washing in a tray with a siphon - your process?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by hoffy, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Howdy,

    I've finally bitten the bullet and decided to play with fibre papers for the first time tonight. My biggest hold back in the past has been my fear of washing properly.

    What I have done tonight for washing is 5 minutes in a tray, sloshing the water around, tipping it out regularly (the same method that I use to wash RC prints), followed by 5 minutes in Ilford Wash Aid, with constant agitation with a final wash in a big 16 x 20 tray, with a jury rigged siphon, that I have made out of half inch irrigation tube, with a crimped end to restrict the flow. As I am a bit paranoid, I have washed for 15 to 20 minutes, doing a full change of water at the five minute mark.

    OK, I am probably going over the top a bit, so I want to ask, what do people do when the wash with a siphon? Do they just let the water run, with the print pretty much laying in the bottom of the tray and let the siphon do the work? Or do people constantly change the water (as per what I am doing?)

    Any opinions are welcome!
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    According to Kodak, the water flow rate for washing film or prints is equivalent to one complete change of water every 5 minutes, or 12 complete changes per hour.

    I use the "one change of water every 5 minutes" soak, total of 12, for one hour total time in clean water. I use one 5 minute soak, one soak in HCA(fresh), followed with the 12 changes of H2O, test for residual fixer(never had any show up), squeegee onto the platen of my drum dryer, dry for 4-5 hours on LOW setting. No curling with this drying method.
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    A siphon is a pretty traditional method of changing the water in the wash tray. Just keep doing what you are doing.
     
  4. peterlat

    peterlat Member

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    Archival wash for fiber papers

    Here are Ilford's recommendations for an archival washing sequence. I tend to give it a bit more than that. Also, you can buy, from Photographers Formulary, a residual hypo test kit that will give you a good indication of whether you're washing properly.

    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/faqentries.asp?n=11&t=Paper
     
  5. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I think you need to give more washing time actually. Ilfords recommendation doesn't work for me. You really need to run residual hypo tests on a "washed" print to determine if your method is up to standards or not. You can buy a test at PF. Here is the link. After fixing I wash for 5 minutes in a tray siphon, then 5 minutes in a washing aid, as you do, then final wash for 1 hour in a slot washer with water running very slowly.
     
  6. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    A lot depends on your fixing method, but unless you are doing a minute or less in non-hardening rapid fix (per the Ilford sequence) I'd echo the thoughts that your wash times are a bit short rather than "paranoid."

    As I don't have running water in my darkroom but make out with trays and a seven gallon water container filled from the hose as needed, I do a version of the successive soaks. I soak prints for ten minutes in a large tub of water, followed by ten minutes in a wash aid, then an hour in successive changes of water. Five minutes is ideal but it rather depends on how much water and how many prints.

    I echo the advice to get a residual hypo test kit.

    Oh yes, the Ilford sequence: using a single fixing bath like this will exhaust it quickly, at least for this method. It will still test good with hypo check. I prefer two bath fixing for fiber base, but 30 second fix times are hard to keep accurate and repeat - heck sometimes the print can stick a bit and make it hard to get out in time. I do a minute in each of two baths, another reason to use longer times than Ilford recommends. Plus, their method was tested back when it came out and works for most papers, including all of Ilfords, but not all other fiber papers. The old Kodak Elite was said not to wash fully with their method, so again get the hypo test kit.
     
  7. washing in a tray with a siphon - your process?

    Yes, the prints wash while I am making other prints.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i never use a siphon mainly because i never believed they really washed the prints.
    i have a big plastic tray that i drilled holes into the sides of that i use as both a water jacket
    ( for tray processing film ) and as a holding tray when i print. prints get put in face to face
    back to back and the water slowly fills the tray and it leaks out of the holes.

    after i am done with that run of prints,
    i wash the prints 5 mins fill, shuffle dump,
    then perma wash 5 mins shuffle dump
    then final wash 10 mins fill, shuffle and dump
    single weight paper gets the same treatment but
    3 or 4 mins instead of 5
    and the final wash about 8 mins ...

    a lot of people don't know how to use a siphon correctly,
    or the rotary drum washers, or the giant circular tub ...
    corners of rc prints can scratch other prints, people run the stuff
    too fast so edges and corners are creased/bent
    or with the siphon it runs too fast and doesn't exchange the water so
    it doesn't wash the prints.
    it is good to have 1 bad print that you run through your print+wash routine
    so you can do your residual hypo tests and make sure your methods do
    what you hoped they would do ...

    good luck !
    john
     
  9. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    +1

    It's probably OK to let the print sit with the water running over it if you have only one print. If you're washing more than one print, though, you'll need to shuffle them manually while the siphon is running. Otherwise the prints will tend to clump together and some of them won't get enough fresh water flow to their entire surfaces.

    Regardless, don't guess - test.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    A running water wash that changes the water 12 times in an hour is a much more extensive wash than 12 fill and dump cycles in a one hour period.

    Provided of course that the running water is moving throughout the tray.
     
