Question for Pat Gainer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Zathras, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Zathras

    Zathras Subscriber

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    I want to try using one of your original Vitamin C formulas that I found on Ed Buffalo's site. Specifically the one listed as "Borax B", with a couple of minor modifications.

    The formula as given for the version using Metol is as follows;

    Water ........................................................... 750.0 ml
    (There was no quantity listed so I assumed 750ml)

    Sodium Hydroxide ........................................... 17.0 ml

    Borax .............................................................. 6.1 ml

    Ascorbic Acid ................................................... 2.0 gm

    Metol............................................................... 0.2 gm

    Water to make ................................................. 1.0 qt

    Since I do not trust my balance to measure such small quantities of metol accurately on a consistent basis, I was thinking of using D23 as a kind of "stock solution" for the metol. I discovered that 27.0 ml of D23 contains 0.2025 grams of metol. However, this would also introduce 2.7 grams of sodium sulfite into the developer. My first question is, will the presence of the sulfite cause any problems that I should be aware of, or will its effects be negligible?

    My second question concerns the activator. Since Red Devil Lye is now difficult to find, I was thinking of adding 20.0 ml of PMK solution "B" to the working solution of the developer, this would add 6.0 grams of sodium metaborate to the developer. I thought this was a good way to go since I have plenty of it on hand. Does this seem workable to you?

    Thanks,

    Mike Sullivan
     
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  2. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    The short answer is "Yes." But try teaspoon measurements as well.

    0.2 g Metol is 1/16 tsp. The smallest measure in most sets is 1/8 tsp. 1/8 tsp Metol + 1 tsp ascorbic acid powder will make 1/2 gallon. The PMK B will work. It is a buffer , and IIRC, the measures I gave for borax and NaOH were to emulate metaborate.

    If you make a half a gallon and put it in quart bottles, it will keep a while, and even if you throw away what you don't use right away, it is cheap. The most expensive part of D-23 or D-76 is the sulfite, and you may like the ascorbate formula better without sulfite.

    Another ploy, since you must mix the D-23 anyway, is to mix a batch with reduced sulfite, use part to try the ascorbate developer, and add more sulfite to he rest when you want D-23.

    Lest you be concerned about teaspoon measurements, I reported in "Kitchen Tested Soups", 1973 Petersen's Photographic, experiments that showed that variations in weight of developing agents in developers like D-76 of more than 10% gave little variation in negative contrast or density.
     
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    Zathras

    Zathras Subscriber

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    Thanks Pat,

    I'm not against using spoon measurements, I was just thinking of using a convenient method of mixing and preserving the metol in a way that would allow an easy way of measuring out very small amounts of metol.

    It occurred to me that D23 had a relatively large amount of metol in proportion to the sulfite, with no other ingredients being present except water. I also use D23 regularly, so I thought I'd just take advantage of something I already had in the darkroom.

    I went back to your article on unblinkingeye.com and checked out the the formula mixed as a stock solution. This is another option I was considering as well. If I mixed the stock solution without the activator, What kind of shelf life could I reasonably expect from the stock being stored in amber glass bottles?

    Thanks again,

    Mike
     
  4. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Honestly, I don't have much experience with water stock solutions since I found out about glycol and TEA. Metol is not very soluble there unless you convert it to the base as is done for Pyrocat MC. An alternative is p-aminophenol base which you can buy from Photo Formulary. With it, ascorbic acid and TEA as both solvent and activator, you can make a long lasting concentrated stock that is worth trying.

    I think p-aminophenol tends to be underrated except, perhaps, as Rodinal. In fact, another approach to the idea is to use Rodinal and ascorbate together. 2 grams of sodium ascorbate added to a liter of 1+100 Rodinal may surprise you.
     
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    Zathras

    Zathras Subscriber

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    Thanks for the help Pat,

    I decided to go with the stock solution for now, using the formula from unblinkingeye.com, leaving out the activator until diluted for use. I eventually want to try a phenidone or p-aminophenol version in glycol, but for now I'll go with what I have on hand. I have mixed it up for paper in the past, and I liked it, but I never got around to trying it for film. I'll give it a go this weekend and see what happens.

    Mike