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logan2z

Archival Print Washers - Current Options?

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I'm currently looking to purchase an archival print washer for fiber prints and have done a bunch of research online to see what's still being manufactured.  The only washer that I can find that still seems to be in production in the USA is the Versalab.  I was considering the washer from Rosy Products (apparently they made the Arkay washer) but was just informed by them that they no longer make it due to low demand

  It looks like the Washmaster ECO is still being manufatured by Nova, but they're in the UK so shipping costs are rather high and the cost of the washer is higher than the Versalab.  Any other options that I'm overlooking?  I could go used but haven't seen anything in nice shape for a reasonable price (saw a Zone VI at a local shop but it looked pretty nasty). 

 

Any feedback on the Washmaster ECO from anyone who owns/owned one?

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If you are a little handy, consider making a washer yourself. First determine the maximal print size, you will be processing. Then acquire a basin or a darkroom tray. The basin can wash many prints at the the time , the tray fever. If you have a darkroom sink with water outlet, it’s really easy, you can just let the basin or the tray empty in the sink. You need some plastic hosing, a connector , type garden hose. Epoxy glue and a wine cork. Cut the hose so it fits , make small holes with a drill, close it with the fitted cork , use knife and epoxy. Glue the hose with holes pointing upward in the buttom of the tray/ basin. Drill some 10 mm. Holes around the edge of the basin/ washer, for water outlet. Secure the inlet with the garden hose type connector to a faucet. Connect and control water pressure and temperature (could just be cold, but watch for sudden changes). If you don’t have a darkroom sink, you have to make an outlet with a bigger diameter hose and fit this into only one hole in the basin under the edge . I think the tray solution is solely for the darkroom sink use.

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Forgive if my solution is inappropriate, possibly too large for your purpose,

but it is definitely cost effective.

 

Google: water heater tray

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Being into DIY, and tight as, I did what Ole suggested, worked a treat. Mine was with an old 8x10 tray but the bigger the better.

Back in the day we had a big tray that had water circulating, which was all well and good, but as soon as you put a recently fixed print into the tank, you really were back to square one.

Now I just "store them up" and wash the whole lot in one batch.

Gary

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A  couple points: Hard water washes best by a magnitude because the minerals bind and carry away the hypo, then a soak and rinse in distilled water. It saves water and your print will live on. RC papers can be over-washed. Look at the edges of the print and if they are slightly swollen, they are way over-washed - water has penetrated the RC layer(s).

 

If you live by the ocean, rinse your prints there, then follow-up as above,

Edited by pico

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If your darkroom trough has room, use a series of trays, with running water as described above.

Otherwise, cascade three trays with  water entering the top tray. Prints go in the bottom tray first, then progress (manually) through the trays to the top where the freshest water is. Ten remove and dry.

 

I have done both and prefer the three, or two, consecutive trays, separately watered. Moving prints is easier with this system. My darkroom sink is large enough to handle this way for prints up to 20"x24".

 

Large rolls of paper I used to peg on the clothes line and hose them! Them were the days.

(15' was the longest I ever did.)

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The Kodak Automatic Tray Siphon works very well. You can find them cheaply on Ebay. They are most effective for a small number of prints. I fill mine normally with 2-4 prints in a tray that is about the size of the prints. I interleave the prints very frequently. I also dump and refill all the water every 10 minutes. 

 

I also use hyo]po clearing solution. It is an absolute necessity for guaranteed permanence. Follow what Ilford recommends for permanence - it is simple and effective. 

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Thanks for all of the responses.  I am somewhat handy but more inclined to throw a bit of money at a commercial washer.  I have enough projects to keep me busy around the house already

 A commercial washer is appealing because it will allow me to focus on other things while the prints are washing - without any manual intervention.

 

Still debating the Versalab vs. the Nova and will try and decide on which one to go for ASAP.  If anyone has used one (or both) of these then it would be great to hear your thoughts.

Edited by logan2z

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B&H seems to still list the Arkay model 1 as a special order item. Could be a mistake, but contacting them might be useful to determine options.

