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

RE: Vandyke Question

Judy, I am really surprised. It is very hard to get true distilled water by
any common method. Tap water, of course, contains the sediments that it
comes in contact with, which is why Adirondack spring water is so
delicious - it is not pure water at all. Checking the pH could give some
indication of purity of distilled water, crude as that test is, and I am not
in a position to challenge your statement because I have never tested the
distilled water I use for VD prints. I am generalizing from what I know of
chemistry in general. You are probably right, though, because you have more
experience than I have and, secondly, I cannot raise your bet. Even though a
million is not what it used to be, I don't have it. Joachim

-----Original Message-----
From: Judy Seigel [mailto:jseigel@panix.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2008 10:33 PM
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Subject: RE: Vandyke Question

On Sun, 24 Feb 2008, joachim oppenheimer wrote:

> ... I would
> expect that, for the water to be the problem it would have to be so
> contaminated that you would smell it down the corridor.

Whatever the ultimate problem (or problems) may be, and whether or not
Scott manages to pinpoint them, I can ASSURE you that the above sentence
is 100% wrong (tho if you're talking bets, I never bet less than a million

The episode I mention was some years ago, but it was so startling it's
etched well in mind. We'd already done VDB with no problem, then had to
mix more. When we combined the solutions the silver precipitated out.
Instantly, dramatically. The only change from the previous operation was a
new gallon of "distilled" water, bought at the neighborhood hardware store
where we'd bought it before... a sealed jug, official "distilled" label,

It was odorless, colorless, and utterly did I say odorless? You wouldn't
have hesitated to drink it. But with suspicions thus aroused, I brought it
to the chem department, which tested and found it to be tap water.  Tap
water from where, I have no idea... but there was NOTHING patently
noxious. The shock was getting it from our friendly neighborhood hardware
store, but we figured the culprit was a rogue supplier. We got the next
gallon from the supermarket and all was fine (tho a longer walk).

PS.  I have as it happens done some testing of distilled vs. tap water in
processes involving commercial photo paper, such as toning and bleaching.
Also long ago, and less dramatic so not perfectly recalled. However, there
were often distinct differences, often the tap water had better results...
we figured the impurities from the NYC sewer system gave it an added
complexity, like wine.