Mixing and storing D-76 powder

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by giverin, May 14, 2011.

  1. I normally buy my D-76 in 1 litre sachets so that my working solution is never more than two months old but my supplier has hiked the price of the 1 litre sachets such that its almost the same price as the 3.8 litre sachets i.e. 1 litre = 3.95uk pounds and 3.8 litre = 4.95 ukp. I'm also worried that the 3.8 litre price might rise sharply sometime in the near future.
    So I'm looking to stock up with 4 or 5 sachets of the 3.8 litre stuff. My question is..... I know its not ideal to divide the contents of sachets but if its done accurately, is there any real harm? Obviously I would give the 3.8 sachet a good shake up before dividing the contents.
  2. It is not practical at all to divide the sachet. You can be assured that you will be way off the optimal formula, the first batch will have too much ingredient A, the second batch too much ingredient B.
    Get lots of 250 or 500 ml bottles, mix the whole gallon bag, and put it into those bottles full to the brim, and seal tightly. They will keep quite a long time that way. It's oxygen that makes it go bad, which is why the completely full bottle is essential.
    Or, buy a cheap digital scale, and bottles of each of the D-76 ingredients (probably from Silverprint since you're in the UK), and you can make your own for a fraction of the cost of Kodak's mix. That's really the best way to control the cost. It's perfectly practical to mix it on a per-roll basis, although you'll have to cool it off after mixing.
  3. John has exactly the right idea. I no longer buy D-76 and the cost of a 1 litre packet of ID-11 is well over priced in my opinion. I recently started making my own again and it seems to be as good as what Kodak and Ilford sell.
    The great thing about mixing your own is that you can make as much or as little as you need when ever required without having excess stock solutions hanging around too long and turning bad.
    I often make up as little as 500ml of stock at a time which I allow to settle over a day or two before I use it, so it's fresh every time.
    The basic formula is: Water at about 50*C = 750 ml
    Metol developing agent = 2 grams
    Sodium sulphite, anhydrous = 100 grams
    Hydroquinone = 5 grams
    Borax = 2 grams
    Water to make 1 litre of stock solution.
  4. Alternative for investing in a digital scale (100mg acuracy) you can try the Foma D76/ID11 formulation too: Fomadon P W37 (two part package like ID11) for around Eur. 3,50. (GBP 2,70)
    Or try HC-110, make a working solution e.g. B (1+31) directly from the sirup. You have to use 10ml syringes for it and the concentrate you can keep 3-4 years. Eur. 23,00 for 1 ltr.
    Or when going to a high acutance developer Rodinal (also liquid) 1+25 - 1+100 which costs about Eur. 11,50 for 500ml and the concentrate you can almost keep forever. But the developing results will be different from D76.
    Cheapest: Beutler A+B DIY. Also a very high acutance and only 3 components where the Soda (Sodiumcarbonate) costs Eurct. 0,70 for a kilogram. Which means for each film in chemicals less then Eurct. 0,04.
  5. Another alternative if you are happy to reuse and replenish , is to also mix D-76R replenisher and top up after each processing session. Kodak and Ilford provide instructions for how to do that.
    That, or one of the high dilution one-shot developers that Robert suggested. If you go to Jason Brunner's website, there is a simplified method there for using Kodak HC-110 for single usage each time you process a film.
  6. Thanks guys, I hadn't considered formulating my own D76. John, you mentioned Silverprint... I placed an order with them less than 12 hours ago (for RC paper and Rodinal) so I'll try and get them to add the D76 ingredients to my order before it gets dispatched. I do have access to accurate digital scales at work so that won't be a problem. Thanks again.
  7. I agree with the small glass bottle suggestion. Simple and effective. (PS don't referigerate them.The salts settle to the bottom.)
  8. I mix up 1 gallon (3.8L) of D76, I store it in a plastic jug and I keep it under my wet bench in my room of darkness, it normally lasts me 9 to 15 months. The last 2 batches of D76 that I mixed up were purchased in 1991 and they work just fine. The one thing with the old paper packages, don't move them around unless you have to, the less you work the packaging the less of a chance of getting a hole in it and having it spoil.
  9. I still have some cans D76 powder for 5 ltr. from a lab. Catnr. 501 0699 "made in France". Any idea when Kodak stopped this type of packaging?
    And for sure, yes I know the content will be OK.
  10. I'd also suggest mixing the whole 3.8 litre packet and then decanting into smaller, air-tight bottles. Providing you exclude all but the tiniest amount of air in the neck of the bottle, the developer should keep for months.
  11. I've always mixed smaller batches (1 litre bottles) of D-76 from the 3.8 litre packets of powder. I've never had any adverse affects by doing this, as far as I can see. I'm happy with the results, so I'll continue to do it this way.
    I understand the consequences of dividing the powder into smaller quantities, but fortunately in the 15 plus years I've been doing this, things have always turned out OK.
  12. Paul,
    Keith gave you the original formula. I used to use this formula but I found that it becomes more active after a few weeks of storage. So my negs started getting too contrasty. I now use a buffered version. Instead of 2 grams of borax, use 8 grams of borax and 8 grams of boric acid. I have used this after a year of storage, with no problems. Some say this is more like the D-76 you buy today. Make sure you use the little bottles idea, it's a good one.

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