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Dear Heloise: Quick Drying Prints

Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing - www.largeformatphotography.info
It's crazy, but I'm going to give this a serious try . . .

We're all aware of dry down in B&W printing and it's complications. When getting near the desired result in B&W printing, it's nice to be able to dry the print to determine the effect of dry down.

In a video, I saw Ansel Adams slide a portion of a print into his kitchen microwave. I tried this, but found that, at least with my paper, print color changed. (No thanks.)

Another method I've used is to insert the print into one a Prinz print dryer, where a canvas fits tightly over the print. But the weakness of this approach is that it takes a while, and unintentionally, fixer can build up in the canvas. So, good by archival printing.

A third method occurred to me today as I passed through our utility room. You got it -- the clothes dryer. Except that our dryer includes an attachment ostensibly for shoes. Having rarely used ours for for that purpose, it's pretty clean. it's a platform that suspends the contents (two 8x10 prints) horizontally in the center of the drum. It connects to the air supply, so the warm, filtered air funnels through the attachment and up under the print at quite a rapid rate.

This worked really well -- the print dried in no time. I set the heat to medium in my little experiment. But, I don't see why I couldn't use the permanent press setting. Of course, I'm going to give this a try as well. (Though, I doubt that prints will come out flat.) Who knows, our attachment being clean, this approach might even be archival.

I couldn't help but pass this idea along. I'll let you know what I find, after giving it a try for a couple of months.


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