U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Selenium-toning Van Dyke Brown prints

Re: Selenium-toning Van Dyke Brown prints

On Mon, 25 Sep 2006, sam wang wrote:

I believe I posed the question a long time ago, "Is there another form of selenium that might be used instead of KRST, and would that do better as a toner for VD" and don't remember ever receiving a good answer.
Sam, Post- Factory #3 (starting page 26) has a lot of toners non-KRST, for instance a couple of thiocarbamides, and hypo alum... My favorite, if you can get hold of some selenium powder, is Kodak T-55 (direct toner) and T-56 (bleach and redevelop) (which I may not have used on VDB, but the T-55 I did).

I haven't got strength to write them all out here, and I don't remember which of the others I used on VDB and which only on SG, but here is the T-55 (the shortest !) which IMO was often the most beautiful. Any formulary (like Photographic Facts & Formulas, or probably Steve Anchell's Cookbook, will have the hypo alum & carbamide, which are classics.)

Dissolve 25 g. sodium sulfite anhydrous (note sulfite, not sulfide) in 110 ml hot water. Add 1 g selenium powder & boil til dissolved. Cool.
Add 31 g. ammonium chloride. Stir.
Add 67 ml water.
For use, dilute from 1:5 to 1:9 with water.

Selenium powder is poison, but IMO they make too big a deal about this. Don't breathe it, is all -- oh, and don't drink out of the glass (pyrex coffee maker) you've boiled it in.

And a couple of other comments: Jordan says he can't deal with the double coating for VDB & I'm wondering why the double coating -- my space cadet undergrads & I routinely got great d-max with single coats. In fact in some experiments the double coating gave less d-max, because the 2nd coat wiped off some of the first. Is it possible your negs aren't keyed to VDB (which as I recall needed 12 steps on the 21 step)? The other point I think of is that a fairly hard thin paper, like a strathmore drawing worked best. The artier, more "velvety," expensive papers favored for pt/pd didn't work as well for us with VDB.

And about bubbles: One drop of Kremer 78600 Defoamer in a liter or so of 3% warm gelatin removes the bubble problem entirely with no down side. That's ONE DROP !

And glyoxal yellowing: Maybe I'm having amnesia, but I recall no glyoxal yellowing in the paper (tho possibly some in a drip at the edge) that didn't clear to lovely paper white when the (well) dried print was soaked in plain water for an hour or two. Although I never put the glyoxal IN the gelatin, only on it, and maybe the effect is different that way.

As for Hygrometer: I got a thermometer/hygrometer from TALAS years ago for $35. I never tried it outdoors, so don't know if it would suit for the rigors of 100% humidity, et al, but indoors it seemed quite responsive. In fact when I moved it to another room (or inside the refrigerator) the humidity changed almost instantly. The temperature was much slower.

OK... back to income tax (for 2005-- what's the hurry?)


Would you by chance have gold/thiorea toned vandyke image on the web? Would love to see it.


On Sep 25, 2006, at 3:22 PM, Loris Medici wrote:

Camden, add me to the list... I absolutely didn't like the (yellowish) color
I got from Selenium toned (1:200) Vandykes. I prefer better the original
unaltered color OR the color I get after gold/thiourea toning.