Gold toner from Formulary -- better alternatives?

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grainyvision

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So I got one of those formulary kits for gold toner and I think something got messed up in mixing. It came out being cloudy, lots of particulate, and having floating blobs of yellow gunk. Everything I see says it should be fairly clear and with some particulate.. I tried it and it imparted minimal color on the first few prints, and then seemed to just die and added no color to the later prints (one of which I left in for ~45 minutes as a test; Ilford Art 300). I'm not sure where I went wrong, but I was quite surprised at how complicated it was to mix and the number of ingredients required. It also probably doesn't help that one of the powder packages slightly tore open in shipping, leaving instructions etc covered with the powder. Can't remember the exact one other than that it was labeled "hypo" and was the most material in the kit. I assumed it wouldn't affect results since less than 1% escaped, but maybe exposure to air had an effect?

Anyway, rather than buy another kit and hope for the best, I'd like to look for some simpler alternatives. One formula in particular looked interesting, but lacks any detail. It's #137 in Darkroom Cookbook

* Distilled water at 125F, 750ml
* Ammonium thiocynate, 105g (substitute 110g sodium thiocynate, or 135g potassium thiocynate)
* 1% gold chloride, 60ml
* Water to make 1L

This formula definitely looks simple and approachable, but there isn't any info about what it's shelflife would be, if it can be replenished, how many prints etc. Anyone used this before? Or have any recommendations in this pursuit?
 

DREW WILEY

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I just buy their 1% gold chloride solution, then mix my own A&B bottles of classic GP-1 toner. Mix just enough A&B together immediately before use that, properly diluted, it will cover a print in a tray, rocked side by side. I usually dilute it to about one fourth the published strength. Time can be substituted for concentration. Used in this manner, it is quite economical and equally effective. Mix only enough at a time for a brief session then discard it. It cannot be kept or predictably replenished. But the individual A&B stock solutions do keep a long time in sealed separate glass bottles.
 

NedL

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You can keep your thiocyanate solution separate from your gold chloride solution ( both have good shelf life ), then mix only as much as needed like Drew suggested.
 
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grainyvision

grainyvision

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You can keep your thiocyanate solution separate from your gold chloride solution ( both have good shelf life ), then mix only as much as needed like Drew suggested.

That might be easier than using a more complicated, but better keeping formula. Of course, color is different from the A+B type solutions, but this one is advertised to give "vivid blue" which sounds interesting. It also seems like around 300ml can safely cover an 8x10 in an 8x10 tray, so that would be only around 18ml or so of gold chloride solution.

On the topic of this formula, is there any benefit between the various thiocyanates? I want to lean away from anything with "Ammonium" in the name after seeing how brutal selenium toner can be, but I'm not actually sure if ammonium thiocyanate has an ammonium smell/vapor problem
 

NedL

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I don't have experience using gold toner on normal silver gelatin prints, but that still sounds like a lot of gold for one 8x10 print to me. Ammonium thiocyanate solution does not have any odor, and neither does sodium thiocyanate. I've never made a potassium thiocyanate solution, so don't know about that one :smile: Hopefully someone else can chime in about your other questions!
 
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