USING A PRINT GLAZER FOR FB PRINTS : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

How does one use a print glazer for FB prints?? They are meant to make the print really flat and add a high gloss?? Is this right? Are there any tricks etc how to use them properly??

I suppose they are rather old fashioned and haven't seen any stuff on the threads regarding Glazers. Can anyone help please as someone is giving me a Glazer soon. My FB prints are rather rough surface (Forte FB Gloss. Anything to get them nice and flat..... Thanks David Strachan

-- David Strachan (, March 29, 2000


To glaze prints, one usually uses a highly polished metal plate and a hotbed drier. The print is put on the polished face of the plate with its glossy (i.e. image) side. Dry the thing in the hotbed drier. If everything works out well (which it frequently doesn't) you get a very glossy print.

What can go wrong?

1) The polished face of the plate must be absolutely clean and free of scratches. Any unevenness of the surface will appear in the print surface as the gelatin of the print melts when it gets hot. Any contamination of the plate tends to either cause faulty gloss or makes the print stick to the plate, from where you can't easily remove it w/o destroying it.

2) It is also essential that there are no air bubbles (correct word?) between the print and the plate, or you will get a mixture of high gloss and "natural" gloss (which is a bit less glossy).

3) It is recommended that you use some kind of chemical aid to bath the print in before you lay it on the plate. I just remember one name of a German brand, Tetenal Glanzol, but I am sure there are others.

BTW: The "rough gloss" you are referring to is not so bad at all. Many people (including myself) are particularly fond of it as it gives the print a more "natural" look, whereas the glazed prints may seem somewhat synthetica (but that's a matter of personal taste).

As for "flat" prints: See the pertinent thread in the printing and finishing forum for a method w/o any expensive hardware and electricity.

-- Thomas Wollstein (, March 30, 2000.

If I remember correctly, you 'ferrotype [sp?]' prints, that is make them glossy, by placing them wet, and face down onto the metal surface, and then they are heat dried. The dryer is built in, I guess they could also be air-dried.

Problems with this were that the shiny metal surface had to be absolutely spotlessly clean [it could be wet] and that the canvas backing that went over the back of the print, could, over time, absorb a lot of chemicals from perhaps badly washed prints. Depends on who had been using it.

My last experience with this was in high school, working on the yearbook.

-- Christian Harkness (, March 30, 2000.


From what I've read (for I have never glazed my prints, I love air-dried gloss) you are right. You can indeed air-dry prints on a polished surface. In most books on printing written say 20 years ago, the standard procedure was to use a clean sheet of glass (such as your morning toilet mirror), put the print on it face down, and make sure there are no air bubbles by pressing it to the sheet using a rubber roller. If everything went well, the print was to dry on its own and fall off on its own. The hotbed drier was always regarded as luxury. In a more recent book, I found another interesting suggestion. It has always been a critical step to get the prints off the sheet when they didn't come off on their own. The author that more recent book claimed that he had successfully used a highly polished, thin sheet of plastic (Resopal in German, a pretty inert material used for many workbenches in kitchens, signs outdoor, etc.). He saw the advantage in the flexibility of that sheet. He claims that when the print is dry, he just bends it a little, and the print easily comes off. So there are at least reports that it can be done w/o heating.

-- Thomas Wollstein (, March 31, 2000.

I used to use ferrotype sheets and air dry for high gloss. Now I don't like high gloss for most prints and haven't ferrotyped in years. One thing of importance. Make very sure that there are no air bubbles between the print and ferrotype surface. Use a roller or squeegee on the back to assure good contact. Also, use a weight on the back to keep the print flat. If it starts to curl, it can leave marks on the print which will be very visible in the high gloss.

-- Richard Newman (, March 31, 2000.

When there was nothing but Fibre Base paper available, glazing was the bain of the amateur photographers life.

It's almost impossible to get a perfect glaze with amateur equipment. Flat-bed glazers just do not work well. The plate has to be really thickly chromed (don't even think about using stainles steel), and the print has to be very heavily squashed against the plate. You need a strong arm to apply enough pressure with a hand roller.

You can use ordinary plate glass and let the prints air dry, but you might never get them off the glass again. The only 100% effective way to do it is with a big professional roller glazer. Get your darkroom floor strengthened!

-- Pete Andrews (, April 03, 2000.

Thanks everyone for your help. You've all terrified with stories of how hard it is to glaze well. Anyway someone is giving me on soon so will try with some "not-quite-right" prints" and let you know of my trial and tribulations.

Cheers David Strachan

-- David Strachan (, April 07, 2000.

Glazing is rather less successful with modern papers. Older papers (and modern 'retro' papers such as those introduced by Bergger etc) had a thick emulsion, and the glazing process literally caused the gelatin emulsion to 'collapse' under the heat forming a smooth glassy surface.

-- Mani Sitaraman (, April 17, 2000.

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