Kallitype's & Zone VI Fix?

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MurrayMinchin

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About to begin a romp down Kallitype Road and was wondering if I could use Zone VI paper and film fixer. This will be for early tests...max black, initial step tablets, etc.

I'm out of sodium thiosulfate and it's going to take a while for it to arrive, so wanted to get a jump start on testing. My concern is that it might have some effect which will make them invalid (delay max black time or increase/decrease contrast for example) which will make me redo the tests again later.

What say you chemistry gurus?
 
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MurrayMinchin

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In wallowing around the web I found this by Wolfgang Moersch regarding Kallitype's;

"Fast fixing baths based on ammonium thiosulphate should then be theoretically left out right from the beginning for this particular application. According to my experiences though, I would estimate an alkali ammonium thiosulphate bath as the best choice for the Kallitypie process. I use my ATS-Fixer by a dilution of 1+20 and can not observe a bleaching even after 3-4 minutes of fixing. On the contrary, as soon as the print is brought into the fixing bath a powerful raise of density is the result."

https://www.moersch-photochemie.de/content/artikel/anleitungen/136/lang:en

I have the ingredients for TF-3, so maybe I'll give that a whirl at 1:10 and see what happens.

Can you tell I'm just itching to get going?
 
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Rolleiflexible

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I immersed myself in the voodoo world of kallitypes just over a year ago. And while there is a well-developed body of knowledge on the internet, thanks largely to Sandy King and Wolfgang Moersch, it only goes so far. I would kill, for example, to get a good explanation of the chemistry of how citric acid works as a clearing agent (beyond the boilerplate that it is a chelating agent) so I could make a fair assessment of when to dump a bath and make up a fresh one.

Fixers are another area of uncertainty. I started with straight thiosulphate and found that it bleached out highlights in my prints. Then I saw Wolfgang's discussion of alkaline fixers. And I will tell you, that runs contrary to the boilerplate, which says you need to keep the process acidic. (But maybe that matters only in the development and clearing process, to facilitate clearing iron from the print.) And I saw other threads that recommended TF-4 fixer, which is alkaline, and which I used for many years as a silver gelatin fixer.

So, I've been using TF-4 for most of my kallitypes. I can confirm Wolfgang's experience, that the fixer provides some lift in contrast and density. Fixing in kallitypes plays a different function than it does in silver gelatin prints -- it is just a last part of a process that is aimed at flushing unused metals from the kallitype, for archival purposes. Because it does not need to penetrate an emulsion to get to the paper fibers, it acts quickly (so I have read) so your working solution can be more dilute, and your fix times need not be longer than a minute or two.

I am not a chemist. I am only repeating things I have read online, that seem trustworthy. I pray that my kallitypes don't turn brown and splotchy fifty years from now. (As if anyone will be looking at them in 2073.)

One last thing: You should not waste your time and materials running preliminary tests with chemicals and papers you are not using in your prints. Because the chemicals and papers will affect your results. Step charts and such are tedious work. Don't create more work for yourself down the road by starting with the wrong stuff.
 
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MurrayMinchin

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So did it work as Moersch says?
I mixed the sensitizers late in the evening on Tuesday. From what I've read it takes 24 hours for the ferric oxalate solution to balance out, so I'm going into the darkroom this morning. Will report back later today.
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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I immersed myself in the voodoo world of kallitypes just over a year ago. And while there is a well-developed body of knowledge on the internet, thanks largely to Sandy King and Wolfgang Moersch, it only goes so far. I would kill, for example, to get a good explanation of the chemistry of how citric acid works as a clearing agent (beyond the boilerplate that it is a chelating agent) so I could make a fair assessment of when to dump a bath and make up a fresh one.

Fixers are another area of uncertainty. I started with straight thiosulphate and found that it bleached out highlights in my prints. Then I saw Wolfgang's discussion of alkaline fixers. And I will tell you, that runs contrary to the boilerplate, which says you need to keep the process acidic. (But maybe that matters only in the development and clearing process, to facilitate clearing iron from the print.) And I saw other threads that recommended TF-4 fixer, which is alkaline, and which I used for many years as a silver gelatin fixer.

