Household chemicals

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steelneck

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I like the idea to develop photos in easy to get household chemicals. A kind of getting back to the roots of photography, a done-it-my-self satisfaction, a kind of independence, also a bit of keeping an old handicraft alive theese digital days. I even think it is important in a way.

Bicarbonate, caustic soda, ascorbic and citric acid is not hard to find, but there are a couple of problematic ingredients i want to discuss and maybe find replacements to.

The developing agents like phenidone or metol and also the sodium thiosulfate for the fix. I could not find phenidone in Sweden, well i could find a couple of big firms, but they do not sell chemicals to private persons. A member here on APUG from Finland then offered to sell me, i ordered and sent him money a week ago, i am still waiting.. This is what i really hate, having to wait and plan things, it kills my inspiration and make me feel dependent in a way i cannot control.

I know about instant coffee, and i am going to try that some day, but i suspect that there could be other and better alternatives. Any chemist here with any ideas?

Then about the thiosulfate, that is not much easier to get hold of where i live, i still have to order it and it looks like i have to order 6kg(!) of it from a pool manufacturer, thats about 60 eur! I have not found it in smaller quantities. Having learned that thiosulfate is the only thing necessary for fix beside water, and the fact that ordinary photo retailers selling photo chemicals do not sell it, also says something about the manufacturers selling fix that will go bad on the shelf.. I have always had throw away more than half of the fix i have bought. I suspect that a good fix can be made out of other ingredients.

It is quite sad viewed historically. Once up on a time in the childhood of photography, photographers did it all by them self, they had all the control. But then as photography spread and became easier for the common man, all knowledge was locked in and kept away from the public in company trade secrets. Now photography has become digital and the old BW photography is going back to its roots. Without the internet and its capability to spread knowledge that would not have been possible. Quite a paradox in a way.

I am also into free software and i see the same kind of possibilities in development of photo chemicals. Recipes could be developed publicly in the same way on a CVS system like free software on sourceforge.net or the likes. When a chemist once earned some reputation among photographers he have something like a 1000 interested beta-testers around the world able to try it out in very varying conditions, giving feedback collectively. I guess that is quite a lot more resourceful than what commercial firms ever had. The basaar model of development could benefit photographers just as good as it has worked in software, a formula or recipe is a kind of software in its written form, the same kind of collaborative benefits between chemists and photographers as between programmers and computer users as Eric S. Raymond wrote about in his almost "cyber-classical" book The Cathedral and The Basaar:
http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/
(edit: updated the link)

So what can be used as a developing agent together with ascorbic and what can be used instead of thiosulfate?
 
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steelneck

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There have been long threads on this subject, it's worth doing a search of APUG.

Ian

I have done that, 4-6 hours a day under a whole month. So, if you have a secret link, please share it with the rest of us.

This is one of the problems, information is scattered around and anyone searching will drown in information overload. It is from this my idea about CVS devrelopment comes. It shares the same kind of problems that arise in development of software. Your answer to me Ian, can be found everywere when people are looking for solution on computer problems, and it is even more frustating later on for people having the same kind of questions - Ahh, finally someone with the same kind of question that i have, now lets read the answers.. - Look in other threads, but no link to it.
 

Ian Grant

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Try lookong at Patrick Gainer's posts he's written a lot about using household & food chemicals, also John Ninian has posted about coffee developers as have a number of others. There are quite long threads on the subject but I don't have time to search for them.

Ian
 

Alan Johnson

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Mr Steelneck,I think you are ahead of the game.
I believe all Patrick Gainer's developers assume a supply of metol,phenidone or p-aminophenol.You cannot make metol or phenidone from household chemicals.
p-aminophenol derivate based PaRodinal can be made from Tylenol or Paracetamol capsules:
http://photo.net/black-and-white-photo-film-processing-forum/00UxmB
It is probably possible to combine p-aminophenolate made by this method with ascorbic acid (vit C) to produce a developer using only household chemicals,but nobody has done it at this time,at least not without foggy negatives.
Even these p-aminophenol based developers assume availability of sodium sulfite,or sufficient ingenuity to make it.
 

removed account4

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hey steelneck

try this thread for starters

(there was a url link here which no longer exists)

you can do "advanced searches" with usernames to find posts by members ...

the username: gainer
the username: darkroomexperimente

should help you get started ...

as far as i know there really isn't a substitute for hypo/fixer ...

have fun!
(and good luck!)

john
 
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steelneck

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@Alan J.: Yes, i am probably a bit ahead of the game. As i said, some of us are in a way going back to the roots of photography as a consequence of the world going digital. I think it is just a matter of time until we see threads on formums like this where people are starting to investigate ways to make their own film, or why not glass plates for LF photography. It is almost lost knowledge today.

