In using developing papers, either for contact printing or enlargements, you are, by all rules of the game, entitled to a certain number of overexposed prints, says a correspondent of Camera Craft. But there is no reason why you should lose either the paper or the time and trouble expended in making these prints. By using the following method, you can turn these very dark prints into good ones.
First: these overexposed prints must be fully developed. Do not try to save by rushing them out of the developer into the short-stop or fixing bath. The results will be poor, and, if you try to tone them afterward, the color will be an undesirable, sickly one. Develop them into strong prints, thoroughly fix, and wash until you are sure all hypo is removed. In my own practice, I carry out this part of the work thoroughly, then dry the prints and lay aside these dark ones until there is an accumulation of a dozen or more, doing this to avoid too frequent use of the very poisonous bleaching solution. The bleacher is made up as follows and should be plainly marked "Poison."
Cyanide of potassium .............. 2 oz.
Iodide of potassium .. .......... ... 20 gr.
Water .................................... . 16 oz.
Place the dry print, without previous wetting, in this solution. It will bleach slowly and evenly, but, when it starts to bleach, transfer it to a tray of water, where it will continue to bleach. When the desired reduction has taken place, stop the action at once by immersing the print in a 10-per-cent solution of borax. The prints may be allowed to remain in this last solution until they are finished. A good final washing completes the process. This washing must be thorough and a sponge or a tuft of cotton used to clean the surface of the print.
With a little practice, this method of saving prints that are too dark becomes easy and certain. The prints are lightened and at the same time improved in tone, being made blue-black with a delicate and pleasing quality that will tempt you to purposely overexpose some of your prints in order to tone by this method for certain effects. The process is particularly valuable to the worker in large sizes, as it provides a means of making quite a saving of paper that would otherwise be thrown away.