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Toning and Fixing Prints

water, tray, bath, solution, time, gold, bottle, placed, thirty and ounces


The operation of toning should be carried on either in the eve ning by artificial light, or it can be safely done in the daytime, but not near a window admitting a strong light. As fast as the prints are finished they should be put in a dark box until they are ready for the next operation. It is better that the prints should be toned the same day they are printed, though it is not necessary to do this; they can be kept a week or more if desirable, but it is better to tone them before too large a number accumulates, as it is alway easier to tone a few prints at a time than to undertake a great many,. Before toning, the prints should be trimmed care, fully, and the trimmings saved in some box or drawer; they contain silver, and hereafter we shall explain how to get the silver out of them. To make the toning solution, we take a pint bottle and pour into it an ounce of powdered borax. We fill the bottle with hot water and shake it until the borax is entirely dis solved, then we set the bottle away to cool. Then we take a four ounce bottle which we know to be perfectly clean, and pour into it the contents of our thirty grain vial of chloride gold and so dium. The gold does not all run out, but we shall attend to that in a few minutes. Carefully cleaning our four ounce graduate we pour into it thirty drams distilled water; we pour a few drops of this into the gold vial, which dissolves the gold, which we then pour into the four ounce bottle. We continue this several times, pouring a little water into the vial and then pouring that into the other bottle, until we are sure that all of the gold is out of the vial, when we pour the balance of the thirty drams into our bottle and cork it. This bottle now contains thirty drams water, and thirty grains gold and sodium, and we label it: Chloride gold solution.

One dram equals one grain.

We now prepare the fixing solution by pouring into our fix ing tray two ounces of our hypo. stock solution, two ounces water and two drams of our carbonate soda solution. )3y this time we will take it for granted that our solution of borax is cool, and we take of that two ounces and two ounces of water, to which we add one dram of our gold solution. This makes the toning bath, and we pour it into our toning tray. After using this toning bath, unless we have more prints to tone the same day, it should be thrown away. We now take a dean tray, large enough to hold our prints, and fill it nearly full of water. Into this we lay the prints one by one, face down, pressing them carefully under the water so that no air bubbles adhere to the paper. We stir them about in the tray and shake the tray for a few minutes, and then pour the water off, which we notice is slightly milky: we then fill the tray again and shake it well to let the water freely circulate among the prints, and again pour off the water. We repeat this operation half a dozen thnes, and the time before the last we add to the water about three drams of our stock solution of carbonate soda. In large photograph establishments the water from these first two or three washings is always saved as it is very rich in silver. But amateurs, unless they expect to do a good deal of printing, will not find it to pay to save these wastes. We shall, however, in a subsequent chapter explain how all these wastes can be saved. When the prints are finally washed, which, it will be noticed has changed them to a some what reddish color, they can be placed in the toning bath. It is not desirable to have more than six or eight in the toning bath at one time, and, therefore, if we have a dozen in the washing tray we will tone at first only six of them. We place them in the bath one by one, face down, pressing each one well into the solution to insure its being wholly covered. We now gently rock the tray to circulate the solution thoroughly through the prints and after a few minutes we raise them at one corner and care fully draw out the lower one, which we examine to see if it is sufficiently toned. If not toned, we replace it on the top of the

others and again draw out the under one: this, we keep repeat. ing until the toning is done, which will be when the prints have a rich purple tint, when examined by transmitted light. This tint should show rich and warm right through the paper. The peculiar tint can only be learned by experience. Do not slight the matter of turning the prints. If allowed to remain some time in the toning bath without this constant changing there are liable to occur small or large spots where air bubbles prevent the toner from acting, and such spots retain their reddish color. Should such spots be seen, they can usually be cured by turning them, print face up in the tray, and pouring some of the solu tion on the spots from a graduate. When toned sufficiently the prints should be placed in a tray of clean water, and the other batch of prints placed in the toning bath to go through the same operations. After all the prints are toned they should be thor oughly washed in the washing tray in five or six changes of water; they are then ready for the fixing bath and are to be plac,ed in the fixer one at a time, face down. The fixing tray should be rocked occasionally, and the prints changed once or twice, from the bottom to the top, as in toning. The prints should remain in it about fifteen minutes. The fixing bath should be used for only one batch of prints. While they are in the fixer the salt bath can be prepared, which is made by dissolving about one ounce common salt in four ounces of water. The object of the salt bath is to prevent blisters, which are very annoying when they occur in the prints. Blisters, however, in spite of all pre cautions, may occur, and it may be well to know how to manage them. Lay a clean piece of blotting paper on a smooth board, or on the top of your table, and upon this lay the wet print, face up. Then cover the blister with another sheet of blotting paper, and very gently rub the paper directly over the blister with a circular motion. This rubbing should be very light at first, the pressure being gradually increased, and after a few moments the blister will be found to have disappeared, or will leave but a slight trace, which cannot be seen after the print is dry. After the prints have been a sufficient time in the fixer they are trans ferred directly, one at a time, to the salt solution, in which they should remain five or six minutes, and then, after rinsing in fresh water, placed in the washing-box. Dealers in photographic materials generally have washing-boxes for sale, but we have always found the following the most serviceable for our own use. We take a large, clean earthen jar, the. larger the better (our own holds about 10 gallons) which we stand in a sink or bath tub, the water being let into it by means of a rubber tube, running from the tap to the bottom of the jar. The prints are placed in this when filled with water, which being fed from the bottom and overflowing the edges keeps up a continual circulation. The prints should remain in this at least an hour, and two if possible. One advantage of this jar for the washing-box is, that there are no sharp corners in it to tear the prints. After the washing is complete the prints can be taken out and laid face up on news papers, or suspended on clean strings, to dry, or they can be im mediately mounted on cards.

If only a few prints require washing it will not be necessary to place them in the jar with running water. They can be washed as well in a tray of water, which should be rocked to circulate the water well among the prints. After half a dozen changes of the water, the prints should be laid separately on a sheet of glass, first face down and then face up, letting a good, strong stream of water flow over them. This will effectively wash out all the hypo from them. And it is essential that prints should be thus thor oughly washed to prevent their afterward turning yellow and fading.