How do you flatten your fiber papers?
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
Steve M.
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How do you flatten your fiber papers?

One could spend the rest of their life reading threads about getting fiber papers flat, and none of them work for me at 11x14 sizes and up. Recently I tried a technique that is normally used for watercolour papers (see photo below), but the photographic papers have way too much curl, and either pop out of the gummed tape during the drying process or I end up with compound curves near the edges. I'd rather deal w/ a simple curl.



When the prints dried wavy, I then tried setting them on the counter w/ a big sheet of plywood and lots of books on top for three days. That did nothing but prevent me from reading. How DO you get these things flat? A drymount press isn't going to happen, I just want to be able to glue the prints down to a thick wood panel using archival glue, and I doubt that will hold the way they curl.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
Creagerj
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I hate to say it but a drymount press is probably the best option. I used to press my prints for a minute or two and then window mount them to keep them flat. Or, I would use some mounting tissue on a piece of backing board. I have not made fiber prints in quite a while for this very reason. However, looking on eBay, old presses are around $200. Space might be an issue though.

The only alternative I can think of is weight and time. I have quite a few prints that I never pressed that have sat under the weight of all my other prints for the last decade and they are nice and flat now!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
Erik van Straten
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I have an huge old German print dryer, Büscher, from the 1950's. It is a big drum (70cm x 60cm) that is heated. It dries the print under a streched canvas. I put the wet print on a chromed metal plate with the picture up and remove the water with a microfiber cloth. Then I put the plate with the print in the Büscher and tension the canvas over it. The Büscher is supplied with power that passes through an external thermostat controller. This keeps the Büscher at exactly 40 degrees C. After exactly 30 minutes the print is dry and fairly flat, but not flat enough to my liking. That is why the print then goes for 1.5 minutes in a Seal Compress 110 stick press (drymount press) enveloped in some high quality drawing paper with a heat of 85 degrees C. After this the print is perfectly flat. The paper I use is Adox MCC 110. This procedure takes only 32 minutes.


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
Colin Corneau
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+1 for the dry mount press. Other methods get you close, but the press, and actually heat/dry mounting it to matte board, is the only way to 100% flatten that I've seen.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
Larry H-L
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You could try a clothes iron.

Make a sandwich, from bottom to top, clean matt board, clean white paper, your dry print face down, another clean matt board.

Iron the top matt board until it is hot to the touch, then immediately place a heavy weight on the sandwich until it is totally cool.

The paper will still curl, but this process usually helps. Good luck.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Corneau View Post
+1 for the dry mount press. Other methods get you close, but the press, and actually heat/dry mounting it to matte board, is the only way to 100% flatten that I've seen.
Yes, but before you can put the print in the drymount press, it must be dry, yes? You can hang the photos on a clothesline to dry, but how do you get them - curled - in the drymount press?

Before you can put them in a drymount press, they must be reasonable flat. A Büscher-type dryer is necessary, also to speed things up.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
Larry H-L
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Most FB papers will dry fairly flat if they are dried face down on fiberglass window screening (most art schools do this, 'cause it’s cheap) or if they are clipped to a line and lightly weighted on the bottom edge while drying.

In the U.S., those dryers are sometimes called “ferrotyping” dryers.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valdas View Post
I don’t know how this thing is called in English, it’s basically a dryer with two shiny metal plates. You put a photo on the plate (with the help of special rubber roller), put on the dryer and in ten minutes the photo is dry. It will also put a gloss on the photo (if you roll to the plate the emulsion side). I have two of those - one can handle up to 30x40 cm and another is a bit smaller. I will attache the picture later. Those FSU things are now for free or a few EUR.

Have you ever tried them?


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
sepiareverb
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This is perhaps the worst thing about wet printing.

Humidity plays a big part in getting prints flat. Here in Vermont I cannot use the dry mount press in the winter as it is far too dry (20% humidity) for prints to come out without wrinkles at the edges. Summertime is equally problematic as it is far too humid (near 90%). AC is not possible in these old houses here other than a window unit or a complete gut and rebuild, and humidifying winter indoor air is nearly impossible. It gets so cold here that humidity is often extremely low for months at a time.

