When the print is removed from the frame it is of a dark red colour, very different from the tint of an ordinary finished photograph. To correct this, and to give it a more pleasing colour, is the object of the toning bath. Previous to immersion in this bath, the print must be washed in one or two changes of water. This need not be done in darkness, but must be done in a subdued light, such as would be afforded by a room with the blind drawn down. As a further precaution, the pan in which the print is placed, may be covered with a tray, or dark cloth. A ten minutes soaking in one pan, a change of water, and a further ten minutes will be sufficient. The print will then be ready for the toning bath.
Acetate of Soda ... ... 20 grains.
Distilled Water .. ... 8 ounces.
Gold Solution (see under) 1 drachm.
For all toning formulae the gold is most conveniently used as a solution prepared as follows. Nick the tube of gold in the centre with a fine file, and after breaking it between the fingers over a sheet of clean writing paper, transfer both gold and broken glass to a two ounce bottle containing 15 drachms of distilled water. Each drachm of water will then contain one grain or chloride of gold. This should be labelled "Gold Solution." The quantity of toning solution given above, should be sufficient to tone one whole sheet of paper, one grain of gold being generally calculated to do this amount of toning. Should the cut prints in the aggregate amount to more than a sheet, the amount of solution must be increased proportionately. The toning solution must now be poured into the toning dish, and one or two prints immersed therein at a time. One print should not be allowed to overlap another while in this bath, or the toning will be unequal, The dish should too be occasionally rocked, and the prints kept on the move by changing places with one another. A change of colour is 6oon apparent. When the prints are first taken from their washing water they are of an ugly brick red tone. This gradually changes to crimson, and from crimson to purple. The prints should not be removed until every trace of red has disappeared. To ascertain when this is the case raise the print gently from the solution and look through it. The toning operation is conveniently conducted in a room with a yellow blind, which can be occasionally drawn aside for a moment, in order that the colour of the prints may be examined. As each print is finished, place it in a pan of water, and supply its place in the toning bath by a fresh one. The acetate bath must be mixed two days before use. This is important. It will keep well, provided that it is placed when not in use in a stone bottle, where white light cannot reach it. It must be strengthened for subsequent use by extra gold, the amount of which will depend upon the calls made upon it, as already indicated.
Here is another toning formula, which must be used as soon as prepared, it will not keep, but it is useful in cases of emergency.
Bicarbonate of Soda ... 3 grains.
Water ... ... ... 8 ounces.
Gold Solution ... ... 1 drachm.
For warmer tones, the following is recommended: -
Phosphate of Soda ... 50 grains.
Water ... ... ... 8 ounces.
Gold Solution ... ... 1 drachm.
The borax toning bath is a general favourite, and it seems to work particularly well with ready prepared sensitive paper, such as we have recommended the beginner to use. Here is the method of preparation.
In a pint jug place 90 grains of borax, and upon it pour 15 ounces (three quarters of a pint) of boiling water. Stir with a glass rod until the borax is dissolved. Put this solution aside until it has become almost cold, then add two drachms of gold solution. If this bath be U6ed, and we can most highly recommend it as an efficient one, the prints need not be printed so deeply as for other toning formulae.
When all the prints have been duly toned, they should be passed through one or two changes of water, the toning dish is carefully put away, and we may proceed to compound the fixing bath thus: -
Hyposulphite of Soda ... ½ lb. Warm Water ... ... 1 quart.
Liquor Ammonia ... ... 20 drops.
This fixing bath is best mixed in a deep dish, and as soon as the crystals are dissolved, the toned prints may be placed therein, one by one. When all are in, the bottom one may be moved to the top, then the next one to it may be moved, and so on until they have all changed places. This movement allows the solution free access to each print in turn. In fifteen minutes the fixation should be complete.
Now comes the washing process, upon the efficiency of which permanence of results so much depends. Let two large pans of clean water be provided. Remove each print separately from the soda solution, and place in pan No. I. Then force the mass of prints with the open hand to the bottom of the vessel, and pour off the water into the sink. Stand the pan on its edge for five minutes for the prints to drain. Then fill up with fresh water. Now transfer the pictures to pan No. 2, and go through the same process. Gradually increase the time for which the prints are allowed to soak, and finally let them soak in a fresh supply of water all night. A further change in the morning will finish the washing process.
The prints may now be dried between folds of clean blotting paper, their edges trimmed, and they are then ready to be mounted on card, or in an album.
It is best however to trim the prints before toning, because they are best mounted while in a damp state. If the trimming be left until after toning, the prints must be dried, for they cannot be cut wet, and they have again to be damped for mounting. This represents therefore a needless waste of time.
The best way to trim prints is to use a glass cutting shape sold for the purpose, and to cut upon a piece of plate glass. The print is placed face upwards on the glass plate, and the cutting glass placed above it. Through the upper glass the picture can be seen, and care must be taken that any straight lines in it, such as will occur in an architectural subject, are parallel with the edge of the cutting glass. A sharp knife is now run along each side of the cutting glass, and the ragged edges of the print are cleanly separated from it.
The best mounting material is perhaps good starch paste used cold. A hog hair stencil brush will break up the lumps of paste on the damp paper, and after allowing the pasted print to rest for a couple of minutes, it may be carefully transferred to the cardboard mount, and pressed down with a clean handkerchief. The appearance of a mounted photograph is much improved, if a double or single line of red ink be drawn with a pen all round its edge, at a distance say of a quarter of an inch from the margin of the picture. Professional photographers always roll their prints after mounting, and have a proper press for the purpose. For a small sum many will undertake to roll a few prints when required to do so.