Step by step process for fiber based paper? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I've recently bought my first box of fiber based paper (Oriental Seagul) and I am curious on what is the most common process developing/archiving.

This is how I've started: 1.Develope as normal (Dektol mixed 1:2 for a minute and a half, Stop Bath for 30 seconds. 2.Fix for five minutes 3.Wash for ten (I don't have any real expensive print washer. Just a tub with a hose running into it). 4.Fix for another five minutes 5.Wash for a half hour. 6.Selenium toner (mixed 1:15) for 3 minutes. 7.Wash for another half hour.

Then I let them sit on a screen to dry. They get completely curled up so I've been trying to flatten them and put them in our print mounting press, Heating them up for a minute or so, after they have dried.

I've been reading other posts here that similar to this but I was wondering if someone could help me fill in a few holes and point me in the right direction.

I'm most concerned with the curling of the paper when it dries. My first attempts left me with a crease and small bubbles where I tried to flatten the thing enough to get it into the print press.

-- Scott Haraldson (, January 21, 2001


Scott Everything looks pretty good,although I wonder why you are fixing, washing, fixing again, washing, and then toning. I have been doing black and white on and off for 30 years and I have always assumed that the main purpose of washing was to get the fixer to leach out of the paper. Others may disagree, but I develop, stop, fix, rinse, hypo eliminator, wash, and tone. Don't be alarmed just because you do not have a fancy washer. BUT do be alarmed if you are putting a print in there to wash and then adding to that print and adding and adding, etc. Washing is more of a leaching operation, and if you keep contaminating the water with new prints that have just come out of the fixer the first prints will not be clean and your water will be constantly contaminated. Far far better to go to the local kmart or walmart and buy a few cheap plastic trays and use them. put enough water to cover print completely, allow ONE print to sit in each one for 5 minutes, dump, fill again, etc. Finally, might I suggest that you purchase some testing solution to check your prints for complete washing. It will help you to develop a washing technique that will assure you that your prints are washed thoroughly. You will then get better toning and you can be assured of better permanence without yellowing. Good Luck. Kevin

-- Kevin Kolosky (, January 21, 2001.

An excellent way to get flatter fiber-base prints is to dry them between two screens, placing two prints back-to-back. That is, a print face down, then a print face up exactly on top of it, then a second screen on top of that. You can speed up the drying with a small fan if overnight doesn't do the trick. Most prints dried this way can then be flattened completely under a matboard with a weight, without having to run them through a dry mount press.---Carl

-- Carl Weese (, January 21, 2001.

I try not to worry too much about prints curling. I just put them under a heavy dictionary or a few full boxes of printing paper overnight.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, January 21, 2001.


It seems to me that you are fixing your prints for a very long time. As was previously point out, the purpose of washing is to remove residual thiosulfate (fixer) from the paper. The longer your prints are in fixer, the more will be absorbed by the paper's fiber. There are different methods for achieving the same result, and the Ilford archival processing method is one. It recommends using film strength, radpid fixer for exactly one minute. The theory is less time in the fixer, the less fixer absorbed by the paper.

You may want to consider revising your current regime. There is no real benefit from washing between the two fix baths. Two fix baths are recommended, as fresh fixer helps remove the byproducts of fixing. Also, Kodak's selenium toner contains thiosulfate, so you really shouldn't do any great washing before the toning, because it will only need to be redone. Selenium is the exception though. Other toners, notably the brown toners, need to be applied to fully washed prints. If traces of thiosulfate remain in the print, streaking and blotching will result.

My procedure with FB paper is: Develop 2min, Stop 5-10 sec., Fix 2 baths at 30 sec each (film strength rapid fixer Amonium Thiosulfate) Wash 5 min, Selenium toning, Fix 2 baths at 30 sec each, Wash 5 min, Permawash 2 minutes, archival washer 1 hour.


-- Pete Caluori (, January 22, 2001.

I'm glad I stumbled upon this post. Good question. I agree with the others about your step 3. Wash between the two fixing baths. You can skip it. Also, ten minutes in fixer seems like a long time.

So now my question: Because Kodak Selenium is the exception in that it contains the thiosulfate, can you go directly from the last fixer bath into the toner without washing? I think I read somewhere that you could (I think it was even Ansel Adam's "The Print") but I was sort of astonished by it and thought at the time that maybe we have new evidence that would suggest that a wash in between the fix and the toner would be better. Great post.

-- Tony Rowlett (, January 22, 2001.

Here goes...

Develop two to three minutes, depending on temperature and what's required for full development. Be consistent though; don't change development time very much during a printing session. Resist the urge to "pull" a print.

Stop 10 seconds or so. I sometimes use the stop as a "holding" place while getting another print out of the fix and into the rinse or HCA.

I use the Ilford quick-fix method, two baths for 30 seconds each if doing a lot of prints or a single bath if doing only a very few prints. No more than one minute total time. Note that this may not work with some papers; staining in selenium toner will tell you for sure.

Next a print goes into the wash tank for rinsing/holding.

When the batch is done, I give them _complete_ toning in KRST 1:4 three minutes for Ilford MG and eight minutes for Ilford MGWT.

Investigation done by Doug Nishimura of the IPI suggests that the usual "light" toning in KRST really does nothing towards permanance; what was actually happening was that an impurity in KRST was sulfiding a bit and that was providing the protection...but that impurity is no longer present in KRST. He recommends _at least_ three minutes in selenium toner of _at least_ 1:9 strength.

Next is 10-15 minutes in HCA with good agitation, then they go back into the wash tank. I let 'em wash an hour, beginning when the last print is put into the tank.

