I am using Tri-X and HP5 in 4x5. I was wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of hardening fix for the film development. Will the negs be less likely to scratch with a hardening fix? If so, what are the drawbacks?
Both Tri-X and HP5 are pre-hardened. You don't need a hardening fixer. Use an alkaline non-hardening fixer for way shorter washing times.
I imagine a hardening fixer would make the negs less prone to scratching, but in my view, the place where scratching is most likely to happen is in the developing phase, which is pre fixing anyway.
I have used thiosulfate fixers, with and without hardener, with these films and have noticed no difference. I finally settled on the F-5 formula, which is non-hardening. It produces a slightly better gloss with prints. F-5 works for me with both conventional and pyro developers.