 

Jeff

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A  couple points: Hard water washes best by a magnitude because the minerals bind and carry away the hypo...If you live by the ocean, rinse your prints there, then follow-up as above,

 

Exactly right - the "wash aids" like PermaWash and Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent were developed (

) from a discovery by US Navy photographers during WW2. To avoid using precious fresh drinking water for washing prints at sea, they used the copious salt water instead, and noticed that prints washed that way showed far less tendency to show yellow/brown hypo stains over time.

 

Pretty much any "salt" in the water will help pry loose the fixer molecules from the gelatin and paper, although sulfites/metabisulphites work the best (sodium or ammonium), along with traces of sodium citrate and (I kid you not) "Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid tetrasodium."

_______________

 

In college I used the available large rotary print washers (could handle several dozen prints at once). Once on my own, a bathtub sufficed (think of it as a really BIG tray!). The archival vertical washers mentioned above obviously protect the prints better from physical collisions, and I expect any of them are essentially equally effective.

 

Hypo-laden water, like brine, is heavier than fresh water, thus the bottom-corner drains (or the shape/positioning of the inlet in Michael's syphon) all make sure the hypo goes thattaway as quickly as possible. The designs have been around for years because they all do the job.

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B&H seems to still list the Arkay model 1 as a special order item. Could be a mistake, but contacting them might be useful to determine options.

 

Jeff

 

Thanks, I hadn't noticed that.  I'll check with B&H and see if it's still available.

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Freestyle shows a couple of Paterson print washers designated as "New":

https://www.freestylephoto.biz/category/186-Darkroom/Darkroom-Equipment/Washers

 

Thanks for mentioning that.  I'll check with Freestyle and see if that's accurate.  

 

Edit: It looks like B&H lists them too as special order:

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/571379-REG/Paterson_PTP233_PTP233_Major_Print_Washer.html

Edited by logan2z

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In college I used the available large rotary print washers (could handle several dozen prints at once).

 

Those might have been East Street Gallery washers designed by Henry Wilhelm, Grinnell, Iowa. I used then, too, and BTW worked in Grinnell for years. I think, but am not sure, that Mr. Wilhelm eventually dropped the design.

Edited by pico

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https://www.adorama.com/papwas.html

 

I have one arriving tomorrow.

 

s-a

 

I suggest treating it gently - it is not very sturdy. I had one - eventually the rocking/agitation system broke. I also suggest that during a wash cycle you tip it over and empty it completely fairly frequently (say 4 times during 30 minutes), and refill with fresh water. Avoids questions about dilution of fixer in the wash water.

 

Also - use a wash aid. Look at Ilford's permanence process recommendations (and other independent tests). A wash aid is absolutely indispensable for permanence (not a matter of debate).

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Also - use a wash aid. Look at Ilford's permanence process recommendations (and other independent tests). A wash aid is absolutely indispensable for permanence (not a matter of debate).

Thanks for the durability warning. I have an 11x14 Versalab and it's about as tough as a Checker Cab but I can't justify using that water volume here in Denver to wash 8x10s (about all I do these days unless it's a gift or a sale). I've been pre-treating prints with a tablespoon of sodium sulfite and 0.5 teaspoon of NaCl in a liter of water. Seems to work very well; it's keeping the prints submerged that's been problematic. At my workflow "flimsy" will last a long time. Just wish flimsy had a better correlation with "inexpensive", but that's life in the film ghetto.

 

s-a

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RC paper does not need a lot of washing. In fact some RC is damaged a tiny bit with long or warm washes - the edges of the print start to accept water, distorting the edge.

 

But double-weight paper is another story. I'm lucky to have some that have lasted forty years - so far.

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RC paper does not need a lot of washing. In fact some RC is damaged a tiny bit with long or warm washes - the edges of the print start to accept water, distorting the edge.

 

But double-weight paper is another story. I'm lucky to have some that have lasted forty years - so far.

FB is almost all I use. It's much easier to spot, and a nicer texture to the surface.

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FB is almost all I use. It's much easier to spot, and a nicer texture to the surface.

 

Oh gosh, it IS so much more compliant to spotting, and mounting. I dearly miss the old Agfa DW paper.

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