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CambsIan 29th July 2020 07:55 AM

Washing FB Papers
As you may or may not know, I'm looking at using the Harman Direct Positive Paper Gloss FB.

Not used any FB papers before, and realise that to wash these properly they need something like and hour in running water. This seems to me to be using a large amount of water.

I have read (somewhere, but can't remember where) that as I will be developing in a print drum on rollers it is possible to use a "wash and change water" routine, a bit like the Ilford method of film washing, of 1 minute rinses 17 times, which if true reckon will use less water, this being better for me and the environment.

Can anybody tell me if they have a way to wash FB paper using the least amount of water possible ?


MartyNL 29th July 2020 08:35 AM

I first place prints in a holding tray filled with plain water that is changed routinely (so no HCA). Prints are then transferred to a closed-loop type system in the bath, where I use a small pump to circulate water. I've never seen any adverse affects and having recently toned prints, without problems, this has given me confidence in my print washing cycle.

Lostlabours 29th July 2020 09:10 AM

Use a 2 bath fixing system, this is more efficient and helps cut wash times and use wash aid, a 1-2% solution of Sodium Sulphite is sufficient. After fixing wash for a couple of minutes then 2 mins in the wash aid and about 30 mins wash in changing water..


Terry S 29th July 2020 11:59 AM

For the last 40+ years, I have always washed FB papers, after a first rinse, with a HCA - in the 1970's, it was just washing soda, as that was recommended in books of the time and was both easy to get and very cheap! :) Most recently it has been, as mentioned many times, good old sodium sulphite - using about a tablespoon full in about a litre of water.

In the 1970's the next step was to just leave the prints in the bath with a few inches of water, agitating them occasionally, and changing the water about four times.

Today, I use a Paterson upright print washer with a cradle and basically do the same thing as above. A first rinse of the prints, a soak in sodium sulphite followed by four changes of water with a little bit of agitation in between.

These two ways have given me stain free prints, even from the very beginning in the 1970's, of which I still have a few 10" x 8"s to prove it. :)

I was also given a posh FB washer, which is very heavy and I'm sure, words well, but I've only used it once or twice, then put it one side after I saw how much water it used...

Terry S

CambsIan 29th July 2020 12:14 PM

Hi All, many thanks for the replies.

Looks like I need to buy some Sodium Sulphite - is this the right type


JOReynolds 29th July 2020 12:15 PM

When I was working on a project for Kodak Harrow (I never actually worked for Kodak) they specified 'successive dilution', which could be a cascade of wash tanks or immersion in a discard/refill sequence. There was some arithmetic involved, which I don't remember, but my recollection is that immersion in a series of washes is/was far more efficient than a soak in running water.

Terry S 29th July 2020 01:22 PM


Originally Posted by CambsIan (Post 134779)
Hi All, many thanks for the replies.

Looks like I need to buy some Sodium Sulphite - is this the right type


That's the stuff Ian!

When I topped up a little while ago, I went for the one kg tub, as it works out cheaper. Also now that I am also trying out print and developer formulas, I'm using it a lot more than before. And then of course, the five kg is even cheaper still! :D

One kg link:

Terry S

Alan Clark 29th July 2020 02:25 PM

Ian, with no running water in my darkroom, print washers are out, so I use the following method.
Fresh fixer at 1+4. Print in fixer for a timed one minute.

Print then goes into an empty tray, and a pint of fresh water is poured on it, and agitated for about a minute, then discarded.

Print then goes in a tray of Wash Aid/hypo clear for five minutes with occasional agitation.

Print then goes in a holding tray of water.

At the end of printing the prints are put in empty, clean, trays , 2 or 3 to a tray, and immersed in fresh water.

After 10 minutes, with occasional agitation, the water is changed, then changed again after a further 10 minutes. Then the prints are hung up to dry.

I believe this is more or less the method recommended by Ilford. Apparently the fixer leaches out without the need for constant running water.


Richard Gould 29th July 2020 02:41 PM

After stop bath I use 2 bath fixing method, then as I don't have running water I use kodak HCA, 1 part in 4, for 4 minutes with constant agitation then into a holding bath, then into the cradle of a Paterson print washer for 30 minutes, very slow rate of flow of water as per Paterson's instruction's, and I have done this for the last 5 years and not a stain on any of them, previously, for however many years I would put 2 9 1/2 by 12 prints or !larger orint at a time in a home made print washer ( an old developing dish that had a lot of holes drilled in it and water in at the top/out the bottom), for the length of time it took me to make the next print, or pair of prints depending on the paper size, to have the next ready to wash, and again no stains or problems, The reason I changed to a print washer was that we had a drought over here and I was using a lot more water per print session, so washing an entire print session at one time was more economical with water

photomi7ch 30th July 2020 03:40 PM

As Alan has stated it is important not to fix for more than one minute if you are using rapid fix.

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