I dry on screens, face up, with a second screen atop the first. After they are "dry" I generally store them stacked with some weight (a book for 810, a sheet of plate glass with more books for larger) for a day or two. This helps, as do big borders on larger prints.

I can't begin to guess how many prints I've ruined by dry-mount press "flattening" in the winter - I had a big exhibit in NY about 15 years ago and had to reprint a LOT of negatives when wrinkles ruined the full bleed 20x24 prints. Finally had to send the prints to NY and let the framer there deal with the flattening as I was unable to control humidity well enough here at my studio or even at the local framers. Extremely frustrating.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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Plans Matte Print Dryer by Nokton48, on Flickr

Petersons Photographic Matte Print Dryer by Nokton48, on Flickr

I'm building this 16x20 Matte Print Dryer. The plans are from Petersons Photgraphic magazine from the 1970s.

A lot of work but I am going all out on this project.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
Steve M.
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Thank you very much. Since I'm moving soon, a drymount press isn't an option. So I'm going to try just blotting one off, hang it by a corner to dry, find the archival equivalent of contact cement, and glue one down on a wood panel as a trial. Then put a few hundred pounds of books and tools on top for a few days. Because of the weight of fiber paper, it's not just the curl, it's the way it wants to snap back into that curl that's the problem. There ARE glues and cements that will hold anything to anything, the hard part will be finding something non acidic that won't eat up the paper from the back over time.

This is worth a try: It will never come off w/ this stuff, but I need to call around and see if it's acid free.

https://www.amazon.com/00272-Origina...7P4MPYH5D9Q56H
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
Steve M.
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The paper I've had the biggest difficulty with is this Ilford FB Cool Tone, which is double weight. I'll also switch back to a single weight paper, which should help.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
retinax
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AFAIK wood is acidic, so all considerations of archival properties of the print are out the window. RC paper is probably just fine.
In any case there's a huge thread on print flattening on photrio: https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...er-flat.44984/
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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Similar to Bob's description I imagine, I made drying screens from four lengths of wood, some flyscreen and a staple gun. These lie horizontally in an old spare cupboard. I then lie washed prints face down to dry for 24-48 hours.

After this they are reasonably flat, certainly flat enough to put into my dry mount press - or you could just put them in a book, use some release paper to make a sandwich if worried about the book print marking them and put a weight on top.

I don't experience any wrinkling from the press but I only print up to 8x10" and I always put prints in a book for further flattening for a week or two following their 30 seconds in the press.

It's certainly a slightly frustrating step in the process but not as frustrating as the next step - mounting and framing! These are good frustrations to have though, for an amateur like myself at least.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
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I dry FB prints in 2-3 changes of blotters then a dry mount press. It is incredibly dry here in summer on the edge of the Australian desert, <10% RH, like where Bob is but for him the dry time is winter. A hot summer makes drying FB paper worse because the water evapourates FAST. In under 30 min I can have a bone dry, crinkly mess. So, I spray deionised water onto the blotter pages to dampen them first, dry them in a humidified room, then dry mount press them. A heated dryer like Erik uses before the dry mount press makes things worse here, not better.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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Just like sepiareverb, I have found that humidity is the most important factor in how the prints dry. In winter with low humidity in NY, the prints dry hard and curly even though they dry face down on screens. They develop nasty edge folds when they are mounted with a dry mount press. In summer, with much higher humidity levels the prints feel moister (to me) and flatten easily under a book and mount perfectly with the dry mount press. I would print all summer, except that with the good weather I would rather be out shooting.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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I have heard of people using tshirt presses. Way cheaper and smaller than a heat press.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
I have an huge old German print dryer, Büscher, from the 1950's. It is a big drum (70cm x 60cm) that is heated. It dries the print under a streched canvas. I put the wet print on a chromed metal plate with the picture up and remove the water with a microfiber cloth. Then I put the plate with the print in the Büscher and tension the canvas over it. The Büscher is supplied with power that passes through an external thermostat controller. This keeps the Büscher at exactly 40 degrees C. After exactly 30 minutes the print is dry and fairly flat, but not flat enough to my liking. That is why the print then goes for 1.5 minutes in a Seal Compress 110 stick press (drymount press) enveloped in some high quality drawing paper with a heat of 85 degrees C. After this the print is perfectly flat. The paper I use is Adox MCC 110. This procedure takes only 32 minutes.


