U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | RE: Gum Humidity Question

RE: Gum Humidity Question

Tom Sobota mentions a problem that I find most problematic about a drier
environment: the tendency of dry paper to gulp down emulsion faster than it
can be applied.  For what it is worth, I thought I would pass along a short
description of my own procedure when working with paper.  I have a pretty
anarchistic approach to gum printing.  I can tolerate most kinds of mistakes
and screw-up and have been known to employ belt sanders and propane torches
to remove gum in drastic situations and STILL end up with a satisfactory
print.  However the own thing that I *cannot* tolerate is lack of
registration, and paper tends to shrink and expand dramatically depending
upon humidity.  I have placed a small mist vaporizer in a box where I keep
my paper when I am working on it.  Before I coat any emulsion, the paper
goes in this box until it gets as relaxed as a piece of over-cooked
pappardelle.  Really really damp.  The emulsion goes on with no problems.
Then the paper goes into my tiny darkroom which is constantly dried by means
of a dehumidifier.  It turns bone dry quickly - and shrinks nearly a
centimeter in the process.  Then is goes BACK into this rainforest of a box
to get soggy again, expand, and I usually make the exposure while the paper
is still quite damp. This highly humid paper clears more consistently than
paper under drier conditions.  I've left coated paper in this box for a day
with no ill effects.