U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Paper negative

Re: Paper negative

On Dec 3, 2007, at 11:56 PM, Robert Krawiec wrote:

--- Katharine Thayer <kthayer@pacifier.com> wrote:

I've tried all
kinds of  treatments but long ago settled on mineral
oil as my
favorite treatment for negatives.  It soaks in
nicely and makes a
very transparent negative, dries to a nice finish,
maintains its
tonality over years, doesn't go rancid (as some
vegetable oil I tried
once did) and it makes my hands feel soft after I've
used it, too.

How do you coat the paper? Both sides?

Rob, here's my whole procedure: I put the paper on a sheet of glass or in a flat-bottomed tray, pour a couple of tablespoons of oil over the paper, and spread and rub the oil into the paper with my hands. When one side is permeated with oil, I turn it over and rub oil into the other side until the paper is soaked through with oil. Then I move the oily paper to a blotter (I keep a blotter for this purpose that I don't use for other things) and heat it with a hair dryer on hot setting while with my other hand rubbing with a paper towel to distribute the oil evenly as the heat helps the paper absorb more oil. I start with an oily paper towel to make sure the paper is soaked through and finish with a dry paper towel to wipe off any oil that hasn't been absorbed and finish the negative to a crisp dry surface. When the negative is dry, I hang it in a warm place overnight; in the morning I do a final polish with a fresh paper towel. Then the negative can be stored indefinitely, although because of the possibility that oil could transfer, I keep oiled negatives separate.

It's messy, but when I was doing this routinely I'd do 10-15 at a time, and it goes pretty fast. It takes longer to tell you how to do it, than to actually do it. When I move the first negative to the blotter, I spread the oil that's left on the glass/tray out evenly and put the next negative on the oily surface so it can be passively soaking up oil while I'm heating/rubbing the first one. It only takes 15-20 minutes to do a whole batch of negatives.