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jip

ILFORD VC and Kentmere VC paper curl

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Hey guys,

 

I've set up my darkroom again and love printing, however:

 

When my papers have dried (just ambient drying) the papers always curl a but towards the corners.

 

How can I minimise the curling, and or flatten already dried photos?

 

Thanks! 

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The old tricks are to hang prints on a line with two prints back to back and the top and bottom corners pegged together like washing, or face down on a muslin cloth drying rack.

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I have now put them under some heavy books, will see how they look later today

 

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Heavy books works for me Jip, but to be fair mine stay pretty flat.

 

I've used Steve's peg method too, maybe try that next time.

 

Many years ago I had a drying press, face down on the polished metal for glossy, or if matt face up against the canvas. Fortunately things have changed, for the better.

 

Gary

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Try to not dry your prints in a warm room: they'll curl more !

 

People tape wet prints to glass, or dry them and use books on them . . . I use dry-mounting presses that press them flat. Most b/w fiber printing businesses have these.

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I use dry-mounting presses that press them flat.

I do the same. A couple of minutes at about 200 degrees followed by a couple of minutes in a cold press seems to get them pretty flat.

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Maybe next time I'll dry them in my Loggia, where it's about 5ºC colder than my living room. 

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If you think VC paper curls - wait 'til you try some fiber-based paper.

 

foreground - http://www.thesilosonsawyer.com/silos-project/2015/1/23/the-first-prints

 

Drying photo paper curls because the gelatin emulsion shrinks more on drying than the paper backing, applying a tension force. VC (or RC) paper actually curls less than the the old-school fiber paper, due to the stiffening effect of the resin "water-resistant" coating.

 

But either way, I use weights (usually books, like the others) to hold my drying book flat during drying.

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If you think VC paper curls - wait 'til you try some fiber-based paper.

 

I am sorry, I misread the original post and thought you were talking about fiber paper. It is NOT a good idea to use a dry mounting press for RC papers.

 

For fiber paper, after pressing at about 200 degrees as Logan says, it is important to "rest" the prints between acid free blotters (not too heavy cartons). I leave them there for at least a night. After that I trim 5mm away from each side, which releases the paper's tension. Then I store them inside a box face to face . . .

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There actually exist dedicated heated print dryers. Not sure how well they work with RC/VC papers (maybe, with a very low temperature setting to avoid melting/softening the resin coating). Kinda-sorta like a mounting press, except less pressure and less heat. The paper goes between a metal heating surface and a slightly taut canvas "lid" for delicate pressure.

 

This one is manual and two-sided. Place the prints(s) with the emulsion against the mirror-polished metal for a "ferro-typed" or mirror-gloss surface (definitely only with fiber paper, not VC/RC, which already has a mirror gloss surface!), and with the emulsion against the canvas for a more natural surface finish.

 

https://www.freestylephoto.biz/2032-Premier-Thermostatic-Print-Dryer-(T2C)-12-in.-x-17-in.

 

Drawbacks: care must be taken to be sure the print is very well washed, or the canvas will eventually acquire stains from any remaining photo chemicals (and no longer be archival) - and the mirror-gloss metal plate must be protected from scratches or they will get embossed into the emulsion when drying for the ferrotyped gloss surface. And of course they take up shelf or counter space, and require another electrical outlet.

 

They also come/came in semi-automated, large, roller form, with a continuous canvas belt running around a large cylindrical drum (up to 3 feet/1meter diameter) Just feed the prints in on the belt, face up or face down, and 10 minutes later** they drop out into a hopper fully dry. For large-volume labs.

 

https://www.freestylephoto.biz/272150-Arkay-Dual-Dry-150-Print-Dryer

______

** Thus the famous song - "Some day my prints will come."

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But either way, I use weights (usually books, like the others) to hold my drying book flat during drying.

 

I do not make prints larger than 8x10, so this works well with a stack of prints and alternating layers of blotter paper.

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I do the same. A couple of minutes at about 200 degrees followed by a couple of minutes in a cold press seems to get them pretty flat.

 

^^^ This is exactly the answer I was looking for in a thread which I posted in this forum last year: https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/278996-dry-mount-press-and-usage/

 

When you say "cold press" you mean having the print sitting in the same press just with the temperature turned off after it was heated to 200 deg C for a few minutes? Or do you transfer the still warm print to a different not heated press?

Edited by Martin B

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^^^ This is exactly the answer I was looking for in a thread which I posted in this forum last year: https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/278996-dry-mount-press-and-usage/

 

When you say "cold press" you mean having the print sitting in the same press just with the temperature turned off after it was heated to 200 deg C for a few minutes? Or do you transfer the still warm print to a different not heated press?

