Great thread :-). Here are my tricks (not described above):
- I agitate continuously the first minute (to get higher ISO) and "shock" the tank several times at the end of the minute to avoid bubbles on film (-> avoid small circular black spots on negs)
- I use a sort of thermostated fridge/heater to keep the tank in reasonable temperature range during development (see http://cgi.ebay.ch/COOLER-MINI-KUHLS...-/330404350413
). Particularly usefull during summer or winter, or for long developments.
- Fixing in 2 baths (2x2min). Second bath used 5 times, then used as first bath 5 times, then discarded.
- I use distilled water only for diluting the developer. I use normal water for rinse, and purified water with photoflo or similar as final rinse.
- The rinse phase contains at least 10 min of stand in normal water (to get ride of the anti halo dye).
- I wipe my negs with one very porous high density sponge (used to wash cars) that I've cutted as sandwitch bread (I draw the negative inside the sponge), then I hang the neg.
- I sometimes clean the reel from the dark deposit (~ every 10 devs). This is rather long (you've to clean the small circular path of the neg on the reel) but allow the neg to be inserted without problem on reel.