In need of advice on fixing and washing

spill

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I'm still a beginner, so try not to facepalm too hard at this.
I've been printing Fibre paper for a while now, but there are still a few basic things which I'm still not quite sure of. Paper I use is Ilford Multigrade IV, glossy. For enlarging I'm using Adox chemicals. My prints are no larger than 24x30.
Thing is, since the charts at our lab are a bit outdated, I am still unsure of the times for fixing and washing fibre. I always fix 10-15 minutes, however I don't know at which point in fixing it is safe to turn on the lights. I usually do it after 5 minutes, but I have also done it after only 1 minute. And I don't shake it much (is this the right term? English is not my mother language), I just do it for a few seconds, then leave it standing there and touch it slightly from time to time (with emulsion turned upside down, so it never gets in contact with air).
Washing - Usually 20-30 minutes with running water. I empty the container very slightly from time to time, but I do it irregularly. There are those times which I don't do it for 15 minutes straight, so I leave it longer in water. Sometimes I leave the print there for 1 hour (the chart established time), but as I was told, 1 hour is too much for the size I'm printing. Washing is supposed to vary with paper and chemicals, but I have no idea about that.

Also, is it safe to reuse fixer? I feel very suspicious about re-using it...

Some advice is appreciated, here.
Thank you!
 

vintagesnaps

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I haven't used fiber paper but I always thought once prints were in the fixer you could turn lights on. I haven't used Adox either but I usually just agitate the tray of fixer periodically while I have prints in the tray; I sometimes have left them in longer, and I try to not put too many in at a time. I leave prints in the running rinse about the same amount that you do; I sometimes have left them in awhile but probably not as long as an hour, but I use Ilford's standard multigrade RC so it might be different with fiber paper. I wonder if the fiber is more absorbent?

I've never tried reusing fixer, I don't know how well it would work if you save and reuse it. But I don't fill the trays all that full so I don't feel like I'm wasting it.
 

Helen B

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Find out what sort of fixer you are using. There are various kinds of fixer, and they require different fixing times. Try the manufacturer's recommendations for time, temperature, wash time (FB usually needs quite a bit longer in the wash than RC) and capacity. Fixer can be reused, but overused fixer makes successful washing more difficult.
 

vintagesnaps

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Thanks Helen, I would have expected fiber to perhaps not do as well in an extended rinse, that it might be more absorbent, but maybe it's more dense than RC if it needs more rinse time. Appreciate the info.
 

Basil5278

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A long time since I did my own processing but its important to agitate the chemicals while developing and fixing. I used to rock the trays gently, just lift the front edge if the tray a couple of mm and set it down again.

The idea is to set up a gentle 'wave', so the chemicals are always being refreshed evenly.
If you don't agitate, the chemicals become exhausted in patches and you'll get uneven development or fixing.

Practice with plain water and a waste sheet!

As already said, check the manufacturers instructions for storage and reuse of solutions. They may have a guideline four extending dev and fix times based on usage.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD
 
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spill

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Thanks guys. I'll check with the manufacturer.
Didn't know that the chemical'd get exhausted more quickly if I didn't agitate the tray... Sometimes, while developing, I agitate it a bit violently to slightly increase the contrast, it seemed to me that the chemical tired out very quickly as well.
 

curtyoungblood

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Do not turn on the lights until AFTER fixing is totally finished and make sure that your fixing it for all of the recommended time. The problem with incorrectly fixing prints is that you won't necessarily see the mistake immediately, but in a year or two the prints will start changing color and be ruined. The fixer's job is to render the paper no longer light sensitive. If you turn the lights on before that process is finished, you're affecting the print, even if you can't see it.
 

vintagesnaps

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I usually agitate the prints the same way Basil does, gently rocking the tray a couple of times. After awhile I think you get into a work flow and it becomes automatic to give the prints in the fixer some agitation every so often - probably the amount of time it takes to expose another print, or to develop another print, then go back and agitate the prints in the fixer again til their time is up.

I might have been mistaken, maybe I didn't usually flip the lights on until everything was out of the fixer and being rinsed, (I 'lost' my shared darkroom at a local college because the building's being remodeled so I haven't done prints recently) but it seems like sometimes I'd still have prints in the fix and in the rinse and turn the lights on and start rinsing trays and cleaning up. So maybe I got rushed and got into a bad habit! but they would have already been in the fixer for awhile... (probably were good and fixed by the time I turned on lights! LOL).