Erik.

I remember something like this from many years ago (i.e. When I was around nine years old). My recollection is that it was called a "ferrotyper" or "ferrotype press," with a chromed or polished stainless surface, and it was used to make glossy prints. The print was placed emulsion-side-down (facing the metal surface), held in place with the canvas in a frame stretched over it.


Are these still made?


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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I use a Premier electric print dryer. The print is forced against a curved metal surface by a tightly stretched canvas. It holds two 11 x 14 prints at a time. It forces the print into a slight curve, which then strengthens it against developing a compound curve. The print is then easily flattened in the dry mount press without developing any wrinkles.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
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After final wash, I squeegee, then air-dry fiber prints face-up between two screens (plastic) with about a 2mm gap between the screens. Takes about a day to fully dry. This only leaves a slight curl in the dried print. To flatten, I then wipe the back of the dried print with a damp sponge, then place it between 2 clean sheets of mat board and in a dry mount press for 35 sec at 200F. Prints come out perfectly flat.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #21
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Humidity is part of my problem. Here in New Mexico we seldom have any. I'm going to order some single weight paper. Never had this much trouble w/ curling, but the last time I wet printed was in Florida, where there's high humidity all the time.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #22
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If you find any single weight FB paper let us know. I am not sure any is manufactured anymore.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #23
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMur12 View Post
I remember something like this from many years ago (i.e. When I was around nine years old). My recollection is that it was called a "ferrotyper" or "ferrotype press," with a chromed or polished stainless surface, and it was used to make glossy prints. The print was placed emulsion-side-down (facing the metal surface), held in place with the canvas in a frame stretched over it.


Are these still made?


- Murray
The Büscher is still made - under a different name - but is very expensive new. It is important that these dryers are large, as large as possible. The heat must be even. Also the temperature controlling set is very important. I use a Htronic TS125, German made. If the heat is too high or too low, the print wrinkles.

Making high gloss prints is a specialism in its own right. I prefer glossy paper that is dried without gloss. Difficult enough.

Drying FB prints is a very serious matter. I copied my set up from Picto in Paris.

The costs of this drying set up however must be seen in the light of the cost of FB paper. A box of 100 sheets Adox MCC 110 of 18cm x 24cm will set you back for EUR 106.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Have you ever tried them?


Erik.
Yes, I use it on the regular basis. Now, reading your post I understand it is basically the same thing, but the FSU stuff is not that sophisticated - no temperature control etc. I do not put the emulsion side to the chrome plate (the way it is meant) because it is very difficult to get a quality gloss, but using it for simple drying purpose it works quite OK. It's not something one would use to meet the "gallery" type requirements, but for an amateur like me it is good enough.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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The only SW papers still made are Slavich, and they are difficult to get with any reliability in the US. I order direct, but supply is erratic, and offerings have shrunk over the last few years.

http://geola.com/product-category/photopaper/

In looking at that link, weight is no longer listed as an option. I would contact them directly, they have always responded to email quickly.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
The only SW papers still made are Slavich, and they are difficult to get with any reliability in the US. I order direct, but supply is erratic, and offerings have shrunk over the last few years.

http://geola.com/product-category/photopaper/

In looking at that link, weight is no longer listed as an option. I would contact them directly, they have always responded to email quickly.
The last time I ordered Slavich papers (direct from Russia) they said the single weight base was no longer made so the papers were offered only in double weight.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #27
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You can get flat prints if you build a print dryer. You need corrugated board and Pellon. You could also use blotter paper. Here is a description-

http://classicbwphoto.com/classicBWp...int_Drier.html

One thing is to make sure you have squeegeed the print so no water is left on the surface. Also keep the wet time down to as little as possible.