So, I've been using TF-4 for most of my kallitypes. I can confirm Wolfgang's experience, that the fixer provides some lift in contrast and density. Fixing in kallitypes plays a different function than it does in silver gelatin prints -- it is just a last part of a process that is aimed at flushing unused metals from the kallitype, for archival purposes. Because it does not need to penetrate an emulsion to get to the paper fibers, it acts quickly (so I have read) so your working solution can be more dilute, and your fix times need not be longer than a minute or two.

I am not a chemist. I am only repeating things I have read online, that seem trustworthy. I pray that my kallitypes don't turn brown and splotchy fifty years from now. (As if anyone will be looking at them in 2073.)

One last thing: You should not waste your time and materials running preliminary tests with chemicals and papers you are not using in your prints. Because the chemicals and papers will affect your results. Step charts and such are tedious work. Don't create more work for yourself down the road by starting with the wrong stuff.
Thanks a bunch. Nice to hear you've had a good experience with the alkaline fixers. To tell the truth, I missed the smell of TF3...weird, eh?

Your last sentence is sage advice. I'll be using Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag, so will be working with a good paper. As far as tests go, max black, dimroom safelight, and coming up with a curve that gives me a nice range of tones from black to white is what I'll be testing for.

Don't plan to get too anal about it...something tells me part of the appeal of these processes is letting go so the *magic* can happen.
 
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MurrayMinchin

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Oh, and do you remember what dilution of TF4 you used?
 

Rolleiflexible

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I'll be using Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag, so will be working with a good paper. As far as tests go, max black and coming up with a curve that gives me a nice range of tones from black to white is what I'm looking for.

HPR is a great paper. But I much prefer Revere Platinum, from Legion. The two papers are nearly indistinguishable in weight and color and texture and performance. But Revere Platinum is a third less expensive, and it is formulated and sourced by Legion, an American company, specifically for platinum and related processes like kallitypes. If you are at the beginning of this process, I recommend staring out with Revere — it’s a sweet paper, and the price is less burdensome.
 

Rolleiflexible

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Oh, and do you remember what dilution of TF4 you used?

There was a conversation ages ago here, that you might find helpful:


Based on it, and other things I have read, I halved the dilution, from 1:3 to 1:6. That’s plenty to give the shift in density, and one hopes also strong enough to impart its archival effects.

However you choose to proceed, make these decisions before running your step charts, if possible. Changes in chemistry will change the final result, and will drive you to relinearise everything to accommodate the change.
 
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MurrayMinchin

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HPR is a great paper. But I much prefer Revere Platinum, from Legion. The two papers are nearly indistinguishable in weight and color and texture and performance. But Revere Platinum is a third less expensive, and it is formulated and sourced by Legion, an American company, specifically for platinum and related processes like kallitypes. If you are at the beginning of this process, I recommend staring out with Revere — it’s a sweet paper, and the price is less burdensome.

There was a conversation ages ago here, that you might find helpful:


Based on it, and other things I have read, I halved the dilution, from 1:3 to 1:6. That’s plenty to give the shift in density, and one hopes also strong enough to impart its archival effects.

However you choose to proceed, make these decisions before running your step charts, if possible. Changes in chemistry will change the final result, and will drive you to relinearise everything to accommodate the change.

FWIW, a lot of ordinary LED lights emit no light in the UV spectrum. I borrowed a UV light meter and found that all of my overhead LED fixtures are safe, so my darkroom is very bright!
Thanks, I will definitely be looking into Revere Platinum 👍

TF3 is usually 1:4, so I went with 1:9 because it makes an even litre. Will heed your advice about consistency...once I settle into some sort of groove.

My room should be okay as far as lighting goes. Made sure it was safe for salt prints, but will test again, just to be sure.

All chemicals mixed, ready and waiting. Off to coat some paper. Ahhhh...that sweet, sweet moment of blissful anticipation where nothing has gone wrong yet and before me lies nothing but a smooth trail to the summit of successful images 🤪🖐
 

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Murray, I was just looking through your photos and saw your hemlock photos. Our hemlocks in the eastern mountains have been blighted by the wooly adelgid, an invasive pest, and it is ravaging the entire ecology of the Eastern forests. Very sad to witness.
 
