flat bed print dryers for FB paper

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I am about to start using Fibre paper for the first time and would appreciate some advice !!!! I have just won a load of FB paper and chemicals including selenium andd gold toners in a competition. But I would like some comments on how best to dry the resulting prints. Should I dry them naturally on screens or use a flat bed dryer. The reason that I am contemplating using the dryer option is that part of the competition prize is photo equipment from the KAISER range of products. The Kaiser flat bed dryer falls within the limit of the prize monies. I have read that dryers need to be kept clean (especially the blanket). How does heat drying affect toning (selenium or gold) Many thanks in anticipation. Paul

-- Paul Owen (paul@paulowenphotography.freeserve.co.uk), March 19, 2000


I use Oriental Seagull fiber-based paper. It is a double weight paper and very good quality. I let the prints dry naturally on a large screen. They normally dry well in about 24 hours. This works fine, but you need to dry mount them after they are dry because of the amount of curling up that happens. When dry mounted, they look great.

Good luck.

-- Mark DeMulder (mdemulde@usgs.gov), March 19, 2000.

The head dryers can work well and you already understand about keeping the blanket clean. Three problems generally crop up. First, too hot and the prints curl along the edges and the center of the print sticks to the blanket. Test a few prints first & as they are drying try brushing your hand over the top of the blanket to keep mositure coming off a bit quicker to help even the drying process. Second, blanket contamination. Don't be afraid to clean it often. As you do be aware of the find cloth fibres that get loose and as you dry can dry right into the surface of the print. Third, with some papers you will get a bit of tonal change with heat. Some of the Agfa papers seem to warm up a bit with the application of heat, a good creative option. Air dried papers work well but you may then need to flatten in a dry mount press using heat. If you dry from the start with heat and work with it a bit you might get rid of this problem.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), March 19, 2000.

I use Forte and Oriental papers and have found that screens, such as those sold by Calumet under the old Zone VI logo, work better than driers. Keeping the drier clean, free from any grit or hypo can be a problem. The screens, on the other hand, can be washed in a sink with a combination of clorox and water and last quite well. I placed some standards on my darkroom wall and used the supports for shelves, but my shelves are my screens. One hint that works for me. I dry my prints face up to avoid the screen grid marks. Before I place the images on the screens, I drain them on large clean plexiglass --the kind available in hardware-home depot tye store-to remove excess water.

-- Bob Moulton (bobmargaretm@home.com), March 19, 2000.

Paul, There is absolutely no way you can really keep the blanket on a flat bed dryer clean enough not to give you worries about contamination when you are trying to process and present archivally. The time- honored and simplest method is to dry your prints face-up on clean screens, which you can wash from time to time in a dilute chlorine bleach solution (neutralizes fixer). Yes the prints curl, but fiber- base prints curl from the flat bed dryers as well. There are many ways to flatten them, but, as mentioned above, dry-mounting (my personal preference) or other type of archival mounting with an overmat and frame is usually what will be your goal for a finished product. Save yourself some money and worry and go down to your local window screen shop and have them make you up some screens to your dimensions with nylon or poly screen material and the cheapest anodized extruded frame you can find. Then you can use your prize money for something really important. BTW, I like to leave a little extra space around the edges of my prints for air circulation and space the screens with wooden or plastic blocks. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (ScudderLandreth@compuserve.com), March 20, 2000.

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