Rockland Colloid - Should I bother?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by bvy, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. DonF

    DonF Member
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    True...I did a bit of investigation regarding that issue. Apparently the manufacturer premixes the dry ingredients before packaging, rather than adding the individual granular components to the final packaging. Of course, the various components can separate after shipping. I always mix the dry ingredients thoroughly before measuring out the needed weight of Dektol (mentioned in the instructions). I have had no obvious issues to date.

    Apparently Rockland repackages the Dektol, as it comes in an unlabeled sealed pouch with a desiccant packet. I assume that they subdivide from a larger quantity.

    Best,

    Don
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    don,
    they either have a small dilute bottle of the developer
    that is already pre made/pre-mixed, put into a 8oz bottle
    or they inclued powder that would be able to make
    1L of stock dektol powder
    and have the end user add water to all the ingredients
    to make 1 gallon of their developer.
    one could always mix a gallon
    of stock dektol( or 1L or a smaller amount of D72 from raw chemicals )
    mix your chemistry and add enough straight/stock dektol to be dilute into your
    mixture. so it if is 950cc of your fluid mixture you are making, one could make it to be
    712.5ml and top it off with stock dektol to make 950cc.
     
  3. DonF

    DonF Member
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    My recipe is based on the quantities in the bulk kit, which contains 148g of powdered Dektol. Divided into fourths (for 950ml-sized batches), that works out to 37 grams of powdered Dektol dissolved in 950ml of final developer solution or a 3.9% solution.

    The normal stock solution preparation for a bag of Dektol is 551g of Dektol powdered dissolved in 3.8 liter of water or a 14.5% solution.

    Following the suggestion you made to use stock Dektol solution instead of powder, you would be adding 950ml - 712.5ml = 237.5ml of stock Dektol. At 14.5% strength, that amount would contain 34.4 grams of Dektol, which is about the same as my 37 grams of powdered Dektol! :D Nice job!

    If you wanted to be precise, the stock solution equivalent of 37 grams of Dektol would be 255ml. So, dissolve the 75 grams of sodium sulfate in about 400ml of lukewarm distilled water, cool, add 62.5ml of prepared 41% ammonium thiocyanate solution, add water to make 695ml, then add 255ml of stock Dektol solution.

    I like that approach!

    Best,

    Don
     
  4. analog65

    analog65 Member
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    This is some really good information guys! I just updated my notes and on the next batch, I will use this info.

    I am in the process of learning gumoil printing and I was planning to make interpositives from my original negatives. But, based on this information, I am thinking I can use this developer on my large format silver gelatin dry plates to make the positive right on my glass plate and save a step! It would be fun to then have the positive glass plates to display too. Anyone see an issue with this?

    Thanks

    Andy


     
  5. DonF

    DonF Member
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    I have not tried the formula on anything but AG Plus, but have read accounts of others using it on other brands and homemade emulsion. It would work as well on dry plate ambrotypes on glass as on metal, I would think.

    Don
     
  6. richyd

    richyd Member
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    Thanks, Don for your developer help a few months ago. I managed to to do few plates and they worked well. Interestingly I also got very good results from some D19 I had mixed many months previously with just the addition of ammonium thiocyanate. Being so old I guess the developer weakened as it took at least 4mins but results were good.

    The question I want to ask is did you experience a lot of sediment formation in the developer after processing? I would get a large amount and sometimes, a plate would come out looking cloudy but found that there was a very fine cloudy film which just rubbed off when rinsing.

    BTW love your wet plate results in that thread.
    Thanks
    Richard
     
  7. DonF

    DonF Member
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    Hi, Richard,

    I'm glad the formula worked for you. I experienced the same sediment with both Rockland's packaged developer and my formulation. It is worse with either under or over-exposed images...I forget which. The particles can contaminate subsequent plates and cause weird metallic effects on highlights. Others have experienced the same thing. I started replacing the developer after each plate, using just enough to cover the plate in a small tray. I did not use significantly more developer and the results were much more consistent. The sludge can indeed obscure the developing image.

    That particulate will also build up in crevices in your developer tray. Be sure to clean thoroughly after a developing session.

    Thanks for the compliment on the wet plates. I am starting to get good consistent results. It's quite a feat working out lighting required, chemistry and camera/lens. There are very many variables. Cleanliness and consistency is the key, with obsessive filtering of everything.

    Here are a couple from Friday of my son and daughter, plus a nostalgia shot...

    Best,

    Don

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. DonF

    DonF Member
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    My daughter and I switched back to the Rockland AGPlus emulsion tintypes after 8 months of shooting collodion. Not bad for our first efforts in a while!

    Best,

    Don

    img262.jpg img263.jpg img264.jpg img265.jpg img267.jpg
     

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  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    don

    its great to see you back !
    and back with SVGtintypes :smile:
     
  10. OP
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    bvy

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    Good to hear from you again, Don! So is this cyclical for you, or have you decided that you prefer dry plates over wet plate?
     