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MurrayMinchin

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Murray, I was just looking through your hoots and saw your hemlock photos. Our hemlocks in the eastern mountains have been blighted by the wooly adelgid, an invasive pest, and it is ravaging the entire ecology of the Eastern forests. Very sad to witness.
Our hemlocks here on BC's north coast are doing fine these days. About 5 years ago 10's of thousands of them died in this area (along with the top foot or so of salmonberry bushes) when the fall monsoonal rains weren't heavy, there wasn't much snow, and we got nailed by a long heat wave in early spring. Everything here sits on top of glaciomarine clay deposits (valley bottoms rebounded after the 5,500' thick ice sheet melted away) so my theory is the top layer of the clay dried up.

Provincially, in the interior, we got nailed by pine beetles where thousands of square miles of trees died because the winters weren't cold enough to kill off a good percentage of the overwintering beetles, which had kept things in balance in the past.

Have been noticing lots of cedar branch tips dying in the last few years...hoping it's a temporary thing.

Last exposure on the max black test should be done by now.
 
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MurrayMinchin

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As far as using TF3 goes, it looks okay. Abrupt darkening as people have been saying, and lighter tones don't bleach. Dimroom lights test okay too.

Getting a satisfying black, however, is turning into a baffling exercise.

Found this article on Kallitype's by Dick Sullivan where in part he says:

"Print times are about 1 to 2 stops faster than traditional palladium…"


At about 45 seconds of exposure mine are going squirrely.

My led light strip UV light source was giving a minimum max black time of 12 minutes for salt prints. For some reason my test strips are only getting to about a print value of about zone IV, then with more exposure the strip actually goes lighter in tone to about a print value of zone VI. The colour is what I'd call mushy plum.

Too many moving parts. The dried coat was a suspiciously lighter yellow than what I've seen on yoo-toob. Will probably dump all the solutions and mix up new ones tomorrow. I'm 99.99% sure everything was mixed right, but to remove all doubt it's probably best to start from again from scratch.
 
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MurrayMinchin

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Which developer are you using? If you are using the citrate, give sodium acetate a try.
Yup, sodium citrate.

Argentix (Canadian source for bulk photo chemicals) has sodium acetate listed as 'presently not available' on its website, but Jacques said he was getting a big shipment of chemicals any day now. Will keep an eye on it.
 

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The Received Wisdom says the developer doesn't matter but I get deeper blacks and more neutral tones with the acetate developer.

You might try Mike Jacobson over at Artcraft Chemicals in upstate NY:


Mike supplies the chemistry for a lot of artists -- I know, for example, that Sally Mann gets her collodion stuff from him. He's a good guy and I've found him to be a reliable supplier of kallitype chemicals and toners. If you ask him for the "black developer," he will send you a container with the dry chemicals premixed -- just add 32 oz water and stir.
 
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MurrayMinchin

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The Received Wisdom says the developer doesn't matter but I get deeper blacks and more neutral tones with the acetate developer.

You might try Mike Jacobson over at Artcraft Chemicals in upstate NY:


Mike supplies the chemistry for a lot of artists -- I know, for example, that Sally Mann gets her collodion stuff from him. He's a good guy and I've found him to be a reliable supplier of kallitype chemicals and toners. If you ask him for the "black developer," he will send you a container with the dry chemicals premixed -- just add 32 oz water and stir.
Thanks, I'll check them out.

Earlier in this thread you called Kallitype's a "voodoo world" and I'm beginning to understand...some of the max black test strips I thought were horrible yesterday darkened up quite a bit to a nice chocolatey brown after drying overnight. and lost their mushy plum look.

Things got pretty dark at 45 seconds, appears to stay about the same tone for a while, then goes quite dark at 6 minutes.

Just did another one this morning, and will pass no judgment until tomorrow!
 
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nmp

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Earlier in this thread you called Kallitype's a "voodoo world" and I'm beginning to understand...some of the max black test strips I thought were horrible yesterday darkened up quite a bit to a nice chocolatey brown after drying overnight. and lost their mushy plum look.

