Window Screens to Handle Thin Papers During Processing
Last summer, a talented student at Anderson Ranch (Carla Shapiro) demonstrated her homemade screen system for transferring thin, delicate papers from one tray to another during processing steps. I'd heard of such methods but had never really worked with papers that merited such care in handling. That all changed with the platinum on vellum prints.
While shopping for some wooden frames and a roll of fiberglass screen so I could make a similar "hammock" for the prints, I noticed those aluminum framed, expandable window screen assemblies at the home improvement store. Hmmm. Anyway, I'm using them right now and they work perfectly to sandwich the thin vellum between the two layers of screen. By disassembling the original hardware that holds the screens together (and lets them slide apart to accommodate different window widths), I manually sandwich the print between the screens, holding them together with rubber bands. Drilling a good deal of holes in the screen perimeters helps them sink readily in the trays of clearing bath. And finally, the size I'm using (15" X 20") fits perfectly in the Zone VI print washer, letting me wash several larger (for me anyway) vellum prints as they are held securely, but with plenty of water circulation, in the washer. Oh, I place the two screens together in a way that allows the print to move a bit to help that circulation of chemistry or water. In other words, it's a loose sandwich in which the print has about 1/4" of space to "play." It breaths but doesn't slump down to the bottom of the washer as non supported prints are prone to do.
So far there's no evidence of reaction between the aluminum frames and the citric acid or EDTA/Sodium Sulfite clearing baths. If any of the chemists on the list have suggestions as to what to watch for in that regard, I'm all ears.
I don't have time right now to post pictures or movies but if anyone thinks that would help grasp the screen setup, I'll put it on the to- do list. ;^)
Hope this helps,