Ilford Selenium Toner

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by arthur_gottschalk, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. I have a bottle of Ilford selenium toner that is several years old but has remained unopened. I want to use it to tone some B&W prints for maximum D-Max, but I see that Ilford says that even unopened it will only last two years. Is this true?
  2. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    only way to know, try it.
  3. The toner should be OK if it does not have sludge or particles in bottom of bottle. When the chemicals break down the toner is unstable and iffy to use. You could mix it and try with scrap prints. Blotchy toning is a sign of chemical break down.
    Be sure to vent your work space, selenium can be nasty.
  4. AJG


    Also be sure to wear rubber gloves--selenium can be absorbed through the skin.
  5. Someone gave me a bottle of Kodak selenium toner that was well over 10 years old. It still worked fine. Give yours a try. It is probably ok.
  6. Wow! Just used some on my recent prints and what a difference. These prints were somewhat muddy, hand held in low light. The selenium sparked up the contrast with better blacks and great highlights. Apparent sharpness was improved as well. Used 1:20 followed by Perma Wash and 30min washing.
  7. Net question: Is there any difference between selenium toning after the print has been fully processed or using selenium added to the Perma Wash before the final wash? The later would save time and effort.
  8. I add the toner to the Perma Wash and then do the final wash. It works for me.
  9. I found the Selenium Toner had a shorter "shelf life" when mixed with washing aids like Perma Wash. Selenium Toner would last diluted much longer when it was just diluted with water. I would store and reuse my diluted toner until it failed to tone my prints.

    Different papers respond very differently to Selenium toner. Ilford MGIV required a 1+4 dilution, Ilford Classic toned at 1+9, Oriental Seagull required a 1+19 dilution; all fiber based paper. I decided on the various dilutions to keep my toning times to more than 5 minutes but less than 10 minutes.
  10. Hi Paul. What tones/colors are you getting with those dilutions? I'm going for D-max only.
  11. I tone for permanence and a slight hint of purple. The dilutions are to control the immersion time to make sure the toning does not go "too fast", Oriental Seagull responds very quickly at 1+9; 2 minutes and is hard to control the desired effect. And I found Iflord MGIV toned too slowly at 1+9; 12 to 15 minutes.

    I use a two bath fix; "first" fix is after the "stop" bath and store the prints in a tray of water. At the end of the printing session, I rinse the print and do a "second" fix with the print going into a second holding tray of water. I rinse the prints individually with running water to remove most of the chemicals on the surface of the print and then they go into the selenium toner. From the toner they go into a washing aid, then running water rinse. The final wash is in a archival washer.

    I hope this helps.

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