Re: Vandyke Question
Yes I use distilled water for the sensitizer. My first 2 batches were made with water I distilled in my small distiller. They sat on the shelf for almost a week before I got to thinking that I may have contaminated the distiller somehow. I went out and bought a couple of gallons of distilled from the local store. The last six batches were made with the store bought water but still have the same problem. I have filtered all 8 batches and combined them in a 1 liter brown glass bottle. There is no sign of precipitate and I get all the density I need by double coating.
I am just getting back into Vandykes but when I did them years ago I mostly toned with gold before fixing the print. I got a cool brown tone. I did try the lead and lead/gold toners on some prints. Done after fixing, they give a deeper brown (almost black - for the lead toner) or a slate gray (for the lead/gold toner). I never had much luck with selenium (even diluted 1+100) as it bleached the print too much with only 1 minute of toning. As for palladium and platinum, I found that they gave very nice tones, warm brown and cool brown (almost black) respectively, but they tended to stain the paper just as much as the image. The staining could have been my fault since I reused the toner after toning kallitypes - there could have been some cross contamination. Hope this helps.
Best to all, Scott