 

The same press that has been left to cool or a second press (if you have one) that hasn't been heated.  I've also found it effective to simply put the print under some heavy books for a few hours after it comes out of the heated press.  That avoids having to warm-up/cool down the press if you have one press and need to flatten multiple prints.

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The same press that has been left to cool or a second press (if you have one) that hasn't been heated.  I've also found it effective to simply put the print under some heavy books for a few hours after it comes out of the heated press.  That avoids having to warm-up/cool down the press if you have one press and need to flatten multiple prints.

 

Thanks, again very useful advice! I have only one press, so I would leave the print in there between the two matts during cool-down. Makes sense to keep it in between books for a while afterwards, too. 

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RC paper should not curl at all. I printed on Kentmere RC VC and have fresh Ilford RC VC recently. It is one of the benefits of RC paper. Second is in short washing time.

 

FB paper, most of it will curl. Press, electrical dryers were made to deal with it. One store where I'm still has used ones available. But I just let it dry, un-curl it against the edge of the table and press it with weight for few days.

Not ideal, but hey, I have seen Winogrand's original prints on exhibition where I have to pay to see them. They were just like mine. Not ideally flat.

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RC paper should not curl at all. I printed on Kentmere RC VC and have fresh Ilford RC VC recently. It is one of the benefits of RC paper. Second is in short washing time.

 

FB paper, most of it will curl. Press, electrical dryers were made to deal with it. One store where I'm still has used ones available. But I just let it dry, un-curl it against the edge of the table and press it with weight for few days.

Not ideal, but hey, I have seen Winogrand's original prints on exhibition where I have to pay to see them. They were just like mine. Not ideally flat.

 

I'm describing what I do for FB paper, I don't print on RC.

 

Before I had a press I flattened my FB prints solely by putting them under weight for a few days.  I thought they were flat enough but I took one to a professional framer and they advised me against framing it unless it was flattened further.  The press did the trick and I've been using one ever since.  But if you are ok with some rippling/gaps between the print and the mat (assuming you're matting and not dry mounting) then a press may be overkill.  Apparently it was for Winogrand

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I only use RC paper anymore.

 

I own a print dryer that will accomodate up to 16x20 prints. It’s two sided so I can dry 2 of this size print at a time, hardly ever anymore as I rarely make this large of a print. Medium format for a print this large!

 

What I do is put the print face down on the dryer, wipe off any water on the back with a towel, then remove the print and put it face up and snug up with cloth holder. I only dry it few a minute or two as this is how long it takes with my dryer. It usually is flat when I take it out of the dryer but I will put it into a book that will cover the entire print for a short while.

Edited by Bill Clark

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I only use RC paper anymore.

 

I own a print dryer that will accomodate up to 16x20 prints. It’s two sided so I can dry 2 of this size print at a time, hardly ever anymore as I rarely make this large of a print. Medium format for a print this large!

 

What I do is put the print face down on the dryer, wipe off any water on the back with a towel, then remove the print and put it face up and snug up with cloth holder. I only dry it few a minute or two as this is how long it takes with my dryer. It usually is flat when I take it out of the dryer but I will put it into a book that will cover the entire print for a short while.

 

Do you use any kind of matting in between the dryer plates and the print? I always have two cover matts on top and bottom inside the dryer and put the print in between them. They absorb also some water and protect the dryer plates from dirt or fiber wear. Can you please elaborate what you mean with "snug up with cloth holder" ? (sorry, English is not my first language). Do you simply refer to hanging it to dry after having the print in the press for a short time? 

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Hi,

 

Just read your inquiry.

 

I find RC paper takes little time to dry. Only leave it in the print dryer a minute or so. First I put the image side on to the dryer as this enables me to use a soft towel and dry off the back of the print. Step two, I take the paper off the dryer, then place it down with the image side up, you can see it. Then I close the dryer with the cloth,leave for a minute or two then remove it from the dryer. With RC paper, the paper doesn’t absorb water like a fiber paper. It doesn’t take long to dry an RC paper as the paper part isn’t absorbing water.

 

Here is an example of the dryer I use:

 

https://www.freestylephoto.biz/2032-Premier-Thermostatic-Print-Dryer-(T2C)-12-in.-x-17-in.

 

I don’t use any matting.

 

Hope this helps you.

Edited by Bill Clark

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More thoughts.

 

Strange, my mind is working a lot today! Grins!

 

I don’t encounter curling with RC paper. I believe if it stays too long in a print dryer the RC coating can get soft and perhaps curl. But since I leave it in the dryer a short time I don’t seem to have those issues of print curling. I usually will put the print from the dryer into a book to keep flat until it cools down, just to be safe.

Edited by Bill Clark

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