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Storing Chemicals

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by KierFX, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. KierFX

    KierFX Well-Known Member

    Last week, I scored a bargain I think picking up a Meopta Opemus 6 colour head enlarger, and literally all the darkroom kit you'd ever need, with duplicates!

    Today I bought my new set of chemicals, last year I bought Ilfosol 3, Rapid Fixer, and Ilfostop - and all but the Ilfostop had gone off I think.

    Today I bought:

    5L of ID-11 (and a 5L HDPE bottle)
    1L of Multigrade Dev
    500ml of Rapid fixer.

    and i'm still confused as to how to store and how long they'l last! I want them to last as long as possible, of course.
    I read online that diluted Multigrade will process 70 10x8 prints, which sounds great since in total i'd get 700 10x8 prints out of the bottle but i've also read that you can't store working strength developer for longer than 24 hours. I will only be using my darkroom setup once a week or so, to print maybe 5 prints, so having to dispose of my developer and not using its full potential will make it very expensive.

    As for the ID-11, I've read that the concentrate when mixed will last 3 months in a half-full tight lidded bottle which still isn't a great time - I don't care about using my film dev as a 1 shot.

    Fixer, when mixed, will last for a few weeks or until I can see silver in the solution.

    The stop bath, will be able to be used until it turns purple

    I know this article doesn't make much sense, but could someone really give me some help and explain

    A) How I can best store concentrate (without a accordion bottle)
    B) Can I reuse my multigrade dev, fixer, and stop? (and how to store this)

  2. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    Keep the bottles filled to the top by adding glass marbles.
    You can reuse fixer and stop (I use plain water and never bother with a special stop).
    Mix only enough developer for the session and then discard. I know it can be reused by calculation
    (it's in the directions) but I prefer to use fresh every session.)
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The chemicals go off with exposure to air and light. This happens faster in warm conditions. My mind boggles at the ambition of doing 700 10x8's straight off - I think you will recalibrate with experience. Best to accept you can't dip in and out of wet-printing like you can digital but you have to work in sessions while the chemicals are OK. Once mixed they will last a couple of weeks depending on use. I'm surprised stop bath went off, though it is a long time since I did any printing and might remember wrong.
  4. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Stop Bath keeps for a long time, undiluted fixer keeps well but developer is subject to attack by air and light. Working strength developer is particularly short lived, I always used to do a batch of prints and then discard it, after a number of prints you can notice that it is deteriorating. I could never really be bothered mixing up chemicals from the powders, I used concentrates. At one time it was quite common to spray an inert gas into the top of the developer bottle to reduce the degree of oxidisation over a period, some used to drop glass marbles into the bottle to keep it effectively full, my view was that they could introduce contamination. Above all keep developer in dark conditions to minimise damage from light.
  5. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Ilford's plastic containers are now very thin. Plastic 'breathes'. It is worth decanting their product into brown glass labelled bottles. Take care that chemicals are kept away from where children might access them.

    I do not recommend Ilford's Hypam. Over decades, however it is stored, cool/room temp/light/dark it comes out of solution and may leave deposits on developed & washed film. Fomafix seems to be much better.

    Do not throw small amounts of powder mixed developer away. Instead use it with a fresh mix to 'condition' it. Experiment with quantities and see what works for you. I would start with a 5% mix, old to new.

    Thing about B&W work is to keep notes, work methodically, remain as consistent as possible with film & dev (unless you want to experiment endlessly), keep notes, test everything, keep notes and oh, be methodical while keeping notes. Do that in the darkroom, when printing, too.

    Most of all, have fun!

    PS: Avoid accordion bottles, waste of money and nigh impossible to clean thoroughly. They are also 'thin' in places. Schloer bottles used to be a great source of 'free' bottles before they went to clear glass. A good, friendly chemist should be able to get proper brown glass storage bottles. If not, go for a catalogue from a school science lab supplier, several to choose from online.
  6. KierFX

    KierFX Well-Known Member

    Would green tinted apple juice bottles be a option? I have lots and lots of them, so might be my best option. I would use a bleach bottle, although my mom "wont use bleach" so we dont have any empty ones in the house.
  7. KierFX

    KierFX Well-Known Member

    Do you mean mixed stop bath or concentrate? Would keeping in my black HDPE bottle be enough for it to be "dark"?
  8. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I meant concentrate, I still have some that is over twenty years old:eek:. Even mixed it keeps quite well, being basically acetic acid (vinegar!), but in use the developer carried over (which is alkaline) degrades it steadily, depending on how much is carried over, being partly down to your working methods. Some used to have an indicator that turned the liquid to purple when it was exhausted.

    A black bottle should be adequate, but if you can keep chemicals in a cool cupboard it will help their shelf life once opened or mixed.

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