U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Paper negatives (Re: Tricolor gum, order of layers)

Re: Paper negatives (Re: Tricolor gum, order of layers)

I spent much too long in 2003 trying to escape, deny, overcome the obvious. That is, oiling a paper neg being so much easier than any other treatment, I couldn't believe it wouldn't work. I did canola oil, olive oil, baby oil, linseed oil, lemon furniture oil, singer sewing machine oil, peanut oil, corn oil, and a few others I probably forget now. Some of them were reasonable for prompt use (I seem to recall Canola oil), but not a one of them stayed the same for more than a day, or at most 2 days.

That is, no sooner oiled, than they start drying up, getting slower and probably not evenly, either. (As measured by densitometer, also test strips.) So oiling is probably fine for one-time use, but a PITA over the long run, and I'd guess more sensitive to humidity & temperature changes.

I used to teach students to transparentize paper negs with a block of parrafin and a hot iron, until I began doing it myself and noticed that no matter how carefully, thoroughly and "expertly" I waxed, the neg was always mottled (when held up to light, or on a light table).

Then I found beeswax (available in candlemaking and craft stores) just as easy to apply as parrafin and permanent, or relatively so.. Therefore, feeling a need to oil a paper neg I'd use the beeswax only.

However, checking Post-Factory #8, where I wrote up these findings and laments (& also show an example of a print from a mottled neg, tho the ditsy editor didn't put the caption under it. It's pretty obvious, though, and spelled out on the top of page 43, first column).

But, back on page 42, I found this sentence at the bottom of the page:

QUOTE: Henk Thijs reports that he uses the paper plain, no oil or wax. Exposure is much longer, he says, but otherwise there's no difference.