storage (no refrigeration).
 

Rafal Lukawiecki

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A lot of good advice here. I'd add, that if your paper is not yellowing, but contrast is low, and you have exceeded your usual contrast control methods (filters, developers, D&B) you might want to try adding 5 ml of Benzotriazole 1% solution, per litre of working strength of your developer. Keep adding those 5 ml again, if it is not working. Usually, at about 15-30 ml/l the fog will stop and the contrast will improve, but you will pay the price of extended development time, so you may want to mix your developer a little stronger. Other than Benzotriazole, you may also try adding Potassium Bromide 10% solution, in the same amounts, but the tone of some papers may shift towards warmer, than when using BTA (BTZ), which tends to cool them down a little.
 
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I can appreciate that. I'm an offset printer by 35year profession. I kinda like normal paper, and not some experiment. A mortgage and insurance changes one's sense of "creativity". I, by profession can make all sorts of images on all sorts of stock. But it quickly becomes work, and not "hobby", if I have to fool with some old worthless Agfa. The junk just didn't not keep well over the years unused.

Yeah, but Lith printing IS fun. :smile:
 
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mexipike

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Well, all of that is excellent news! I'll get testing soon. I scored a ton of well stored high quality paper so I'm quite excited to see what I can do with it. I'm not real familiar with the Lith process but now I'll investigate more.

I also scored a bunch of polymax t developer, and a few days ago bought a ton of selenium and gold toner, I think I may be able to put together the next show I'm planning out of entirely salvaged materials! More good news: the person who gave me all of the paper gave me a ton of raw chemicals, so I know I now have some potassium bromide, may have some benzotriazole somewhere but I'll have to check.
 
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mexipike

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Just went out and checked again and I have a couple of boxes of Agva Brovira too, which sounds good since a few here seemed to have success with it, and if it doesn't work I can Lith it!
 
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mexipike

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It turns out a lot of the old paper I have is RC, which I'll use for contact prints etc. I do have some Brovira which I'll play with too.

The box I was really excited about was one of 250 MGIV.1K FB. I tried it out and unfortunately it is fogged slightly. It's not terrible and did print but the edges are not white. I saw it mentioned to add 10% Potassium Bromide and I have some on hand in the Kodak powder form. How do I mix it? Do I make a 10% liquid solution then add a little bit to my developer? I'm using Liquidol, but I have a bunch of (also old) Polymax as well.
 
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mexipike

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I guess I should have asked first. Figured it out. 100g of Potasium Bromide to 750ml of water, top off to 1L
 
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It turns out a lot of the old paper I have is RC, which I'll use for contact prints etc. I do have some Brovira which I'll play with too.

The box I was really excited about was one of 250 MGIV.1K FB. I tried it out and unfortunately it is fogged slightly. It's not terrible and did print but the edges are not white. I saw it mentioned to add 10% Potassium Bromide and I have some on hand in the Kodak powder form. How do I mix it? Do I make a 10% liquid solution then add a little bit to my developer? I'm using Liquidol, but I have a bunch of (also old) Polymax as well.

If the paper is fogged, it will likely have lower contrast as well. Make sure you print to get enough contrast. Then do the bleaching trick and you should be able to eke good print out of this older paper.
 
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mexipike

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The potassium bromide didn't resurrect it either. Is this the bleaching process you mention or is that something other than the potassium bromide?

I did like the warmer RC prints on Ilford MGIV RC that I got with the K Br.

I'm probably going to put it on hold for a while and get some ilford warm tone. I'm just getting back into printing and I want to print not experiment for a little while.
 
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The potassium bromide didn't resurrect it either. Is this the bleaching process you mention or is that something other than the potassium bromide?

I did like the warmer RC prints on Ilford MGIV RC that I got with the K Br.

I'm probably going to put it on hold for a while and get some ilford warm tone. I'm just getting back into printing and I want to print not experiment for a little while.

Smart! Use fresh paper for a while. Then experiment!
 

Xmas

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The potassium bromide didn't resurrect it either. Is this the bleaching process you mention or is that something other than the potassium bromide?

I did like the warmer RC prints on Ilford MGIV RC that I got with the K Br.

I'm probably going to put it on hold for a while and get some ilford warm tone. I'm just getting back into printing and I want to print not experiment for a little while.

yea chose a warm tone dev add more KBr to successive prints leave longer in dev Guillotine margins.
 
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