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Old 8th April 2009, 05:49 PM
John51 John51 is offline
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Default Ilford Multigrade

Hi, All,
Amongst my plethora of ebay purchases I seem to have no what I would call ordinary printing paper, but it all seems to be Ilford Multigrade, resin or fibre based.
I am at a loss to what this is, could somebody explain, and is the sinister brown safelight necessary, or could I get by with an orange or red one? I also have a packet of filters for the multigrade apparently?
Thanks!
John.
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Old 8th April 2009, 06:18 PM
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Ilford Multigrade IV is an enlarging paper that you use with the filters you also have (or you can use the filtration in your colour head if you have one on your enlarger) to alter the contrast of the paper. Grade 00 is the lowest contrast and grade 5 is the highest contrast - grade 2 is considered "normal" contrast and is the grade you should be aiming to use for most prints.

Resin coated paper (RC) is paper which has a plastic coating on both sides and the emulsion is coated on one side. It's advantages are that you can wash it quickly (2 mins max) and it dries quickly as the chemicals cannot soak in to the paper because of the plastic coating. It dries smooth and flat.

Fibre paper does not have any plastic coating and has the emulsion coated directly on the paper (more or less - there is a baryta coating on the paper to give a bright, smooth finish). This soaks up the chemicals so that washing takes much longer (typically 1 hour) and drying likewise takes hours. It dries with various amounts of curl and ripple depending on how it is dried and the type of paper etc. Despite all this, many people consider fibre paper gives a better result and feel it worth the extra effort.

As a beginner, most people would recommend you start with RC paper.

Practically any red/orange/brown safelight will work with Ilford MG IV - orange probably gives the brightest light but if have the brown, use that. Keep it at least 4 feet away from the paper at any point.
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Old 10th April 2009, 07:11 PM
John51 John51 is offline
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Bob,
Thanks for a comprehensive reply, which goes a great way to explaining things, it seems I have a lot to learn. The darkroom is nearing completion, I have stayed with mdf (thanks for the other solutions, folks) with one window permanently boarded and the other covered as necessary with mdf on those disco/group equipment type removable hinges at the top and nasty little aluminium bolts to hold the bottom in. I say nasty, I got them from Wickes and the screws supplied with them are not even slotted in the middle!
I managed to second user (scrounge) some useful lab equipment (I'm basically semi -retired but still do a few days in that business) so I've now got a temperature controlled waterbath shaker, now fixed, discarded due to loose fuse holders, and a beautiful pharmacy small fridge with an unfathomable digital (anti-spark) controller, which has not yielded to 6 hours of googling for the answer!!
Ha ha !

John.
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Old 15th April 2009, 07:53 PM
John51 John51 is offline
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My first attempts have not been great! Erring on the side of uncharactaristic tightness I thought I would try the worst of the paper I have got and the sealed but stressed chemicals..(all second hand"!)
No problems with the film development, although I thought the negatives a little "thin" enlarging to 5X7 produced a reasonable test sheet, but then after totally inconsistent results!
I blamed the chemicals, and a look on the Ilford site gave me the answer that batch numbers could be decoded on request. I had another look at the bottles, and, like most plastics, car trims and the like, the date of manufacture is there, in this case an arrow clock with the arrow bisecting the year and the head pointing to the month of manufacture of the bottle, at least, in one case, 2005!
I will try again with fresh stuff next time!

John.
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Old 15th April 2009, 09:58 PM
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That was when the bottle was made. The bottle may have been laying around in various plastics manufacturer, distributors and the chemical manufacturer's inventory for years before being filled. Assuming it was filled in 2005 or 2006 - fixer and stop bath would probably be fine at that age, but probably not developer.

Your conclusion is a good one though: use fresh film and chemicals if you want consistent results .
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Old 25th April 2009, 09:11 AM
John51 John51 is offline
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I have now uploaded a couple of my first attempts!
The masking is not great. I have used fresh chemicals and I still have half a box of FB Multigrade, which prints fine, but has a mind of it's own under the enlarger easel!
Thanks for the advice! These were taken on an OM2 I got off ebay, but I have since changed all light - seals, a messy job but made a lot easier with excellent materials and help from a gent in Canada via ebay!
I have also developed a film from my other pride and joy, a Mamiya 645 which I will add later. This also needed new seals, obviously a common problem caused by lack of use. I will try using a Paterson masking frame next time, I don't want to reject the FB multigrade as I still have half a box, and it's fine whilst I practice, hopefully the frame will tame the unruly nature of it's edges.

John.

Last edited by John51; 25th April 2009 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 25th April 2009, 09:41 AM
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As you have found John FB paper can be a bit of a hooligan. I use magnets around the easel arms to help weigh them down if the paper is too curly.
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Old 25th April 2009, 04:57 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John51 View Post
I will try using a Paterson masking frame next time, I don't want to reject the FB multigrade as I still have half a box, and it's fine whilst I practice, hopefully the frame will tame the unruly nature of it's edges.

John.
I am not sure what kind of Paterson framing easel you have in mind but the fixed variety I have seen are plastic with very small borders(3/4mm) in the5X7 size and only a little more in the 10x8. I have a 5x7 Paterson frame myself

I have never used FB but I hadn't realised that not only is it a problem in terms of curling when processed but is also a problem in its pre-exposed state.

Anyway now to my point. I'd have doubts about the fixed size Paterson plastic easel if the edges are that unruly. There is very little to hold them down in the 5x7 size. In fact the fixed easels seem to rely on the paper being flat> It simply goes into grooves and there isn't any arms as such to hold the paper down.

The fixed size all metal Durst Comask my be a better bet as the paper is held down. It does a 10x8 or two 5x8s or 4 4x5s on a 10x8 paper.

Mike
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Old 26th April 2009, 05:46 PM
John51 John51 is offline
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Dave,
The magnets are a great idea! I have a lovely LPL easel, you would think that that would tame the FB beast.
Mike,
You are right.The main problem is, is that the paper was kept inside the box for a long period, and has an unwieldy curvy bias against it, and doesn't want to sit nicely on anything flat. I also have a nice Meopta easel, but why doesn't it have a white platform?
Thanks all, John.
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Old 26th April 2009, 06:29 PM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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Why do you need a white platform John?
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