I've been doing lumen prints more recently and fix those in indoor room light in the kitchen in diluted fixer, but those are sun prints using expired paper, it's not a darkroom process so it's hard to compare.
 

bsinmich

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I have always used Kodak Fixer for 60 years and turn onthe white light a few seconds after the entire picture is under the fixer. I took most of the high school year book pictures and they are still downstairs. I will be taking some to the reunion next week. Fiber paper will take longer to wash because it absorbs more fixer. I like a deep tray for fixing so I use an entire gallon for fixer. I reuse it for many pictures. There is a small bottle of tester you can buy from Freestyle that will show if the fixer is good or bad. I have been using that for the last 50 years with no problems. RC paper will wash much faster because all chemical are only absorbed on the surface. If you want to do any oil coloring you will need fiber base.
 

timor

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Hi Spill. Helen is right, find out technical specs for that paper first:
http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/2011427105150454.pdf
Right now, what you are doing is wrong. You heavily over-fix your paper; 1. fixer has an ability to dissolve silver which can affect the contrast of your print and weaken the image creating "material", 2. you saturate the paper way too much with chemicals; fixer and the products of fixing process. For that your washing is not adequate, plus probably too cold.
Fixing is done in 1-2 min in good fixer but permanency depends on washing. First 2-4 min. of wash removes about 95% of fixer from the emulsion but you need a lot more time to remove it from the paper base. Temperature is important, below 18C basically nothing is happening. The amount of water is not important but the rate of change is. It will be much more effective to prepare a small bucket with warm (24C) water and change it every 2 min. for 10 min. than run tap water for 1 hour. You can also use some washing aid:
Photographers' Formulary Inc.
Or something similar from other producers.
Use non-hardening fixers like this:
Photographers' Formulary Inc.
or Hypam from Ilford.
To check your fixer you can use something like this:
Photographers' Formulary Inc.
But using fresh fixer for every new batch of papers (or certain number of prints) is a good idea. In process of fixing are created salts which might prove tough to wash out from the paper. Fixer is cheap and in general chemicals are not that expensive to save money on them; after all your goal is to make high quality prints. After all you bought best camera you could afforded and the best glass, you spent money on good film and spent time to make an interesting negative and print. Don't you think, that only logical would be to have the best chemicals ?
 

webestang64

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I'm still a beginner, so try not to facepalm too hard at this.
I've been printing Fibre paper for a while now, but there are still a few basic things which I'm still not quite sure of. Paper I use is Ilford Multigrade IV, glossy. For enlarging I'm using Adox chemicals. My prints are no larger than 24x30.
Thing is, since the charts at our lab are a bit outdated, I am still unsure of the times for fixing and washing fibre. I always fix 10-15 minutes, however I don't know at which point in fixing it is safe to turn on the lights. I usually do it after 5 minutes, but I have also done it after only 1 minute. And I don't shake it much (is this the right term? English is not my mother language), I just do it for a few seconds, then leave it standing there and touch it slightly from time to time (with emulsion turned upside down, so it never gets in contact with air).
Washing - Usually 20-30 minutes with running water. I empty the container very slightly from time to time, but I do it irregularly. There are those times which I don't do it for 15 minutes straight, so I leave it longer in water. Sometimes I leave the print there for 1 hour (the chart established time), but as I was told, 1 hour is too much for the size I'm printing. Washing is supposed to vary with paper and chemicals, but I have no idea about that.

Also, is it safe to reuse fixer? I feel very suspicious about re-using it...

Some advice is appreciated, here.
Thank you!


I've used that paper for years now and this method has works fine (for me anyway). With any size paper.
I develop in Ethol LPD developer, dilute to taste for tone. 1:30 to 3min.
Standard Kodak stop bath. 10-15 sec.
I use Ilford Rapid fix. 1+4 for 60 sec. Next I wash for 5 min running water. Next Ilford wash aid for 10 min.
Now the final wash running water......cooler print tone 5-10 min. If you wish a warmer tone wash for 30 min.

I do not reuse any of my chemicals.
 

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