Things got pretty dark at 45 seconds, appears to stay about the same tone for a while, then goes quite dark at 6 minutes.

Just did another one this morning, and will pass no judgment until tomorrow!

Remember kallitype, unlike salt, is not entirely a POP process (very small part is) so what you see on exposure will be largely overridden when you develop. I have learned in most alt processes, to not look at the image after exposure and make any kind of conclusions. What you see in the end (which could be the next day as observed or several days as in the case of cyanotypes if not using peroxide to speed up) is what matters.

Which process is not voodoo, I'd like to know....🙂

:Niranjan.
 
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MurrayMinchin

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Which process is not voodoo, I'd like to know....🙂

:Niranjan.
No kidding. We're corralling photons with the stuff spewed out by ancient exploding stars.
 
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MurrayMinchin

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Here is the max black test strip I made this morning at 30 second steps and a zero exoposure to make sure it was clearing. Not toned because the gold chloride I had was made into a 1% solution for salt prints. Also, added some extra ferric oxalate (15g instead of 10g in 50ml) to solution B last night.

The first one is straight out of the final wash.

The second one is after being dried by a fan for a couple hours. I expect it to get darker by tomorrow.

Was not expecting that much of a change!


_MXT2281.jpg
_MXT2284.jpg
 
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Rolleiflexible

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Murray, it's hard to say from an online scan but it looks like your max black is somewhere around 2 minutes.

At this point you would benefit from a really helpful tool called a Color Muse, available for US$60 from Amazon, and often available at big box hardware stores. It is a colorimeter made for matching paint colors, but it is a great substitute for spectrophotometers costing far more. You can use the Color Muse to peg the interval of maximum density with precision. You can also use it for the next step of creating digital negatives (if you are making them), determining how much ink you need to block light and obtain a paper white.

Clay Harmon gets the credit for this hack. Clay has even created a downloadable 40-gray step chart especially for use with the Color Muse, with bigger squares to aid in its use, and a web app for ordering the Color Muse data into a file that can be read by software for creating negative curves. Here's a link to Clay's work:

 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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Murray, it's hard to say from an online scan but it looks like your max black is somewhere around 2 minutes.

At this point you would benefit from a really helpful tool called a Color Muse, available for US$60 from Amazon, and often available at big box hardware stores. It is a colorimeter made for matching paint colors, but it is a great substitute for spectrophotometers costing far more. You can use the Color Muse to peg the interval of maximum density with precision. You can also use it for the next step of creating digital negatives (if you are making them), determining how much ink you need to block light and obtain a paper white.

Clay Harmon gets the credit for this hack. Clay has even created a downloadable 40-gray step chart especially for use with the Color Muse, with bigger squares to aid in its use, and a web app for ordering the Color Muse data into a file that can be read by software for creating negative curves. Here's a link to Clay's work:

Thanks, I had seen Clay's article whilst rummaging the web about a week ago. Will read into it a bit more.
 

Rolleiflexible

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The Received Wisdom says the developer doesn't matter but I get deeper blacks and more neutral tones with the acetate developer.

You might try Mike Jacobson over at Artcraft Chemicals in upstate NY:


Mike supplies the chemistry for a lot of artists -- I know, for example, that Sally Mann gets her collodion stuff from him. He's a good guy and I've found him to be a reliable supplier of kallitype chemicals and toners. If you ask him for the "black developer," he will send you a container with the dry chemicals premixed -- just add 32 oz water and stir.

FWIW I spoke with Mike this morning and asked if he ships to Canada. He said he ships worldwide BUT recommends that you place the order directly with him, rather than use the online ecommerce form, because the form tacks crazy big shipping fees onto international orders. Mike says that he will arrange much more economic shipping terms for Canadian and overseas purchasers.
 
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MurrayMinchin

MurrayMinchin

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FWIW I spoke with Mike this morning and asked if he ships to Canada. He said he ships worldwide BUT recommends that you place the order directly with him, rather than use the online ecommerce form, because the form tacks crazy big shipping fees onto international orders. Mike says that he will arrange much more economic shipping terms for Canadian and overseas purchasers.
Thanks a bunch for keeping me in mind and sending that hot tip my way 👍👍
 
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