[Alt-photo] paper for cyanotype (again)

Keith Schreiber keith at jkschreiber.com
Thu Dec 14 01:14:48 UTC 2017

I just found the little print that was reproduced in the Arentz book. The black is rich and deep and very smooth. I did not acidify it. I did use Tween 20. I also used twice my normal coating volume for a print of this size (5x7) but I also coated a larger area than I normally would since I coated the entire sheet which is roughly 6x8". Realistically, to coat the same area, I think 50% more than normal would suffice. I don't remember any trouble with clearing in 3 baths of Kodak HCA, and it shows no sign of insufficient clearing now. This print was made at least 13 years ago (the book was published in 2005) but probably more like 15-20 years ago. 

One thing that must be kept in mind when talking about papers is that simply referring to a sheet by the name of the maker (or mill) can lead to major confusion and misunderstanding. There are very few (if any) papermakers that make only one variety of one paper, so it is important to specify as precisely as possible exactly what you are talking about. Referring to a paper as Twinrocker or Arches or Hahnemuhle, etc., is almost meaningless. Bergger is an exception, at least within a group like this, since COT320 is the only Bergger paper we use. Even just referring to Rives BFK without further qualifiers is confusing since there are so many varieties of it.

As for Twinrocker, be sure to get the surface sized watercolor paper. The difference between this and the identical looking printmaking paper is that the latter is internally sized only, while the former is internally sized and surface sized. I learned this the hard way long ago. The printmaking paper is very absorbent and it stains badly. Not so the Watercolor paper. They make many other papers as well, none of which may work well for hand-coated photographic processes, but can't be sure without trying. The Twinrocker website is a bit of a challenge to navigate.


> On Dec 13, 2017, at 2:47 PM, Clay Harmon via Alt-photo-process-list <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> wrote:
> I found you needed to acidify it to get a rich print. One issue I had was that it was a pretty thirsty paper and can be difficult to clear. I had to use a weak phosphoric acid bath for the first clearing step to get complete clearing. The texture is a little rougher than some of the papers like Platine or HPR. However, if you have access to an etching press and some spare time, you can take the damp paper about midway in the drying step after acidification and run it through the press between two sheets of lexan. That will calendar the paper and smooth it out considerably.
>> On Dec 13, 2017, at 4:29 PM, Don Bryant via Alt-photo-process-list <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> wrote:
>> Chris,
>> I purchased about 20 11x14-ish TR deckle edge sheets quite a few years ago
>> for palladium prints. Clay Harmon recommended acitification ala oxalic acid
>> and my results were very good. I had such a small sample of the paper that
>> I took Clay's advice and I had no idea if the paper was buffered or not. So
>> based on my results from days of yore I would guess the paper did not have
>> an acidic pH. Others may disagree.
>> Don
>> On Dec 13, 2017 3:47 PM, "Christina Z. Anderson via Alt-photo-process-list"
>> <alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org> wrote:
>>> Dear All,
>>> I talked with Twinrocker’s owner today about their papers, and he told me
>>> that none of them have added buffers. They use hard water to make the
>>> papers but they don’t add calcium carbonate or anything otherwise.
>>> I ordered a paper sampler so we’ll see….
>>> Anyone have experience with these papers? I only have a couple sheets here
>>> that are quite thick and bumpy and small.
>>> Chris
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