Sepia Toner help

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by stuart_pratt, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. I have made up some Sepia toner from the formula given in Tim Rudmans book, The Master Photographers Printing Course. The bleach is 50ml of stock solution in 1l of water. The stock solution is 100g ferricyanide in 1l water, ie 10% (no bromide). However, after 30 minutes there is no discernable bleaching of the print? The print is fully washed and fixed?

    What am I missing??

  2. AJG


    I've never mixed my own sepia toner from a formula, but you should see bleaching in a couple of minutes with any of the commercial versions that I have used. The one I used to like the most was made by Fotospeed, and had the great advantage of not using hydrogen sulfide that smells like rotten eggs. I don't know if it is still made.
  3. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    try a stronger solution?
  4. Update - it is bleaching, but very slowly. It is outside the house in a tray, temperature about 8 degrees celcius - that might have something to do with it, but even so I'm surprised it is this slow. Chemicals are new as of yesterday
  5. Most (all?) chemical processes are temperature sensitive. With something like a halving of reaction time for every 10 degrees C rise in temperature. So working at 8 C isn't a particularly good idea.

    Also, a 2% w/v (20% of 10%) solution doesn't sound strong enough to me.

    BTW, potassium ferricyanide doesn't release cyanide gas, if that's what you're concerned about.
  6. For these toners to work, the print must be a conventional silver gelatin photo paper. Prints likely need to be printed via an over-exposure, best 10% thru 15% more. Prints are to be properly fixed and washed before attempting to tone.

    I like the old GAF 221 Sepia Toner

    Bleach solution

    Water 52°C (125°F)……………………….………750 ml

    Potassium Ferricyanide …………………….….50 grams

    Potassium Bromide ………………………….…..10 grams

    Sodium Carbonate (monohydrated) ……..........20 grams

    Add cold water to make 1 liter

    Soak thoroughly fixed and washed prints in an undiluted bleach solution. Image turns light brown in about 1 minute. Wash prints for 15 minutes, and then re-develop.

    Redeveloper solution

    Sodium Sulfide (desiccated) …………….........…..45 grams

    Water …………………………………………………500 ml

    Dilute 1 part re-developer with 8 parts water for use

    Wash 30 minutes after redevelopment. If you see streaks or fingermarks, soak print In 3% acetic acid and then wash 10 minutes.

    By the way, you must Potassium Ferricyanide to bleach not just ferricyanide.
  7. I use Kodak's Polytoner. It's a one-step direct toner that is so much easier to use than the bleach and redevelopment process. It's been discontinued for years but I have a stash from the good old days. Still, you can find online a formula to recreate it.
  8. I would have thought that for toning, the bleach should be re-halogenating, i.e. include some bromide. And, when doing ordinary bleaching with ferricyanide, the effect materializes when the print is put into fixer (sometimes to diiscover it's over-done).

    For instance, here is the bleach part of the thiourea toner, from Anchell's Cookbook.
    Water at 125F/52C, 750.0 ml
    Potassium ferricyanide, 50.0 g
    Potassium bromide, 10.0 g
    Sodium carbonate, monohydrate, 20.0 g
    Water to make 1.0 liter
    This solution should be stored in the dark as ferricyanide solutions are light sensitive. Should
    the solution turn blue the bleach should be discarded.

    Try adding 10g/l of bromide, as suggested by Alan Marcus above. You should see a prompt bleaching action. You could also try taking one of your ferricyanide-only bleached prints into fixer and see the bleach action, but that one cannot be toned any more because the silver halide is gone!
  9. Thanks everyone for all your responses, much appreciated!
  10. I am a bit late to the thread, but when I wet labbed, I used 8x10 paper cut into 1x8 inch length test strips. Save the last test strip before your final print & make another TS right after your final print. Process these with the print & use them to "test" the bleaching & toning effects. . When your "happy", do the final print. Aloha, Bill

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