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The best way to dry film...

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Roger Hicks, May 7, 2015.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    ... tends to be whichever way you aren't using at the time. Since the late 60s I've tried all of them: as well as the salad spinner, which prompted this thread, I've used wet chamois leather, squeegee, two fingers, Drysonal (Tetenal's alcohol-based rapid dryer), even meths (once) and nothing at all. All have both practical and theoretical drawbacks but for some years now I've been using mostly Paterson squeegees and the occasional Tory substitute (give it two fingers). Grit big enough to scratch the image is usually big enough to feel, so scrupulous cleanliness with generous washing of the squeegee or fingers is essential.

    The biggest influence on clean, scratch-free negs has been Paterson water filters -- for a horror picture of what comes through the pipes in my darkroom see http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/mt paterson water filter.html -- but the wash sequence matters too: I give a final wash in de-ionized water and then a soak in de-ionized water with wetting agent at about half the manufacturers' recommended concentration before squeegeeing or whatever.

    Nowadays I use a professional drying cabinet (dirt cheap from a closing-down professional darkroom) but before that I used to get clean negs that dried quickly by pinning them up diagonally so that the water ran to the edge of the neg strip, not straight down.


  2. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I never got past the two fingers, line above the bath and clothes pegs at the bottom of the strip. :)
    Any apparent dust was cleaned prior to enlarging with a finger wiped on side of nose then along the negative.
    Worked for me.

  3. alindsay

    alindsay Well-Known Member

    Roger's tips are familiar, as I also use an inline water filter, use purified water for final rinse, and hang films off-vertical. Mostly, I hang films in the bathroom, since I've found the air there to be more dust-free than elsewhere, doubtless due to the higher water content in the air after shower-time bringing down more dust particles. I live in a very hard water area, but with the purified water rinse, I no longer get residues left from drying-out of hard water.

    I gave up squeegees decades ago after learning the hard way.

    I know some people use a spot of washing up liquid as a wetting agent. I've little experience of that, but I recall an article from many years ago, cautioning against it, which said that detergent contained agents designed to make crockery look shiny when they'd dried, and this wasn't stuff you wanted on your films. How much truth is in this is anybody's guess, for it's not uncommon for 'common knowledge' to turn out to be myth.
  4. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, that's made me grin!

  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    I'd have said that too until I learned to be REALLY CAREFUL about keeping the squeegee clean.


  6. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera In the Stop Bath

    Two drops of good quality washing up liquid in the final rinse then a fast spin or two in a paterson film dev tank, then hang the film up for a couple of hours in a warm room! Never squeegee or touch the emulsion side of the film with anything......
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    If what you touch it with is clean, soft and grit-free (squeegee, chamois, fingers), it'll do no harm. Honest. Otherwise there wouldn't still be people (including me) doing it. I've had more scratches in camera than from processing.


    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Probably some do/did, but concentrations are very low, so I doubt it's a real problem. What I can't understand, though, is why people don't juast buy Ilfotol or something similar: it's under £12 a litre, which at the recommended 1+200 is enough to process hundreds of films. I typically mix up 250 ml and give four or five films their final rinse in the same bath. In fact, a litre of 1+200 = 201 litres = 804 quarter-litres = maybe 2500 films. In fact it's a bit less than that because I sometimes make up 450 ml for 120 but even at 600 films for 1200 pence it's 2p a roll.


  9. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    That's what I use, at low concentrations since I'm tight. The squeegee was left in the stuff whilst the film was developed, never had a problem.

  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Steve,

    Not just tight: I find I get better results at 1+300 to 1+400. At 1+200 I got the occasional smear, at least with the Kodak product. Actually I'm just finishing a bottle of Agfa Agepon.


  11. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    Even keeping my paterson squeegee spotless gave me streaks on my negs. I just soak my negs in a bath of Ilfotol for a couple o' mins and leave to dry after first getting rid of any suds on the film. I use a Durst UT100 film dryer.
  12. alindsay

    alindsay Well-Known Member

    I agree completely. Ships and ha'porths o' tar.

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