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Screwed up Silver
Posted by: Ty G ()
Date: July 10, 2010 07:25PM

Ok, I lost a whole batch of silver nitrate the other day by, stupid me, putting it in an old aluminum collodion bottle. Duh, don't put silver n. in a metal container. Anyway, I had a guy coming to see the process, so I made a new silver bath and put a plate in overnight to iodize. Well, this am, I could not get any images, a very faint outline. Then, I remembered something I read about putting pot. iodide into the silver. John's manual says they used to do it, but he focuses on the overnight plate. I put about .17 grams into a 400 ml silver bath, and got ok images after doing that.

Did I put enough? What can I do to get the bath in order? Can I put another plate in to iodize even with what I have done so far?

Any help would be appreciated. Except for the couple times I have screwed up my bath, the silver baths have been going for a couple years without problems.

www.guillorycameras.com

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: Richard Mellor ()
Date: July 10, 2010 08:11PM


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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: Richard Mellor ()
Date: July 10, 2010 08:22PM

If that doesn't work.

silver nitrate

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: 77seriesiii ()
Date: July 11, 2010 08:29AM

ty, have you tried sunning the silver bath, taking the PH level, and then the SG to determine if the bath is recoverable? Instead of dumping/discarding maybe something can be recovered?

Erick

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: loch ()
Date: July 16, 2010 01:56PM

Hi Ty,

I have ruined silver baths before, but you can recover something. My first plates that I ever japanned plates were galvanized, and I didn't take the zinc off... the silver nitrate ate all the zinc off and the zinc ruined the bath. I simply filtered out the zinc and then sunned the bath.

Sunning is frowned upon in some circles, but I have found that it works if you need to do it, like you have contaminated the silver somehow. As I progress in the photographer's art, I find I don't need to sun my baths any more. Also, avoid buying technical-grade silver nitrate. I bought cheap silver nitrate and I had to sun my bath after every session. When I switched to expensive (read, uncontaminated) AgNo3, I never had any more problems!

To sun, Pour the bath into a clear container (cut off milk jug) and set it outside for several hours. If it is badly contaminated, the whole bath will turn inky dark as soon as you put it in the sun. Then the black gunk will settle to the bottom. Leave the bath out until it is completely clear, and then decant the bath back into your bath container through filter paper. You can test the bath with a hydrometer to make sure it's at 9%- if it isn't add a little AgNo3 crystals to bring it up again.

A Ph test is handy, but as long as the bath is a tad acidic, it should be fine. If you have punched up your bath with a little drop of nitric acid, it should be fine. I've never had to add more acid after I added a drop or two when I first made up a bath. I don't know how one would de-acidify a bath... add some sort of alkali? This would produce a salt that would precipitate out of the bath and/or ruin the bath's effectiveness. I wouldn't want to try it!

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: loch ()
Date: July 16, 2010 03:52PM

As for putting iodine in the silver, I've never done anything- just started using the bath. I DO drop a couple of iodine crystals (99.99% pure iodine, a grayish crystal- I got mine on ebay.) in the collodion. That seems to give enough iodine without putting any in the bath... but this is another reason not to throw out any silver bath.... just sun it, filter, and bring back up to strength. The old bath should already be iodized by previous use. You might try pouring a glass plate and letting that soak in the silver bath to iodize the bath(?) if you're worried about the bath eating away at the steel (on a tin plate) and contaminating the bath that way.

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: John Hurlock ()
Date: July 17, 2010 11:26AM

Always iodize your old bath after you sun it.
The intense light oxidizes the silver iodide to metallic silver.

If you need to add more silver nitrate that will also dissolve more AgI.
The bath needs to be saturated with silver iodide to work properly.
If it is not saturated it will dissolve silver iodide out of the collodion film and create pin holes in the image.

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: Ray Morgenweck ()
Date: July 17, 2010 11:51AM

You know John...you are 100% correct with that. Ive told that time and time again to different "fifty plate experts" and time and time again they disagree.

