Drying 4x5 B&W film

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What's the best way to hang up and dry 4x5 b&W film after processing ? I cannot find clips that do not encroach into the image area.

-- Jim Billups (jimblps@earthlink.net), January 02, 2000


The best clips I've found for this are small clips made by Kodak. I don't know if they are still listed from them, but I'm sure a search of larger stores, or in Shutterbug will turn up some. They were not cheap, but extremely precise, limited in "bite size" and perfect for the job. I installed 12 on hooks drilled into a 1x1, which I then hung on my drying line in my darkroom. These clips work best when you insert one corner of a 4x5 into them. Any water draining from a sheet collects in the bottom corner, ready for sponging off. Look for them in boxes of 10.

-- Alec (alecj@bellsouth.net), January 02, 2000.

I recently built myself a drying cabinet for 4x5 and medium format film, and I ran into the same problem. I've decided to try some metal clips that I purchased at Office Max, a local business supply store. For size, and for not encroaching on the image area, they're ideal. They also come in four colors, if that should be of use. The handles have holes that makes them easy to suspend.

However, not being specifically designed for photographic use, I'm watching them pretty closely for signs of wear, corrosion, etc., that might affect the film. I haven't seen anything yet, but I'll continue to watch. Anyway, I squeegee my film prior to drying, to remove most of the remaining water.

-- Neil Poulsen (neil.fg@worldnet.att.net), January 02, 2000.

If you don't want to squeegee your films, hang them from one corner only. Otherwise there is a risk that water collecting on the lower end will form a water balk that leaves permanent drying marks on the film. I have found Paterson made plastic clips with two sharp tags good (and secure) for hanging sheet films. Punch just one tag through the corner of the film and leave to dry. If the film has a tendency to curl while drying, put another on the bottom corner.

-- Jan Eerala (jan.eerala@itameri.net), January 02, 2000.

I found some plastic laundry clips that can be set to grip the film outside of the image area. My other suggestions: use Edwal LFN and distilled water; also, when water collects at the bottom of the negative touch the edge with a paper towel to remove the water by capillary action.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), January 02, 2000.

I dry all my films with laundry pegs/ clothes pegs and hang each sheet by one corner. I have found that by using a rinse aid in the final wash I have had success in preventing drying marks. I had tried pegs in opposite corners but found that water had a tendency to collect at the lowest one. I hang the pegs from wire coat hangers that are bent to fit over the top of a door. Regards Paul

-- Paul Owen (paul@paulowenphotography.freeserve.co.uk), January 02, 2000.

Like the previous poster, I use wooden laundry clothes pins, the common everyday sort with a metal spring to hold them closed. I take them apart though and reverse them, so that rather than having a broad grasping surface, they resemble a pair of tweezers, with a fairly small surface area in contact with the film. They are strung on a piece of sting running in the rafters. I do get a small drying mark in the unexposed area of the film caused by the film holder, but so far this has not been a problem, even with 8 X 10 contact prints.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), January 02, 2000.

Two things, use a weak solution of photoflo, about half the recomended mix. use the photoflo in a small tray. Put the negative in emulsion side down (notch in the upper left corner). Agitate for 3 seconds and then let sit for 1 minute. When you tack the film out, lift it slowly and take a little out at a time. If you take it out in one fell swope you will get scumming. Do not squegee just hang

I have found some platic clothes pins that work well. They do not have the standard clothes pin shape, but have a nice flat mating surface with pressure right to the edge. When you hang the negative use a little planing. You are likley to get a little mark on the corner you clip (always clip in the corner) and a little blob of photoflo at the bottom corner, these things are tough to get rid of so atleast make sure they are out of your way

Finally, I gave my wife $10 and told her to go get me an asortment clothes pins. It was well wore the invesment to come up with the right one

-- marc fleischman (marcfleischman@msn.com), January 02, 2000.

The clip that I use, that seems to work very well is a stainless steel alligator clip from the hardware store. It has a hole in the post for hanging and nice sharp teeth on the end for the film. Hang the film from the notched edge,I tap the lower corner of the film with my finger to remove the accumulated water in the corner.Photo Flo seems to thick so I like to use Ilford's wetting solution.

-- jacque staskon (jacque@cybertrails.com), January 03, 2000.

I do not use clips at all when drying my 4 x 5 negs, instead I have a couple of stainless steel, sheet film developing racks. The wire sides and bottom are crinkled and one can spring up to a dozen or so 4 x5 films into it. The film is then held on three sides, after a short soaking in wetting agent, one can give the whole thing a hearty shake to remove excess water.

-- Julian Bell (job@webstar.nl), January 04, 2000.

Years ago I worked after school for a portrait studio that used both 5x4 and 10x8 washing was normal with a final PF rinse then the negs were clipped by one corner and left to drain. About 5 mins later the water that collected on the bottom corner was removed by lightly touching the suspended drop of water. The nges were kept apart incase of the occasional curling.

-- Steve Nicholls (GL1500@CHARIOT.NET.AU), January 08, 2000.

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