Window for Selenium Toning : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

How long can one wait before selenium toning a print as a step in archival processing? Because of my schedule (free time), I often find myself rushed near the end of a printing session, and it would be convenient to be able to wash and dry my prints and then perhaps tone them and rewash a few days later. Also, anyone know if gold toning requires less washing time? I suspect that this may be the case since selenium toner contains hypo -- Formulary's gold toner doesn't.

-- Christopher Hargens (, September 29, 2000


I've toned prints weeks after printing and drying with so far so good results. Key is to soak the prints for a few minutes BEFORE toning.

-- Ted Davis (, September 29, 2000.


Theoretically, you should be able to selenium tone a print successfully at any time after initial processing if it has been fixed and washed sufficiently. I personally have waited a year or more to tone some prints and have had no problems whatsoever. Soaking the prints in water first is necessary to open the emulsion and promote even toning. If you are not 100% absolutely sure that the print has been adequately fixed, I would also recommend re-fixing in a non-hardening fixing bath immediately prior to the toning (plain hypo or rapid fix without hardener) and transfer the print directly from the fix to the toning bath without a rinse in between.

My method for processing uses the two-fixing-bath method with a break between fixes: During a printing session, I develop, stop and fix in the first bath (3 minutes in general purpose hypo fixer or 30-45 seconds in rapid fixer mixed film strength). I then wash and dry the prints, live with them for a while and decide on the "keepers". These are then later soaked, fixed in a non-hardening second fixing bath and toned (after which comes hypo-clear and wash). Sometimes the interval between these printing and toning session is months. Although half-fixed prints should not be stored long-term, a few weeks (or even months) seems to have no deleterious effect whatsoever and allows one the time to objectively evaluate prints over a period of time and in different lighting conditions.

Hope this helps, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, September 30, 2000.

Thanks for the information. I use Formulary's TF-4 rapid fixer, an alkaline fixer, in one bath, plain water as a stop bath and no hypo clear (per Formulary's suggestion that it is not required). I've tested my prints for residual hypo and they've come out with no stains. After selenium toning a print, I do use hypo clear (per Kodak's suggestion). I agree that sometimes one has to live with a print before deciding whether it's a "keeper". Further, I often would rather wait to see a print dry before deciding about bleaching and degree of toning. As I mentioned in my first post, I would like to use a toner other than selenium if I could achieve the same perserving effect without have to hypo clear and rewash for an hour. I'll probably be e-mailing Formulary sometime soon to get the processing specs for their gold toners, and then make a decision.

-- Christopher Hargens (, September 30, 2000.

I just used selenium toner that I diluted 1+9 and used one year ago, and it's still great! A very economical toner indeed! :-)

-- Patric (, September 30, 2000.

Patric, I have come to the provisional conclusion that selenium toner can be used practically indefinitely. As the toning solution becomes weaker and the toning times too long, a small amount of the stock can be added as a sort of replenisher. After long use or storage a black precipitate can form. This can easily be filtered out with filter paper such as a coffee filter or the like. The same solution can be used, stored and replenished for years. This eliminates the environmental concerns and disposal problems entirely. I have one gallon of solution that has been going for almost 3 years now. I originally had concerns that by-products might build up in the toner solution, but I now believe that any by-products (e.g. thiosulfate compounds) precipitate out and are removed with filtering. I test my prints regularly for residual silver and hypo and they always pass with flying colors. Instead of dumping that old toner down the drain next time, just add a few ounces of stock and keep using it and you'll see what I'm talking about. No use being irresponsible if you don't need to be. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, October 01, 2000.

Doremus, it's great! One can say that selenium toner is the opposit of developers with amidol! They keep for only 2-3 hours! >:-)

-- Patric (, October 01, 2000.

Au Contrare Mn Frer! Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee use Amidol ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL day. And they print for 10 hours straight!

-- Sean yates (, October 02, 2000.

doremus, just read your notes on toning. you know ive toned for years and always dumped my toner. i use it once and get rid of it. i cant believe ive done this all my life. that selenium is so expensive (50) a gallon. im glad i came accross your notes. i will try your way from now on. i do over a hundred prints a week and now i can do them with less cost. thanks so much. i do like rc paper because it works so fast. i havent had any trouble with that. again thanks. ernie

-- ernie bouchard (, October 21, 2000.

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