If you have a clamshell dryer, putting a dry print face up on it will take most of the curl out. I usually take a stack of prints and put them in a clamshell dryer, then turn the heat all the way up. When it gets hot, I turn it off and let the prints cool down. When done the prints will be fairly flat.

You can also pull the print over the edge of a table. That works if you are desperate....

Hope that helps you.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #28
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Here's the Matte Print Dryer I'm building (on the left). Cost a small fortune 'cause I used the finest Marine Grade Plywood. Makes the darkroom smell really woody and pleasant.

I've just ordered all the stuff to finish it, total cost about $450

Matte Print Dryer and Film Dryer by Nokton48, on Flickr
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #29
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I squeegee the water off, then dry them face down on clean kitchen towels...

...which makes them curly as all hell!

I leave them for 48 hours, then flatten them under books for a week or more. At that point they are okay to frame. If I'm just storing the prints, rather than framing them, they go at the bottom of the pile of other prints and eventually end up flat(ish).


(Apologies for the most unhelpful post ever).
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #30
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokton48 View Post
total cost about $450
Matte Print Dryer and Film Dryer by Nokton48, on Flickr

That's about the double I paid for my set up.

I don't understand how you can dry your prints in these wooden boxes.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
That's about the double I paid for my set up.


Erik.
The marine grade plywood was $190 for a 4x8' sheet

It uses four "cone heaters" wired in series, cost $39 each

The print dryer uses layers of cardboard and photographic blotters from Freestyle, not expensive. Two muffin fans pull the heated (but not super hot) air, pulling it through the pleats in the cardboard. The article says 16x20 DW prints dry in four to five hours. It also runs just with the muffin fans, for no heat drying


The plans:

Plans Matte Print Dryer by Nokton48, on Flickr

The article also suggest using sheets of canvas material touching the emulsion sides of the paper in the print stack. My Kodak Blotter rolls have that. 11x14 and smaller I have always dried in Kodak Blotter rolls. I recently bought a second one for the new darkroom. Also I want to learn to do fine woodwork and this was an extremely fun project to build, following the original 1970s plans
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #32
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My two Kodak Blotter Rolls by Nokton48, on Flickr

Up to 11x14 these also work just fine. Takes days to air dry, I have also added a hair dryer when I was in a hurry.

The gently curled prints went under a heavy pile of books for a week. Then flat as a filbert
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #33
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I have an old iron book press, enormous heavy, that was used for bookbinding. It delivers an enormous pressure, but even after two years in this press, the pictures weren't flat.

Pressure alone doesn't help, you'll need heat.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #34
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Erik, you write that your Büscher keeps the temperature at 40C - why exactly this temperature? I know this FSU stuff uses much higher temperature.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #35
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Quote:
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Erik, you write that your Büscher keeps the temperature at 40C - why exactly this temperature?
I found this temperature experimentally. This is were the digital temperature controller comes in. When the temperature is too high, the picture dries uneven: first the central part of the print dries and then the borders. When the print dries uneven, wrinkles arise. So the print must dry as evenly as possible, I've found out that this goes best at 40 degrees C.

With the digital temperature controller the Büscher always stays exactly on the same temperature. When the print is dry and cooled down, I put it in the Seal to get it as flat as possible. The whole procedure, from flushed print to pressed in the dry mount press, takes about 35 minutes.

I think amateur print dryers can also benefit from a digital temperature controller such as the Htronic TS125. Normally those dryers get way too hot.

Erik.


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #36
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Thirty seconds sandwiched by release paper in the dry mount press does it perfectly for me with Ilford DW Matte FB. This is for an already dry print, obviously.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #37
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Matte Print Dryer Guts Finally Here by Nokton48, on Flickr

Petersons Photographic Matte Print Dryer by Nokton48, on Flickr


Petersons Photographic Matte Print Dryer Guts finally Here ^^
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