  11. DonF

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    We are definitely not done with wet plate, but wanted to hit the field in the nice weather with a newly-acquired Graflex Super Graphic 4x5 camera, and were not up to putting together a mobile darkroom!

    The old developer from last year was the color of black ink, so we mixed up some fresh reversal developer from dry ingredients on-hand and broke out the unused bottle of AGPlus in the fridge.

    I discovered a red safelight can be used at pretty high levels without fogging the emulsion! I use a 25watt "party" red LED bulb from Lowes, pointed upward at the ceiling. Before we were using a dark amber light that gave about as much light as a match. What a differences, both in plate prep and processing!

    The added speed of the gelatin emulsion is nice, as it has some latitude for greater depth of field. We also tried it for the first time with our 4800ws and three Speedotron Black Line flash heads. We needed to go to f/16 with those, where we would be shooting at f/4.5 with collodion. That was fun.

    There is also a different "look" of the finished plate with the gelatin. Reticulation is still a bit of an issue.

    Almost all the plates we shot last year that I had sprayed with an oil-based polyurethane varnish cracked/separated from the plate! This time I used a water-based acrylic artist's archival-quality varnish, which is poured on and the excess dripped off of a corner, then laid flat to dry. We use that on wet plate instead of the traditional sandarac varnish with great results. It seems to work well on the gelatin emulsion so far.

    Best,

    Don
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  12. OP
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    bvy

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    I hate it when you come around, Don (!). Just when I thought I put dry plate out of my mind, you show up with these fabulous results and a bend-over-backwards willingness to help, and the gears start spinning again. I've gotten some good results from the Rockland kit, but it's always inconsistent. Probably my fault...

    So are you using three heads to give you a total output of 4800ws? That can't be three heads at 4800ws each. That would be blinding!

    Also, are you using the AG Plus emulsion straight, or are you adding a hardener or some other additives to it? What kind of plates are you using now, and how are you coating them?

    Thanks!
     
  13. DonF

    DonF Member
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    Heh...I'm happy to help!

    Well, not too fabulous but not bad after being away from the process for so long. Now that I can use the much brighter safelight, I'll try to video the plate prep and development process.

    On the Speedotron units, I picked up 2-2400ws power units and 3-102 flash heads with the large parabolic reflectors. Each flash head has the capability to run at 2400ws max with a single tube, but can run at reduced power. The power packs have switches to combine all output power to a single flash head, or split it in various combinations. For that shot of my daughter, I used one power pack and one head at 2400ws for the key light. I split the power on the second pack between 1600ws for the fill and 800 for the backlight. I have a simple button wired into the master pack's trigger and a small 2-blade optical slave trigger plugged into the other unit to sync them. I use the "T" setting on the shutter to toggle it open and closed with a cable release. I pull the slide, open the shutter, pop the flash, close the shutter and insert the slide. If I'm lazy, I leave the shutter open from focusing and just use the slide. No problem in a darkened room with the flash, but not good practice!

    I have some of the purple chrome alum hardener I was sent last year, so think I need to start using it again. I only have issues with reticulation on overexposed plates on the exposed emulsion. It was far better than before, though. I think I left a plate in the fixer and rinse way too long.

    I'm still using the Main Trophy Supply plates, lightly sanded with ultra-fine sandpaper and cleaned with sodium carbonate solution. No subbing. Worked pretty well! Rockland's anodized plates are superior in adhesion though, but way too thin.

    I coat by immersing the AGPlus in 120 degree water, decant 10ml or so to beaker, add 2 drops of PhotoFlo, mix. Wear gloves! Pre-heat plates on heating pad. Pour emulsion liberally on plate. tilt to coat (like collodion), but sliding finger onto plate from edge to wipe and wet dry areas near edge. Pour off one corner (not too much), then backflow to even coating. Blow on any bubbles to pop. Place on heating pad to warm and even coating (not too long), then transfer to chilled pizza stone to set gelatin. Transfer to cookie racks in dark room overnight to dry (8 hours minimum). Place in plate holders and go!

    I'm still using my reverse-engineered Rockland developer. The dried chems were all good from last year.

    Best.

    Don
     
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  15. DonF

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    Just a few more recent shots. Getting the hang of exposure-setting. Tricky and little room for error.

    Don


    img276.jpg img277.jpg img278.jpg img279.jpg img280.jpg img281.jpg img282.jpg img284.jpg
     
  16. jnanian

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    great stuff you are doing again donF ..
    glad to seeyour work again !
     
  17. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    I coated some art papers with AG+. The images were low contrast and the emulsion slid off the paper in the wash. I thought the process was a colossal waste of time and effort. I know people who have had a better experience though. YMMV.
     
  18. OP
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    bvy

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    Don, I wonder if you would show us what one or two of these look like in context? In other words, photograph them as objects on a table top in good natural light, or hung on a wall, or even held in hand. They're stunning as computer images, but I'm wondering how they look in person. And since I don't live near you, I can't easily stop over (!).

