Selenium Toning and Hypo Clearing Agent : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

or perma wash...

I can't find any agreement on

1. if it's better to mix KRST with HCA and take prints directly from the bath into the toner mix and into the final wash, or

2. if they should soak in HCA before toning, or

3. if they should soak in HCA after toning

So I'm assuming that there's no definate agreement on this.

Normally I take prints directly from the holding bath, tone them in KRST for a few minutes, place them in a tray of HCA or Perma Wash depending on what I have at the moment and then into the final wash. I haven't noticed any problems but I've read in Anchell's Cookbook that you should soak prints in HCA BEFORE toning. So I'm confused. Kodak's Black and White Darkroom Data Guide also is vague on this.

Anyone know if there is a definate problem in doing this one way or another?



-- David Parmet (, November 15, 2001


David: You may get staining with your current toning method due to uneven amounts of fixer remaining in the paper. The method I use, which I got from David Vestal's book: The Art of Black-and-White Developement, is as follows:

1. Take prints from the last fixing bath directly into a combination bath of selenium and hypo clearing agent. Adjust the dilution of the selenium so that the prints can be agitated in the mixture for a timed ten minutes. Paper type will dictate the proper dilution. I use a 1:40 ratio of selenium and water.

2. Rinse for 5 min in running water.

3. Put the prints back into a solution of hypo clearing agent for 5 min. The hypo clear works better with prints that have had a water rinse. The toner itself contains hypo, thus the need for the second bath.

4. Place prints in your wash tray for final washing as usual.

Although these times greatly exceed the info by the manufacturers of hypo clear, Vestal performed exhaustive tests showing the need for the increased times due to residual fixer at shorter times.

These directions are of course for FB paper. I have never had any problem when using this procedure.

Happy toning, Arden

-- Arden Howell (, November 16, 2001.

I use a similar routine for toning, however, I do not mix my toner with a hypo-clearing agent. The life of the toner is many times longer than the life of the clearing agent, so it is pointless to use it with the toner unless you toss the toner after the capacity of the clearing agent has been reached. This is both uneconomical and environmentally unsound. I recommend mixing the toner with water and replenishing it with small amounts of stock when toning times become too long. I have one batch of toner that is more than a year old and is still working just fine.

Just to review, prints go from the second fix directly into the toner without a rinse. Tone until the desired tone is reached and tranfer the print directly to the clearing agent. (Ilford recommends 10 minutes in the hypo-clear compared to Kodak's 3. I imagine the longer time is better and certainly cannot hurt.) After the clearing bath wash and dry as usual. I use a longer wash time than recommended. It cannot hurt either. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, November 16, 2001.


As Doremus pointed out, the reason you do not want to mix anything with selenium, is that the other chemicals will oxidize/exhaust before the selenium. The selenium I'm using is more than two years old and I simply replenish it as the level drops, or toning times get too long. The old selenium may become discolored with silver deposits, but it can be filtered through a coffee filer and reused. You should perform a short wash before toning or you may get stain marks on your prints.


-- Pete Caluori (, November 16, 2001.

Pete, I learned that the wash between second fixer and the toning bath CAUSED stains, and that the proper way was to transfer directly from the fix to the selenium. I have been doing this for lots of years with never a stain, so it must work. I have never, however, tried a rinse between. Maybe this works too. Do you have occasional stains? Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, November 17, 2001.

Well FWIW....

I tried mixing KRST with HCA and found that HCA slowed down toning somewhat, so stopped doing that.

After the fix, I give the print five minutes or so in HCA, then put it in the wash tank. After I've printed all I'm going to, I run each through the toner, then 10 minutes in HCA, then into the wash tank. Once the last print is in the tank, they all wash for an hour.

No stains, no weirdness.

I usually filter the toner through a coffee filter when pouring it into the tray; it's accumulated all sorts of stuff with use, plus gunk in the bottle.

-- John Hicks (, November 17, 2001.

I found with Forte PWT Plus that if I selenium tone after a 3-5 minute wash that the paper base stains to a yellow. If I wash for longer the paper base doesnt stain. So I wouldnt go straight from fixer to toner with PWT...

-- Russell Brooks (, November 19, 2001.


I've had staining occur on two occasions. Both were while using Forte PWT plus and occurred after a dual fixing bath, short wash (3-5 minutes) followed by KRST. I simply assumed the staining was the result of an insufficient wash before toning. I've never observed a change in the base color. The staining I got was in the form of streaks in the image area. I think I'll try toning without washing and see what happens.


-- Pete Caluori (, November 21, 2001.

I have a new selenium question. Has any one had experience with selenium toning using a jobo cpe-2? I have a small bathroom darkroom and have stayed away from selenium because of health hazards etc. but I couldn't resist trying it. I would think the jobo system is ideal because the selenium is contained. My basic proceedure is to wet the prints for 1 minute; tone for 5 min (or a little longer - I've been reading up on selenium toning comments); and wash twice before dumping the prints in a large tray. The selenium is diluted 1:40. I know the downside of the jobo system is that I can't see the effects of selenium but the changes haven't been great (a harding fix was used on the prints). I know this is a new question but this thread is fairly fresh. Thanks for any advice.

-- Alan Dean (, November 29, 2001.

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