Getting Fiber Based Paper Flat

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by nyoung, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    I have never done the cardboard sandwich as I had the blotter rolls laying around from a big darkroom donation. I am glad I hung on to them. Try the stack method. It is probably more straightforward. Remember to make sure the prints are 100% dry before you pull them or they will warp when they continue to dry.

    Regards,
    Chris Maness
     
  2. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Member

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    To get them home from the darkroom use a bucket filled of water with a lid so it doesn't spill. Take them home and dry there.
     
  3. appletree

    appletree Member

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    Thanks for the advice gents.

    Derek,
    Care to explain what you mean? Any reason to not start the drying process there for a few minutes (squeegee in the darkroom), then put in a blotter book or cardboard sandwich or kodak blotter roll...then bring them home and let them dry for a few days? Once at home with the prints, is your drying method the same or one of the 10+ ways described throughout this thread?

    Time is not a priority. Safety for the photos, cleanliness, safe transportation, efficient workflow is though. It is why the sandwich or blotter method seemed the best of both worlds. Dries safely and once home can put some weight on it for a few days until fully dry and flat. No presses need, no heat, no iron, etc etc.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  4. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    I think Derek is assuming that your blotter stuff is at home. What you suggest is just fine. No need to keep it wet if you bring your blotter with you.

    Chris
     
  5. appletree

    appletree Member

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    Ahhh ok. Just making sure. I tend to make things more complicated than they need to be.

    Thanks again Chris. Have a nice day.
     
  6. doug_morse

    doug_morse Member

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  7. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    Back in the day we used a dilute solution of ethylene glycol (propylene glycol should also work and is nontoxic) as a brief final soak. The retained glycol is hygroscopic and the absorbed moisture helps keep the print flat. I can't speak to archival aspects, but those prints I can find seem fine. Of course, YMMV as always.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i forgot to mention you need
    to take them out before they are dry
    or they will stick together
     
  9. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Nicely done!
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    How long do they take to dry this way, Doug? Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  11. Old_Dick

    Old_Dick Member

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    Hi Folks,


    Something to play with. About 40 years ago I was reading an article about how the old timers use to wax (paste) their prints to add some snap. Sounded interesting, but I didn't have any wax around, I did have some spray Pledge. I grabbed an old curled up print that was hanging around and sprayed it. Not only did the curl come out it started doing a reverse curl and came back almost perfectly flat, it did add some snap to the print. I'm not suggesting that this a good idea, but it was an interesting result. The print is still around and no worse for my test.

    I'm only starting to get back into the darkroom, so I'm not sure how much Pledge and/or paper has changed.


    Summer Regards
    Dick
     
  12. moltogordo

    moltogordo Member

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    I've found the best way of making FB prints flat is to dry them normally, and then place them face to face and put them between the pages of a large book. Weight the book and wait for a day or two, and voila! Flat prints.

    Primitive, but very effective.:D
     
  13. kq6up

    kq6up Member

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    I have not had good luck with this technique in dry climate with thick papers. It works ok after a day in the Kodak blotter roll, but I put the prints in the blotter roll nearly sopping wet.

    Regards,
    Chris
     
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  15. scheimfluger_77

    scheimfluger_77 Subscriber

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    This is what I've been doing recently. I put the prints into the press cold and remove them cold. They are indeed flat. 5x7's only so far but it works.

    I've been printing in a university darkroom with screens but not had any issues. I wonder if it's the taughtness of the screen. The ones we are using are home made but the screen itself is not pulled tight. It is loose and sags about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I place my FB prints in face down, no problem, and the seem to dry flatter than face up. I'm in Mid-Missouri though and the humidity is probably part of it.
     
