Carbon Journal, Day 3, Part 1

Day 3, Part 1: The Cancerous* Part x__X

A long day of printing lies ahead, so I won't waste any time getting right to business.

4:00PM - Raced into the darkroom to spirit sensitize tissues. Gathered together the necessary items: potassium dichromate, acetone, foam brush, squeegee, plexiglass, graduates, syringe, and dried carbon tissues.

This is some nasty, nasty stuff to work with folks, gloves and good ventilation are required!

This is some nasty, nasty stuff to work with folks, gloves and good ventilation are required!

4:12PM - Finished sensitizing first tissue (under yellow sodium vapor light), squeegeed, and hung to dry in dark cabinet. Sensitizer used was 5ml 10% potassium dichromate + 15ml acetone. Looks like acetone is running low, may not make it through all of the tissues available.

4:28PM - Managed to spirit sensitize three tissues out of five. Leaving to get more acetone, distilled water, and ice. Will squeeze in dinner if time allows.

The negative to be used, along with Stouffer step wedge. Both are pre-flipped for carbon single transfer.

The negative to be used, along with Stouffer step wedge. Both are pre-flipped for carbon single transfer.

6:10PM - Sensitized tissues are ready for exposure, negative and step tablet are placed onto protective acetate mask, then laid on top the carbon tissue. This sandwich is then placed into the contact print frame. In the case of my setup, the frame is a NuArc 40-1K plate burner, which also has a nice vacuum frame to hold the sandwich in nice registration.

In case you're wondering, that clock has been broken for years. ;) Oh, and that 40-1K is bright!!

In case you're wondering, that clock has been broken for years. ;) Oh, and that 40-1K is bright!!

6:12PM - First exposure is under way, and man, is this plate burner bright! Mercury vapor lamps aren't good for long exposure folks, so wear eye protection or relocate to another room where UV isn't pouring out.

6:19PM - Exposure complete, now to move the exposed tissue to the 50 degree (F) "dead water" bath. In carbon manuals, this is also known as the "mating bath". Here, the tissue soaks up bubble-free water, swells, and is brought together with its final support (what holds the image). This process must be carried out swiftly, and is over with in < 2 min.

From left to right: Mating bath w/ ice, plexiglass squeegee station, and hot water baths for development.

From left to right: Mating bath w/ ice, plexiglass squeegee station, and hot water baths for development.

6:22PM - Carbon tissue + final support sandwich is now drying between two pieces of plexiglass with some paper towels and a nice 1 gallon jug of D-76 weighing it down for good measure. Now waiting at least 20 more minutes for transfer to occur.

And that's where I'm going to leave you hanging. Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion to this test printing phase!

*Regarding the title, the chemistry and light used in today's journal need to be handled carefully, for safety's sake. Dichromates are poisonous in large doses and carcinogenic with occasional skin contact.