This time round, I travelled to the Netherlands on the Monday morning – not my favorite time as it takes away half of your day to actually do something. I set to work on the dark box, the maintenance of the silver bath, creating the silver tank holders and refining the plate holder. At the end of the Tuesday I was near enough finished, early enough to run a few tests, but too late to run all of them.
The first signs were not good. Every plate I pulled was fogged. Not the fog what wipes off either (which would mean it was chemically induced) but the light leak kind of fog. I set to plug every little hole I could find, but to no avail. I tested the dipping tank both inside the dark box and hanging into the slotted groove I made for it. No difference.
Then, before I knew, it was Wednesday morning and Angela would come over to mine to shoot a few plates. I ran a few quick tests but the results seemed inconsistent as 10 and 30 seconds were very much fogged, but 20 seconds was not too bad. We shot a few plates together and even though some of them showed some form of image – the result was far from what I had hoped for. Again! (Sorry Angela! Three times a charm, right?)
After she left, I tested and tested. I started with blocking out all the light completely, working in the dark (which went remarkably easy) to rule out any chemical imbalance. And that was it! The plate came out a nice even blank, so I was sure it had to do with the light in the dark box. I covered up one of the windows to reduce light by half. No result. I doubled up on the red plexiglass window. No result. I had to resort to sticking on the remaining leftover bits of Rubylith foil to make the dark box safe to work in.
The silver bath fared a little better. It started off as a minty green cloudy mess after it had fallen over on the last session and got partially mixed up with some developer. After sunning for 4 days (the first 2 being very cloudy), it is currently a light sky blue, with a lot of slush on the bottom, so I’ll give it some extra time on my next visit. The hotplate I got at a local charity shop to boil it should need arise, will take around 3 hours to nearly boil half a liter of water, so let’s hope I won’t need that.