  16. scheimfluger_77

    scheimfluger_77 Subscriber

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    Dancqu,

    Is the A flute you are using single face or double face? I notice large rolls of A flute single face are easy to find for relative reasonable cost, cut sheets of A flute double face not so much. What is your opinion about using the single face? Seems the moisture transfer would be better but I wonder about little ridges showing in the dried print. With that said my wife tells me interfacing comes in a number of weights, heavier might mitigate against the ridging.
     
  17. hgaude

    hgaude Member

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    Tried this yesterday; I never dreamed an FB print could dry this flat without heat - wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. Now getting the remaining tape off the glass, umm less fun :smile: LOL

    That flat beautiful fiber is WAY worth it though!
     
  18. whitezo

    whitezo Member

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  19. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    any reason to particularly use white tape rather than the much more easily available brown?
     
  20. Joachim Zettl

    Joachim Zettl Member

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    Sorry I didn't look through the whole thread, so maybe this was mentioned earlier:
    I work with drying books and get very nice results. The books have special drying paper and it needs some time to dry thoroughly. Not too much experience but the last few prints I made were nice flat and had a lovely natural surface and it works good if one has to carry half dry prints.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2014
  21. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    I have both watercolour tapes here and (from this supplier, though neither sort has any markings) there doesn't seem to be much functional difference. Sometimes the local shop has both colours, sometimes just one. Maybe there is a sort of snob value for watercolour painters in using a tape that clearly doesn't look as though it's for doing up parcels??
     
  22. hgaude

    hgaude Member

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    I'd LOVE to find some white tape that was functionally identical to the brown kraft type - I may consider not even cutting it off of the print at that point. Not sure about the longterm effect on archivability (is that a word?) with the tape on the print though.
     
  23. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    The watercolour-tape isn't the same as gummed parcel-tape. The artists tape has a lighter weight of paper base and less gum, or a different gum anyway. Just go to an art-shop, on foot or online, and they will stock it. It's probably best to trim the 3 or 5mm of tape that is stuck to the photograph and this itself will help to 'relax' the edges of the paper, where one could see waves with other methods of flattening. In turn this means using a wider border to the print, but that is easy to plan in advance.
     
  24. mikew78

    mikew78 Member

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    My apologies if this information has already been relayed....

    Humidity levels are the biggest factor in having prints dry dead flat. All of my work involves large size fibre prints up 52"x75" image size. I've been able to process a sheet of 56"x80" fibre paper (Ilford Classic and Warmtone), squeegee only one side, dry it face up, and it comes out dead flat. The trick is to enclose your drying rack with plastic and to feed humidity in with a humidifier. If you can keep the humidity level inside your drying rack at around 95% for the first 18 to 24 hrs of drying, it allows the emulsion and paper base to catch up to each other. After this the humidifier can be turned off and the residual humidity will help the print to dry flatter.

    If your ambient humidity is low you may need to add a humidifier to the room. And if you're processing multiple prints, this will add even more humidity to the drying rack which may mean that you need to turn off humidifier earlier.

    The only critical bit is to use a humidifier that doesn't produce steam as condensation may create problems. Also, if your drying rack is made of bare wood, the wood will suck up most of the humidity you pump into it so it's best to paint it with high gloss paint.

    My prints spend about 48hrs in this drying system and are then moved under weight for a week or so and they're good to mount on anything.

    Hope this helps.

    Mike
     
  25. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    mikew78,

    This is sort of a Eureka moment for me... I live near the coast, so having an abundance of humidity for the job is not a problem.

    Maybe this is why I don't have much issue getting prints flat.

    That reminds me, I've got a couple prints still in the press. They've been there over a month.
     
  26. mikew78

    mikew78 Member

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    Hi Bill,

    That's great to hear. I hope this helps.

    I banged my head against a wall for years trying to make flat prints and this is the only thing that's worked. In fact, I just processed a 50"x70" sheet of Classic paper that doesn't even require pressing, not one ripple.

    Of course, there are other considerations such as how much you handle a print during processing but this method has been the only one that's worked for me. I apply it to any size.

    Best,

    Mike
     
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