Stains on Prints : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I processed some prints this weekend and selenium toned them. Some of the prints had greenish stains on them in approximately the same location.

Here was my processing technique. Used two developers (Selectol then Ilford Multigrade), Sprint stop bath, 2 bath Kodak Rapid Fixer at film strength (30 seconds in each), rinsed prints under faucet then tray washed for a minumum of 5 minutes before toning in Selenium 1:5 for about 5 minutes. Rinse again with a minimum 5 minute tray wash, followed by 5 minutes in Heico Perma Wash, followed by another five minute tray wash and then a 45 minute wash in a Paterson archival washer.

The only thing I can think of is improper fixing or washing, but I thought I was being pretty meticulous. Anyone have any other ideas?

-- Jim Rock (, May 13, 2002


Forgot to mention that the paper was Ilford Multigrade Warmtone, fiber, glossy finish.

-- Jim Rock (, May 13, 2002.

One possibility: uneven washing before toning. Since Kodak Selenium Toner already contains ammonium thiocyanate, there is no need to wash between fix and toner. You might try to eliminate the extra wash. But if you do wash, it should be thorough.

Another possibility: Perma Wash. I had some flaky problems 15 years ago with prints soaked in Perma Wash: exactly what you are having-- uneven tones on an Agfa paper. I still use Perma Wash for film, but never for prints--I use Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent, or mix my own HCL.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, May 14, 2002.


Jim, I think your was was too short between fix and selenium. Either go straight from the fix into selenium, or do a complete wash before selenium toning. It's a pain to do two complete wash cycles, but either will work.


-- Pete Caluori (, May 14, 2002.

Does going straight from the fixer to selenium hurt storage of selenium? I generally keep selenium for several months, and have alway assumed that it was best to have a brief wash before toning in order to reduce the amount of fixer carried over to the selenium.

Thanks, Ed, for the info on Heico Perma Wash. I will try another brand (coincidentally, I am almost out of Heico).

-- Jim Rock (, May 14, 2002.


That is very interesting about Perma Wash. Do you have any idea what could cause that problem? I ask because I have been using it for years now, even mixing the selenium toner with it instead of water, and have never had a stain. I have used both Kodak and Berg selenium toner with no problem.

-- Dave Karp (, May 14, 2002.


I have done it both ways. Either direct from a water holding tray into the toner, or after a 30 minute wash, drying, and gang toning and full washing a few days later when I have more prints to do. I use a single bath rapid fix, film strength, per Ilford's recommendation. Fixing time is one minute.

You might find the following web page helpful:

It is Ilford's data sheet on toning. Kodak has a similar data sheet, but I don't know the address.

-- Dave Karp (, May 14, 2002.

Here's my sequence with MG WT....

The usual Ilford quick-fix routine using two baths as you do. Then the print gets a quick rinse, mainly so I'm not dribbling fixer everywhere as I inspect the print. Next is a 10-minute or so soak in HCA (I use just 25g sodium sulfite/liter), then the print goes into the wash/holding tank.

After I'm finished printing, the prints get eight minutes in KRST 1:4 w/continuous agitation, then another 10 minutes HCA, then an hour wash. Solution temperature is usually around 75F or so.

Now...from watching the prints tone as I slosh the tray, the last areas to tone are the lighter areas especially in the middle; these insufficiently-toned areas appear bluish to maybe greenish compared to the darker toned areas. So one speculation is that you're not toning long enough for complete toning, therefore you're seeing untoned areas among warm chocolate-brown toned areas...maybe.

I assume you're using print tongs? Maybe there's something going on with them, maybe some sort of carryover. I'm using Cesco stainless steel tongs.

-- John Hicks (, May 14, 2002.

In regard to the Perma Wash, it was the only change in my printing sequence at the time, and eliminating it eliminated my problem. I didn't bother troubleshooting any further. I continue to use Perma Wash for film, as it is useful in removing the pink stuff in T-Max. I've always been curious as to exactly what is in Perma Wash--is it a hypo clearing agent or a hypo eliminator?

Going straight from the fix to the toner doesn't hurt the toner at all, since it already has a high percentage of ammonium thiosulfate.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, May 14, 2002.

It sounds to me as if your wash after the fix is too short. A slightly greenish stain is consistent with some fixer being carried into the toning bath. I would recommend either a full wash (which means you can tone later if you like), or go directly from the fix to the toner, with no intermediate rinse. In the case of the later, the toner should be diluted with mixed wash aid. Since the wash aid deteriorates rather quickly, this mixture cannot be stored for very long. (sorry, I don't have a firm recommendation).

If you adopt either of these methods and still have problems, I would be glad to look at the prints to try to diagnose the problem.

David Carper ILFORD Technical Service

-- David Carper (, May 14, 2002.


IRT: "Does going straight from the fixer to selenium hurt storage of selenium?"

I really don't know. KRST does contain thiosulfate (fixer) so adding more shouldn't realy hurt. Fixer does exhaust with use, but I don't know enough about chemistry to know if it would. Removing old fixer and it's by-products from prints can be more difficult and incur longer wash times (at least from what I've read, I have no real way of proving this myself.) Someone once told me that the fixer "can" ruin selenium, but I can't confirm or deny this.

My current bottle of selenium is over a year old. I just filter and replenish it from time to time. I used to do a short wash before toning, but intermittent staining occurred. Now I just go from fixer into selenium and the stains disappeared. In another year I'll know if the fixer is affecting the selenium. BTW, I've switched to Photographer's Formulary TF-4 fixer.

Regards, Pete

-- Pete Caluori (, May 15, 2002.

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