Gold Toner Questions : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I am in the process of producing a series of 16x20 prints that require the deep blue-purple blacks that I believe are due to the use of gold toning, either on its own or split toned with selenium. i have always used selenium for archival purposes and some image toning with warm-toned papers. My question is what is the best toner for this purpose. Photographers Formulary lists a Nelsons Gold Toner and Formulary Gold Toner 231. The latter sounds very much like what Ed Buffaloe uses in his article on split toning at Unblinking Eye which seems to demonstrate the effect I am looking for. If someone is familiar with 231, could you share your some dillution information and how many prints (eg 8x10) would you estimate a litre produces. Or is making your own solution with 1% Gold Chloride the way to go. I am open to any and all suggestions or pertinent URLs. As always, thanks in advance for any and all replies. Oh yes paper is either Ilford Multigrade IV fiber warmtone or Forte Polygrade Warmtone Plus.

-- Jim Chinn (, August 23, 2001


I don't think you want to use Nelson gold toner, as it gives more of a purple-brown with most papers. You should double-tone in selenium and a thiocyanate-based gold toner. Ansco 231 is a good toner for your purpose, but I don't recommend you buy it as a kit from Photographers Formulary because if you mix it according to instructions it will give you too much blue and will be very expensive. A toner that gives the same results is DuPont 6T, and it is cheaper and easier to mix. Whichever you decide to use, I recommend you buy the requisite chemicals separately and mix them yourself. Bryant Labs in Berkeley has the best price I have found on gold chloride. You should mix a separate solution of 1% gold chloride in distilled water. Then, when you are ready to tone, mix up either the 105 grams of ammonium thiocyanate (for Ansco 231) or the 6 grams of potassium thiocyanate (for DuPont 6T--see why 6T is better?), then add about 10ml of gold chloride. This should be enough to tone one to three 16x20 prints, depending on the depth of toning desired. Tone at about 100 degrees F. The first print will tone rather quickly and you should be ready to pull it before it gets overdone. Succeeding prints will take a bit longer. Depending on the paper, toning times can vary from 2 to 20 minutes. If, as you proceed, you don't get enough toning action, simply add another 10ml of gold chloride. This will make your expensive gold chloride last a lot longer. Double-toning is tricky because it is difficult to know exactly how the print will look when dry. Chloride papers have a considerable dry-down, and gold toner tones the highlights as well as the blacks, so you must start with a print that is quite a bit lighter than the result you want. In my experience, the Forte Warmtone paper takes gold toning better than the Ilford MG warm.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, August 24, 2001.

I used a selenium toner on Oriental grade 3. Toned the shade your are looking for. Ratio 1:3. Watch closely, as the time was less than 5 minutes. I have not tried this with the warm based papers as i am not fond of them, however, i might have one of my students give it a shot.

-- Ann C lancy (, August 24, 2001.

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