drying 4x5 negs

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Hi All,

Can anyone give advice on drying 4x5 negs by the clothes line and clothes pin method? I have used the wooden clothes pins and they seem to leave a nasty mark on the corner where it pinches the negative.(I develop in a Jobo Expert Drum) Should I be using plastic pins or is there something else to use for hanging up the negative off a line strung over my bathtub?




-- Scott Jones (scottsdesk@home.com), March 27, 2001


You can use electrical contact clips - a.k.a. "Gator Clips" they leave a much smaller footprint than clothes pins. Those prone to the recretional use of pharmaceuticals used to call them "roach clips".

I still use wooden clothes pins but I take 'em apart and reverse them. I'm not sure how to describe this, but the idea is you swap ends so that the flatter part, the end you would normally grip to open the clothes pin - becomes the gripping part and the usual clothes gripping part becomes the outside of the gripping part.

Take one apart and you'll see what I mean. I hope.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), March 27, 2001.

I use small metal clips that I found at a local graphics supply shop. They don't leave much of a mark at all (invisible in contact prints if you clip it in a clear edge of the negative) and the spring is strong enough that you don't have to worry about your film taking a fall to the floor.

-- David Munson (orthoptera@juno.com), March 27, 2001.

I have large plastic clips I took off refrigerator magnets. They leave a mark smaller than than the shadow the retaining rail of the film holder leaves.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), March 27, 2001.

The best clips I found were once offered by Kodak [still seen occasionally] called "color clips". They were small, just right for attaching a 4x5 neg by one corner and have just the right grip. They weren't cheap, and now easy to find these days [on eBay sometime] but if you see them [came in boxes of 10 - small metal clips] grab them. I made up some wooden strips [1x2] with 2 large hooks on the top, and 12 smaller "J" hooks underneath. The strips are hung from my drying line which crosses my darkroom and has regular film clips attached [for roll film]. When the negs come out of the wash, I attach the clip then hang it on one of the small hooks.

-- Alec (alecj@bellsouth.net), March 27, 2001.

My vote is for plastic clothes pins. Bought a bag about twenty years ago and I have only used about one-fourth of them. They're already drilled through the handles so I strung them on a copper wire over my sink. They have small teeth right to the leading edge so a tiny bite of the corner of the neg is all it takes to hold tight and not get into the image. I can drop about ten at a time into a film box without touching any film by squeezing all ten handles together at once after positioning a box under the dry negs and catching one corner of each film.

Ansel said to use wooden clothes pins but I thought they're too smooth thus forcing a bigger bite and besides they may absorb water or chemicals and ferment or whatever.

-- John Hennessy (northbay@directcon.net), March 27, 2001.

I built myself a film drying cabinet that can accept both sheet and roll film. For clips, I purchased small chrome clips that I found in an Office Depot store. They work really well, and they're less expensive than what one would expect to find in a photo supply store.

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@att.net), March 28, 2001.

I process 4 X 5 and 8 X 10 film in a Unicolor drum but I wash and dry the negs in metal negative racks, the kind designed for dip and dunk processing. I find that they keep the film nicely separated during wash and are quite secure for drying film. After drying, the neg may stick a bit where it touched the metal frame but that hasn't been a printing problem at all.

-- David Grandy (dgrandy@accesscable.net), March 28, 2001.

Thanks to everyone for all the great ideas.

I went to my art supply store today and found a supply of small chromed "bulldog" clips, size "0" that work beautifully and only cost $0.24 each. They are those typical clips we all used in school and surprisingly the metal clip edges come together quite precisely and hold firmly even the tiniest bit of negative corner. The also have holes in each "handle" so that they freely slip onto a drying line. These are probably the same clips noted in one of the above responses that were purchased at Office Depot.

Thanks for all the input; the wooden clothes pins go back outside to the clothes drying line where they belong!


-- Scott Jones (scottsdesk@home.com), March 28, 2001.

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