The caffeine/ascorbic developer is also quite interesting. I have seen some quite good examples, but also some bad. The good ones says that there is something to it.

But for the fixer, i do not buy that thiosulfate is the only way.
 

Nitai108

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I think it is just a matter of time until we see threads on formums like this where people are starting to investigate ways to make their own film, or why not glass plates for LF photography. It is almost lost knowledge today.
.

Actually there are quite some people out there who use collodion, cyanotype, carbon printing (these are the ones I've practiced so far) etc. and a lot of other processes, it isn't a lost knowledge, and you can find a lot of info on all the processes on line, including active forums.
 

ntenny

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[fixer]
There's no safe alternative, and certainly nothing used in a normal household or food.

Some nitrogen fertilisers consist mainly of ammonium thiosulfate. I've seen images purportedly fixed with fertiliser---I don't know how it was prepared. It's not exactly "safe" in the sense that ascorbic acid is, but it's a reasonably normal chemical to have around the household.

-NT
 

Ian Grant

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@Alan J.: Yes, i am probably a bit ahead of the game. As i said, some of us are in a way going back to the roots of photography as a consequence of the world going digital. I think it is just a matter of time until we see threads on formums like this where people are starting to investigate ways to make their own film, or why not glass plates for LF photography. It is almost lost knowledge today.

The caffeine/ascorbic developer is also quite interesting. I have seen some quite good examples, but also some bad. The good ones says that there is something to it.

But for the fixer, i do not buy that thiosulfate is the only way.

If you follow this forum closely enough or you'd have seen the coating machine being made to coat roll films..

Interestingly the roots of photography go back to the chemical/refining industries and early companies like Johnsons who began trading a century before photography was invented.

Johnsons supplied and manufactured Silver Nitrate and developers etc for the early British pioneers and only pulled out of Photo-chemicals in the late 70's or very early 80's, these days a vestige of the company still trades as Johnsons Photopia an importer & distributor.

Ian
 

ntenny

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The caffeine/ascorbic developer is also quite interesting. I have seen some quite good examples, but also some bad. The good ones says that there is something to it.

Lots of things will develop film. The "Caffenol" family is the best-investigated example of developers using household chemicals only, but there are lots of other alternatives. Tea has been used, I believe, and so have a variety of aromatic plant products. I have a huge overgrown patch of rosemary in the front yard that I mean to try to make into a developer someday---in theory, the thujones in the leaves should be able to develop film.

Basically, all you need is a reducing agent and a source of alkalinity, and both are easy to come by.

But for the fixer, i do not buy that thiosulfate is the only way.

Not the *only* way, surely, but is there something else you're thinking of? There just aren't that many chemicals running around that do the right thing to fix film, and thiosulfates are by all accounts the easiest to lay hands on and probably the least toxic.

Note that there are thiosulfates in some foods---onions and garlic, e.g.---so in principle you could make fixer from those. However, the levels are unrealistically low, and I don't think anyone has a safe, easy stovetop way to concentrate the thiosulfates out of a bag of onions.

-NT
 

McFortner

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Sodium Thiosulfate can be found at most swimming pool supply companies. It will fix your film fine, just slower than other fixers. I use it with no problems.

Michael
 

jonsparkes

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I just did a quick search and you can buy thiosulfate here in the uk from 100g at £8
 

dancqu

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Household? --- Roots?

Off hand I can't think of a single substance used for
processing FILM? or silver GELATIN? paper found in
the households of 'Root' photographers.

Roots starting when? Inquire of the forum
Alternative Processes. Dan
 

Ian Grant

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Off hand I can't think of a single substance used for
processing FILM? or silver GELATIN? paper found in
the households of 'Root' photographers.

Roots starting when? Inquire of the forum
Alternative Processes. Dan

At a commercial level Photography was always linked to the chemical industry, but for small scale users the "Roots" of photography are entwined with the Pharmacies (Drug stores) and even today those traces still exist. Jessops the UK's largest retail photographic chain began life as a Pharmacist, and there are still photographic departments in some chemists shops although the number is dwindilny fast.

Dan is right the roots of photography never began with "household" products but that doesn't mean people should be discouraged from going down this route which only began when the whole "alternative process" scene was refgvived & took of in the late 80's and particularly the 90's.

Ian
 

Jerevan

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From the same guys (www.folkpool.se), here's the MSDS for "Antiklor", which is the swedish trade name in the pool business for sodium thiosulfate:

http://order.folkpool.se/web_doc/sakerhetsdatablad/Antiklor.pdf

I have not tried this product so I can't vouch for its useability, though. I've bought my sodium thiosulfate from Germany but I will eventually look into buying some sodium thiosulfate locally in the future.
 
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