So nice to have a "real" expert saying that!

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: John Hurlock ()
Date: July 18, 2010 12:53PM

Thanks Ray,
You know what they say about bad money driving out the good stuff.
Apparently it's the same with collodion "experts".
It only takes the opinions from a few "fifty plate experts" to make more experienced artists throw in the towel. Who knows, after 100 more faulty plates those same 50 plate experts may just figure it out for themselves.

Here is a complete change of subject.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of examining one of your half plate Daguerreotype cameras that you sold the David Carroll here in Illinois.
Congratulations on a very nice piece of craftsmanship.

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: Richard Mellor ()
Date: July 18, 2010 10:39PM

Your right guys
I remember the early days of this site .Mark Osterman used to offer help.
He told me he got tired of arguing with posters that did not have a clue.
He stopped posting forever The wetplate community lost out because of a
few fogged plate wonders.
It is still going on on quinns site
The current wisdom of the sages over there is...
You do not need to use your silver bath with safelights.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/18/2010 11:23PM by Richard Mellor.

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: life_in_sepia ()
Date: July 19, 2010 12:45AM

Richard Mellor Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The current wisdom of the sages over there is...
> You do not need to use your silver bath with
> safelights.

That isn't an accurate characterization. While I didn't participate in the debate, I did follow it. The point being made by many was that, in their experience (in most instances, far surpassing fifty plates), putting a plate in a silver bath under sunny skies and capping the bath immediately after insertion has not, in itself, resulted in any perceptible defects in the plates.

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: Richard Mellor ()
Date: July 19, 2010 01:29AM

In that exchange ray made reference to a number of manuals which agreed with his position ,
I then offered the advice given to me by Mark Osterman.
I really can't say any more .
Mark Osterman has works in museums and is the process historion at the George Eastman house .
He probably is the world authority on the subject of wet plate.
I am sure the motivations of most peoples advice is to offer help....but
I think it is reasonable to take Mark Ostermans advice over the advice of garrett
and as you might have noticed I deleted Mark Ostermans advice from my post
so as not to argue against margruders or garrets recommendations.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2010 01:36AM by Richard Mellor.

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: life_in_sepia ()
Date: July 19, 2010 02:07AM

Richard, I do not take issue with (a) the proposition that the "best practice" is to submerge a plate under safelight, or (b) the fact that many relatively experienced wet platers, including myself, have used both methods (submerging in safelight and NOT submerging in safelight) without any perceptible difference in results between the two methods.

I do take issue, as I think many did in the referenced thread on the other forum, with (c) the proposition that one should only submerge a plate under safelight conditions.

And I think the differences between proposition (a) and proposition (c), set forth above, clearly delineates where the conversation, if you will, became unglued. This is a hobby for most people. As a hobby, it can allow in many circumstances for less than "best practices." What is unnerving to some, myself included, is when certain folks mistake the pronouncement of best practices with categorical imperatives (taking a page from Mr. Kant, not Mr. Coffer).

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: Richard Mellor ()
Date: July 19, 2010 02:23AM

Well wetplate is governed by the laws of physics and chemistry.
Mark Osterman once told me. there are no wetplate gods creating these inconsistent reactions.There is always a reason for a reaction.
we all know ,that white light will create a chemical reaction, in our silver bath.
The debate seems to be, how much of this reaction do you want to tolerate.
10 plates at at 2 second exposure of your silver bath per plate, or if you are a newbie maybe you expose 4 seconds per plate and your have exposed your bath to 40 seconds of white light,
It is reasonable to me, that my bath would be in better shape with, 0 seconds of white light exposure.
It seems logical to me, to eliminate, a variable that I have control over.



Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2010 04:17AM by Richard Mellor.

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Re: Screwed up Silver
Posted by: life_in_sepia ()
Date: July 19, 2010 05:19AM

Richard, thanks for the reply. I appreciate your perspective, although I still don't accept as true proposition (c). I don't think it is going to be productive to debate the issue further. Ed

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