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Printing on Ready-Sensitized Paper

box, thin, print, negative, frame, prints, glass, plate, shade and toning


We describe this first because for the beginner it is the sim plest process of silver printing. A good quality of ready-sensi tized paper can be procured of any dealer in photographic sup plies. The articles required for printing, in which we shall in clude toning and fixing, are: One or two printing-frames.

One half pound powdered borax.

Thirty grain vial chloride gold and sodium, and a glass or por celain tray of suitable size for toning the prints.

The prints can be fixed in the same tray in which the plates are fixed, but it is better to have a separate tray for toning rather than use for that purpose the same tray as used in developing. The sizes of printing-frames desirable are, say 2 5x8, and 2 8x10. Each of these should be fitted with a plate of thick, clear glass, which will serve as a support for any small negatives when we have occasion to print from them. Also with each frame there should be a piece of close-grained felt not too thick and cut the size of the frame; the object of the felt is to hold the sensitized paper firmly in contact with the negative when printing. Before printing with ready-sensitized paper it is important that the paper should be fumed, and for this purpose the amateur should make a fuming-box. The following descrip tion of one used by the writer will enable any one to make such a box without difficulty. The size is not important so long as it is large enough. We found around the house a packing-box which measured about 18 inches long and 12 inches wide and 10 inches deep. We fastened the cover on by two hinges, so that when the box was standing on end, this would open like a door; then about two inches from the bottom, (we are supposing now that this box is standing on end) we tacked on each side two wooden cleats about one-half inch square; then we cut a sheet of paste board of the right size to be placed in the box and supported on these cleats. This pasteboard we perforated with fifty or sixty small holes about* of an inch in diameter. We leave space enough between the pasteboard and the bottom of the box to allow us to slide under a small saucer, which for fuming,we partly fill with ammonia. Then we make two more cleats and tack these to the two sides about an inch below the top of the box. We then cut about half a dozen strips of soft wood about one-half inch square and just long enough to slide across the width of the box on the two upper cleats. Finally, we paste strips of paper over all the cracks or any places where light might get through into our box, and it is complete. To use it we pin by the corners small sheets of sensitized paper to the strips of wood, and slide them into the box on the upper cleats. The paper thus hangs down in the center of the box, care being taken not to allow the sheets to touch each other. We then pour the ammonia into the saucer, place it in the center of the bottom of the box under the paste board and close the door. The paper should remain in this fum ing box about twenty minutes, when it can be taken out and kept in a dark drawer or box until ready to use. In an hour you can fume as much of the paper as you will require for your printing during the day, that is, unless you are attempt ing to print on a grand scale. Having your paper now fumed, we take the negative and place it in the printing frame with the film side up, having previously carefully dusted off the plate. Then, on this negative lay the sheet of fumed

paper with the sensitive side in contact with the film side of the negative; upon this lay the felt and then the back of the printing fra me.

Now, it will frequently be the case that there are some nega tives very intense which will take a long time to print. Prints from such negatives, and such only, should be printed in the di. rect sunlight—facing squarely the sun. This latter point is es sential, as otherwise the edge of the frame would throw a shade on the plate, and where this shadow. falls the picture would be only half printed. If your negative is not too intense but is what might be called a good printing negative, it should not be exposed to the direct sunlight, but should rather be printed in the shade; or, if turned towards the sun, the frame should be covered with white tissue paper. If the negative is a thin one, it must be printed in the shade. Understand that by a thin nega tive we do not mean that the glass is thin, but that the image is thin, and can be seen through very distinctly when held towards the light. If the negative is so thin that the print, even when made in the shade, is flat and weak, it will be well to print it in the sunshine, covering the frame with a sheet of yellow or orange glass. We have made vigorous prints in this way from negatives that seemed too thin for any kind of print. -Under the head of " Transparencies," we shall sho w how to make new and stronger negatives from such weak ones.

Slow printing always makes the richest prints. Half of the back of the printing frame can be raised so that the print can be examined from time to time; care, of course, being taken not to allow the paper to be moved from its first position, otherwise the print will be blurred. If you print against the glass on the in side of a window be sure that the glass is clean, vvith no spots on it. The printing is to be carried on until the picture is one or two shades darker than it is desired to have it after toning. After printing and toning one or two batches of prints there will be little difficulty in deciding how deep the printing should be carried. When examining the prints in the frame, care should be taken not to allow sun-light to fall upon the paper, and the frames should be opened, therefore, away from the strong light.

It sometimes occurs that a .portion of a negative is thin, and prints very quickly, while the rest is intense and very slow in printing. To remedy this and get an even print, we can hold a sheet of rather thin, white paper over the thin part of the nega tive while printing in the sunlight, the paper being cut so as to shade only the parts which we wish to cover. The paper should be kept slowly moving so as not to let its outline show in the print. If this does not suffice, we can paint over the thin portions on the back of the plate with Gibon's opaque, and rub this off when the more intense parts are nearly done. Or, the thin por tions can be retouched on the back of the plate with one or two coats of Prussian blue, applied with a fine water-color brush. Previous to doing this the glass should be well cleaned with powdered pumice stone, rubbing it with the finger moistened with alcohol or water, and then carefully brushed off with a clean, soft cloth. This will allow the color to lie smooth.