Paterson print washer - does it fulfill my needs? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I have previously used a Kodak tray siphone to rinse my fiber based prints. I produce a maximum of 10 24x30 cm prints during a session and having the siphone running during most of the printing session has always done the job for me (although it means using a lot of water). The Kodak tray siphone set up gives two "compartments" and I rinse each print separate for about an hour.

However, I will have to abandon this procedure (and save water). The reason is that I have moved and just found that the heater in the new place cannot provide water of the required temperature for more than maybe two hours during the winter.

The obvious solution would be to stack the finished prints in a tray with water, then rinse them together in a vertical washer at the end of the printing session. The washer would not need to have separate compartments (i.e., it would not need to be archival) as long as it rinsed the prints properly.

For a limited budget the Paterson vertical washer seems to fulfill my needs, but I have noticed some rather negative remarks in this forum concering its construction and that prints tend to "pop up". Will it do the job for me, considering I intend to place all prints in it at the same time? Does it circulate water around the prints properly? Or is buying it just a waste of money?


-- Per Askerlund (, February 20, 2001


The approach to best conserve water for washing prints is soaking in successive baths rather than continuously flowing. I used this approach ages ago when I didn't know what a print washer was, couldn't afford one then anyhow. Those prints have lasted over 30 years with no signs of degradation.

-- Charlie Strack (, February 20, 2001.

I've use a Patterson 11x14 (inch) washer for 15 or 20 years, and am quite happy with it.

-- Bill Mitchell (, February 20, 2001.

Washing prints in cold water, straight from the tap, is no problem. I've worked in numerous commercial setups, and none of them have bothered to temper the water for B&W print washing. The same applies to prints I've processed in my home darkroom, and they're all fine even 30 years later.
It's wise not to drop the prints straight from the fixing bath into near-freezing water, but an extra dish of water at an intermediate temperature is an easy 'solution' (sorry about the pun).

-- Pete Andrews (, February 21, 2001.

Dear Per,

there seems to be another possibility to save water. You could use a so called soda interim bath. It is a 1% sodium carbonate solution (10 g sodium carbonate sicc. diluted in 1000 ccm water)and can be inserted between fixer and final wash. This bath enables the fixer to be washed better and faster out of the soft paper. This not only reduces the final wash by about 30% but also shall improve the storage live of the prints. The treatment lasts about 2-3 minutes. Without this bath the prints should be washed 20 - 40 min. With the bath inserted the washing time is between 15 - 30 min.

I hope this helps you to solve your problem.

Regards Wolfgang Reinhard

-- wolfgang reinhard (, February 21, 2001.

I've never heard of a soda interim bath. Sounds interesting, and it would serve me well in my setup. Is there someplace -- book, article, etc. -- where I can get more information about this procedure and its efficacy?

-- Christopher Hargens (, February 21, 2001.

I've never heard about it either, but it makes sense since an alkaline environment softens the emulsion of the print thereby enhancing toning and washing. In his book "The Elements of Black and White printing" Carson Graves mentions a Dehardening solution (20 g sodium carbonate/l water). Thanks for your suggestions.


-- Per Askerlund (, February 22, 2001.

I have an older Patterson washer, and it works fairly well. My only gripe is that it has gizmo that rocks the prints, and it is tough to get it adjusted to work just right. Again, mine is probably 15+ years old, so the design maybe improved. All said, if you don't spend much for it, it will probably be ok. I always lusted after the Zone 6 but could never justify the bucks.

-- Bruce Appel (Appelgate, February 22, 2001.

Mr. Charlie Strack,

Can you please explain your method of washing in detail? Thank you.

Francis T. Knapik

-- Francis T. Knapik (FKNAPIK@MAIL.NYSED.GOV), February 22, 2001.

I believe you can buy the sodium bath already mixed as Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent, or Heico Perma Wash. kevin

-- kevin kolosky (, February 22, 2001.

Most wash aids (Kodak HCA, Heico Perma Wash, etc) are some form of sulfite instead of carbonate. I think Kodak is sodium sulfite, and Heico is potassium sulfite.

Check the Ilford site for a reduced water processing technique. Basically you use two baths of film strength rapid fixer for a total fixing time of 1 minute (this avoids a lot of fixer absorbing into the paper), then a short wash, followed by a wash aid then another short wash. MUCH shorter washing times.

The Heico bottle (which is what I use) recommends a 2 minute first wash, 2 minutes in Perma Wash, then a 2 minute final wash for double weight fiber paper.

-- Terry Carraway (, February 23, 2001.

I found the information regarding the interim bath in the b&w brochure "the latest technologiy for a classic principle" from Agfa. It is available from Agfa´s subsidiarys.

Regards Wolfgang

-- wolfgang reinhard (, February 28, 2001.

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