  11. OP
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    hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I'm curious for those washing for an hour - I thought using a wash aid was to enable a shorter washing time? If you wash for an hour WITH a wash aid, how long would you wash without?
     
  12. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    I've often read that it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to get a true archival quality wash of DW FB paper without a wash aid, no matter how long you wash. (Maybe soaking over night in enough water, if it didn't damage the base or emulsion.)

    I remember when this article appeared and still have the magazines, but here's a reprint of an excellent article about washing, and tests showing just how effective wash aid is:

    Part 1:

    http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.org.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=296&garpg=2

    Part 2:

    http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.org.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=344&garpg=2
     
  13. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I use the siphon, not to provide a final wash, but to provide a pre-wash for about 3 to 5 minutes, then they go to a holding tray ("they" being only the work prints / final prints that I want to keep)----I make judicial use of the trash can. Albeit somewhat cumbersome, I do all my final washing in the tub with several cycles of fill (agitate constantly for about 6 min), then drain, then fill and agitate again, etc...I only fill to the point that the prints start to float in the water. I've never had a residual hypo test return positive doing it this way. I hope to improve to an actual archival print washer with my darkroom that I'm preparing.
     
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  15. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    My take:

    Using a tray siphon should be fine if it is functioning properly, if you wash long enough, and if you ensure that the back of the print gets as much exposure to the wash water as the front. Don't leave it stuck to the bottom of the tray, turn it periodically.

    Your times are too short unless you are using the rather wasteful Ilford sequence and TESTING to make sure that there is acceptable residual hypo.

    Print washers for fiber-base prints are well worth the investment if you want to wash more than one print at a time. eBay is full of them. Once you have one, you'll never go back. Buy one for the largest size you regularly print.

    Fiber-base papers take more care with fixation. Two-bath fixation is standard and less wasteful than the Ilford sequence (as well as presenting less chance of working your fixer to exhaustion without realizing it). I use rapid fixers and fix in each bath for 1.5-2 minutes. This is followed by selenium toning, a rinse, a bath in wash aid for 10 minutes (or longer, sometimes I let the prints collect in the hypo-clear) and then a wash in an "archival" washer for minimum of one hour. Finally, a rinse in Sistan (a stabilizer) and then squeegee and dry.

    My last residual hypo (HT-2) test (done before the stabilizer step), at one hour, showed no stain for any of the papers I use. The residual silver test also showed no stain, meaning my fixing sequence is adequate.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  16. OP
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    hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Yes, I did turn the print periodically, as well as giving it a push down every so often if it floated to the top.

    Also, I'm curious. What is wasteful about the 'Ilford sequence'? Is it the dilution of wash aid?

    Cheers
     
  17. OP
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    hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Hey Folks! Just digging back into this. I can't believe its been this long since I first tried fibre printing. Unfortunately I have done very little of it since.

    Anyhow, I do have some paper winging its way to me. I will adjust my process - I'll be using sodium sulphite instead of a commercial wash aid and I'll make sure that I extend my wash as well.

    I also have a residual fixer test kit coming as well. Just a quick question in regards to using that. Is it OK to test on the back of the print?

    Cheers
     
  18. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    The residual fixer test should be done on the border of the print, the back has different characteristics, so doesn't count.
     
  19. OP
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    hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    OK. What is the best way to determine whether the middle of the print is being washed sufficiently? Do I have to sacrifice a sheet?
     
  20. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Hmmmm, I guess so.
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    That is the other thing test strips are for.
    That and setting up toning.
     
  22. OP
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    hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I would have thought that the water flow over a test strip really wouldn't be a good indication? Or am I simply over thinking this?
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I use 4"x5" or larger test "strips".
    But more importantly, effective washing is actually a process of diffusion. So with the exception of a situation where a part of your print was excluded from the wash water, a test done on any part of the print should reveal useful information.
     
  24. OP
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    hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Good point.
     
  25. mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    Diffusion! absolutely. It takes time. After fixing, I just give the print a quick rinse , like 1 minute in 20C running water and the directly into Se 1:3 mixed with Hypo clear. Then 3 to 5 minutes in fresh working strength Hypo Clearing Agent. (If you get staining from the toner print isn't fixed) Then quick tray wash to get most of the chemicals washed off. Then into an archival print washer. I fill the washer with water, then I turn on a circulation pump, creates nice flow of water across the prints. Every 5 to 10 minutes empty all the water from the washer and refill. Usually 6 cycles.

    When i don't have a lot of prints I do the same thing in a tray. I just stand there and rock the tray back and forth, changing the water every 3 minute or so. GENTLY.

    Wash water temperature is critical as well. I try to stay as close to 20C as possible, any warmer and you can soften the emulsion, any colder and the diffusion through the gelatin slows as well as chemicals being less soluble.

    Every picture I hang on my wall is a fiber print, but I use a lot of RC to get the bugs worked out before I get out the FB paper.

    Best Mike
     
  26. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    At one time Kodak made a syphon designed to hang on the edge of a tray. You might try to find one on ebay.