I hang the prints on a line with plastic clothespins to dry.

Once they're all dry, usually overnight, I stack them under a weight to get some of the ferocious curl out, then press them flat in a drymount press.

-- John Hicks (, January 22, 2001.

Pete, do I read right that you're giving two fixing sessions of double 30-second baths? Why?

-- John Hicks (, January 22, 2001.


Yes John, you read me correctly. Here's why, bear in mind I can't quote the chemimistry off the top of my head: During fixing, some by- products are created, which are very difficult to remove from the paper, but fresh fixer helps remove them. This is why the 2 bath method is recommended. Since Kodak's Rapid Selenium toner contains Thiosulfate (aka fixer) I figure fresh fixer will aid in removing these by-products. Especially since I reuse the toner and there is probably a lot of old, residual fixer in it.

You can pretty much go from fixer into selenium, but selenium will far outlast fixer and your selenium will get contaminated quickly. Excessive fixer in the print may cause staining when put in selenium, so a short wash to lower the fixer levels in the print doesn't hurt. This is not true for brown toners, where are full wash is necessary before toning, or staining will result.

Regards, Pete

-- Pete caluori (, January 23, 2001.

Not only can't I quote the chemistry, but I can's spell it either.:)

Regards, Pete

-- Pete Caluori (, January 23, 2001.

OK, I understand about the second round of fixing. I'd never seen that recommended anywhere but otoh we're often finding that what's often recommended isn't necessarily so and what isn't recommended is exactly what we need to do. I wonder if anyone's ever carefully measured residual thiosulfate or complex levels after selenium toning?

-- John Hicks (, January 24, 2001.

Hi John, Check this page for Ilford recommendations on processing FB paper. They do recommend a two-bath fixing (page 2) to get maximum use of your fixer. Another alternative would be to use one single bath but keep changing the fixer so it would be always fresh. There's also an explanation on how to check if the paper was adequately fixed. Enjoy, Herbet.

-- Herbet Camerino (, January 24, 2001.

> do recommend a two-bath fixing

I use two-bath when doing a lots of prints; for just a few single-bath is sufficient.

My question to Pete was about a _second_ round of fixing baths after toning in KRST. It's an interesting line of reasoning.

-- John Hicks (, January 24, 2001.

With regards to the dual, 2 bath fixing, I believe it is mentioned by Steve Anchell in The Variable Contrast Printing Manual. As far as measuring residual fixer levels in washed prints, I am not aware of any published accounts that have measured extremely low levels of thiosulfate. That type of data would not be that helpful anyway, as wash time depends on things like, how soft or hard the water is and ph.

The test kits that are sold for measuring residual thiosulfate, just measure that the concentration is below a certain level (sorry, canít quote that level off the top of my head) but it doesnít tell you how much below that level. There is some disagreement whether that level is sufficient to reach true archival standards.

Regards, Pete

-- Pete Caluori (, January 24, 2001.

> published accounts that have measured extremely low levels of thiosulfate

The only thing I've seen was that big article "Mysteries of the Vortex" that appeared in _Photo Techniques_ a couple of years ago and was recently reprinted in one of the special how-to editions.

I don't recall the numbers, but as a bonus in exploring how prints wash the author validated Ilford's archival sequence, at least with the paper tested, and dramatically demonstrated the importance of HCA. He also found that prints that got a one-minute fix had only a very insignificantly higher level of residual thiosulfate than prints that got a 30-second fix. Of course he was using fresh fixer for the tests so didn't get into the capacity and thiosulfate-complex considerations. I don't know if the levels he found would qualify as extremely low.

If you didn't see that article (a 3-part in the monthly issues), it's well worth digging up.

Ilford used to recommend a 30-second fix time, then changed it to one minute. I asked Barry Sinclair of Ilford about that; he replied that Ilford found that in practice virtually no one used fresh-enough fixer for all prints in a session, that is, didn't dump and refill the tray often enough, and that late in a session the fixer wasn't strong enough to clear complexes. The solution was to go to a one-minute fix time in order to reach the stated capacity, but a 30-second time was ok if the stated capacity wasn't even moderately approached. Of course a two-bath fix avoids that issue entirely.

Of course quite a while ago Fuji found that some residual thiosulfate enhanced print stability...

And so it goes.

-- John Hicks (, January 25, 2001.

John Hicks wrote "Of course quite a while ago Fuji found that some residual thiosulfate enhanced print stability..."

While I've never come across this statement by Fuji, I have read similar published accounts. Sulfur compounds are a leading cause of print destruction and are commonly found in our environment. Sulfur toners work by acellerating the effects of sulfur on the print, thus rendering it stable. Presumably, any degradation that will have occurred has been acellerated and no further degration will occur.

I have also seen documentation that suggests/proves "some" (but how much is unclear) of the sulfur compounds from the residual thiosulfate, cause a slight and gradual "degradation" of the print. This "degradation" is not visually noticable, but it does protect the silver at the molecular level, byt preventing external contaminants from affecting the print. I believe Ctein, Steve Anchell and others have written about this. Indeed, it is interesting!


-- Pete Caluori (, January 25, 2001.


The only thing I can see about your method is that there shouldn't be any fixing going on in the KRST step, so no complexes to remove. The hard to remove complexes are intermediate steps in the removal of silver halide, and if there is no silver halide, no hard to wash complexes.

So it likely does nothing to help, but it also does nothing to hurt either.

-- Terry Carraway (, January 28, 2001.

Thanks Terry, I wasn't aware of that. I may revise my procedure to use a second fixing step after toning of just 30 seconds in fresh fixer.


-- Pete Caluori (, January 29, 2001.

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