    Thanks!
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    was the emulsion old ? the only time i have had similar problems ( sliding / peeling off paper )
    was when i was using 20 year old emulsion .. i coated the paper with knox gelatin and it worked fine after that..
    also i put hardener in my fixer and it also helps a lot ..
     
  20. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Not unless Freestyle sent me old emulsion. I understand Rollei offers a separate hardener for its liquid emulsion which can also be used with AG+.
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    yeah ... r/c used to be sold with a little bottle of hardener too ...
    i never used it though, i just added hardener to either my fixer,
    did the same thing ...
     
  22. psynchro

    psynchro Member

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    Hi guys,

    I found this thread through Jnanian and have been carefully making my own plans to try the mixture DonF noted above. I'm working on pinhole-exposed glass plates, but as of yet have never made a glass plate in my life, lol. I've been working with liquid light for 2 years. I'm going to try both knox gelatin and also the hot pad then cold brick (in my case since we don't have pizza stones in Korea to my knowledge) method with simply emulsion and glass. I have a quick question and a slightly longer one.

    Quick question: By using Kodak hardening fixer is that enough to satisfy sufficient hardening on the glass plates?

    And the second question refers to this:
    I want to use this work for a group show in November and plan on using the positives directly for the artwork. I'd like to carefully avoid the unfortunate case of cracking if there is the fortunate case of my work being sold. I've read Rockland's info and read a lot on these forums and it seems gelatin is the way to go for subbing. I also need to apply a protection to the glass plate which I plan on displaying against black velvet.

    From the LL instruction manual from Rockland:

    "For best protection, coat the dried print thinly with a water-based polyurethane finish. (Not the same as oil-based polyurethane used as a pre-coat.) Any other type of lacquer or solvent-based coating can be used".

    Is there an ideal protective coat someone would recommend? Would it be the water-based acrylic Don F uses? Is "archival" the key word to look for?

    Thanks so much!!

    Julian
     
  23. psynchro

    psynchro Member

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    Oh and btw, Don if I didn't see the remarkable contrast in your results I wouldn't even be thinking about doing this! :tongue:
     
  24. jnanian

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    hi psynchro

    i've never top-coated my plates with anything but whenever i see ambrotypes
    in a junk store they always behind a sheet of glass that they were cased with
    to provide protection. maybe people who make wet plate ambrotypes can give you
    some guidance about that, i think they use lavender oil ? and/ or sandarac varnish?
    sorry for my cluelessness !
    john
     
  25. Photo Engineer

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    Kodak (or any) hardening fix should be enough.

    PE
     
  26. DonF

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    I have been using a water-based acrylic varnish designed for overcoating acrylic paintings. It's called "Liquitex Acrylic Polymer Varnish - Gloss". It runs about $17.00 for 16 ounces, but frequently can be had for 40% off with a Michaels (US craft retailer) coupon. One bottle has coated close to 100 4x5 collodion plates and I have 1/4 bottle left. I brush the dust off, pour a good sized puddle in the middle and tilt to all four corners to cover, then pour of one edge until it slowly drips. You don't want to pour off too much, or it may not cure evenly. I backflow across the plate for even coverage and gently tap the edge of the plate to remove any bubbles, or use a toothpick to pop stubborn ones. NEVER shake the varnish, or you will have major bubble issues! The pouring process is similar to pouring a collodion plate, except you have many minutes to work with the varnish. The stuff goes on milky, but dries ultra-clear. It needs a several day drying time on AG+, as it is water based and the emulsion absorbs the water, slowing curing time some. It may look dry, but the plates will stick together if stacked too soon!!

    I tried Sandarac varnish, but it is messy and finicky to work with. It can dissolve collodion off the plate if the formula is not balanced correctly. It also must be heated and is tough to remove if it spills. It is much like liquid tree sap (which it is). Super sticky! I have never tried used it on dry plates.

    I tried the same process (Liquitex) with dry plate tintypes (Rockland process). It works well, but I sometimes have issues with "frilling" or roughness in the dried gelatin. The varnish will cover it, but not entirely cover the rough texture. It still works well as a protection and I have had no cracking or peeling from the plate, as I did with the spray acrylic. Tintypes will tarnish if not coated. I don't think a gelatin-based emulsion would be subject to tarnishing as the silver is embedded in the gelatin, so you may be able to skip the protective coating completely.

    I had mixed results with food-grade gelatin subbing. I generally don't bother for tin, just using a light sanding of trophy aluminum with 1200 grit wet sandpaper and a sodium carbonate scrub. With glass, you are going to sub with something, as sanding is not an option. Rockland recommends the egg white route, but I have never tried AG+ on glass.

    The Kodak hardening fixer seems to shrink the emulsion as it hardens. Any small thin areas in the AG+ coating will enlarge, sometimes causing visible holes in the image. Coating AG+ too thinly, using too much Photoflo or heating too long on heating pad make this worse. I also found a full 24 hour dry time for the AG+ on the plates helps prevent frilling/graininess issues.

    I think you'll find that the developer formula I documented here works quite well.

    Best,

    Don
     
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