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Henk Mantel: I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

February 17, 2013

This week has been of week of going over and over the mishaps and misfortunes. Too much went wrong. So back to the basics, as if I hadn't been at that stage all along. Two problems had to be solved. Yes, had to be, not still have to be, solved. Why should you read a sad story?

First, the extremely thin emulsion. Like water it was, but apt to thicken as soon as it touched the soaked paper. Of course as a consequence there was no way to even try to get a smooth layer of emulsion. Dunes certainly; valleys, volcanoes emerging at their own accord. Whatever landscape you want I coat it for you, but no calm seas, not even a pond. Being at a loss, I could do with a little help. On Apug part of the riddles were solved, and also Denise gave a lot of very welcome advice. Can't express how grateful I am.

But I had been blundering, you know. The tape on the pusher should be on the paper, not beside it. Having sorted this out the whole coating thing started to make sense. I fiddled a little with the number of wraps of tape, and was ready to go, were it not that the old setting problem still existed. In the darkroom the temperature at my height is about 20°C. But that does not mean that everything else is 20°C too. I tested it with a bit of wet paper, the glass plate remained at 14,3°C. I don't want the darkroom to be as hot as a sauna, so how to heat a three foot long glass plate? Warming it up is no problem, but it should be at a steady temperature. Let not anybody copy it, but such a thing, like a blanket with incorporated heating wires from the pre-central heating era warmed the glass plate up to almost the setting temperature of gelatin. That is just below 20°C. It is a perfect solution, but it could be a little dangerous, so it will not be repeated, I have to come up with something else. Furthermore I was advised (a big thank you Denise) to try and lower the emulsion temperature. So three major changes had to be applied. The tape on the paper, the glass plate at 19°C and the emulsion at 35°C.

It's time to draw a conclusion:

With a lot of help the goal of a good quality paper is within reach, and be sure I know what can go wrong. But be convinced that all these nuisances can be overcome. To be honest, how long have I been doing this yet? Really hands on I mean. Just days!

And here you are: A good quality piece of paper.

All right, this batch of emulsion is a bit fogged, but that's far easier solved than this coating problem. What about this emulsion addiction I mentioned before? It is worsening but it keeps me in good shape.

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