Darkroom Chemistry

Fiber-Base Print Stabilization

NAVASOTA, TX – Trusted development and washing procedures ensure print longevity. Prints can hold corrosive elements such as hypo and silver halide when processed incorrectly. These chemicals can jeopardize appearance and harm neighboring pictures when archived. Here is a tried stabilization method.

A clean workspace helps; beforehand, we need to wash our trays with vinegar, mix new chemistry and organize the room. I’m printing with Ilford’s multigrade fiber paper.

Processing Steps

  1. Developer Bath: Kodak Dektol with a solution to water ratio of 1:2, with 3 minutes of agitation
  2. Stop Bath: Water with a pinch of vinegar for 30 seconds
  3. Rince: Wash with a siphon for 2 minutes
  4. Fixer Bath 1: Ilford Rapid Fixer: 1:4, with 45 seconds of agitation
  5. Fixer Bath 2: Ilford Rapid Fixer: 1:4, with 45 seconds of agitation
  6. Rince: Wash with a siphon for 5 minutes
  7. Hypo Clear: Kodak Hypo Clear: 1:4, with 5 minutes of agitation
  8. Wash: Wash in a print washer for 30 minutes
  9. Toner: Ilford Selenium Toner: 1:20, with 4 minutes of agitation
  10. Rince: Wash with a siphon for 5 minutes
  11. Hypo Clear: Kodak Hypo Clear: 1:4, with 5 minutes of agitation
  12. Wash: Wash in a print washer for 1 hour
  13. Squeegee: Remove visible surface water with a hair dryer
  14. Dry: Air dry face down on fiberglass a screen
  15. Flatten: Press with a dry mounting press

With a drop of residual hypo solution, we can detect the presence of unwanted silver. A clear drop indicates a chemically clean print.

Residual Hypo Test