Re: Hardening with glyoxal

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 08/15/04-11:10:24 PM Z
Message-id: <>

On Sun, 15 Aug 2004, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

> Lenox sheet that was normal white, that had been sized, too, and I realize
> that the Lenox was sized with glut for sure, and the yellowed paper if I'm
> not mistaken was sized with glyoxal. That piece was aquarelle (it had
> spots, so I was only keeping it for demo purposes). So, whatever you do
> with glyoxal, make sure you size just enough that you will use shortly,
> don't store it.

Chris, I've got several stacks of paper hardened with glyoxal sitting in
messy piles all over the studio because what with 1 thing & another I have
not cleaned it up... They are probably as white as they were the day I
bought them, or if they have yellowed AT ALL I'd have to put them next to
a new sheet to notice. They were sized and hardened at least a year ago,
maybe more...BUT BUT BUT they were rinsed after the hardening.

Even before I figured out about rinsing after hardening, the paper didn't
get bright yellow, so I'm not sure why yours did. One clue is that
(following Tom Ferguson's lead) I only use 15 ml glyoxal per liter. So if
you use stronger glyoxal maybe you get more yellow.

As for alkali causing the paper to turn orange -- you see that right away
if it's mixed into the glyoxal solution, in fact the solution itself turns
orange. I guess it's possible it could show up later, but that wasn't my
experience. However another factor in yours getting a stronger color
could be the amount of gelatin -- as I noticed that when I did get
yellowing it was strongest where a bead of gelatin had formed along the
edge... Do you double coat the gelatin? I coat only once. And which
gelatin are you using? That could be a factor too. Mine is 3% Knox.

In any event, a long soak in water should clear the paper back to white --
try a few hours.

Oh, I see now you've mixed your glyoxal in with the gelatin... You can't
rinse that off then, can you... another reason for not mixing... Why folks
do that I don't know. It also means you can't save leftover gelatin for a
few days in the refrigerator (which can be very convenient) -- or longer
in the freezer.

And Don -- I don't think the glyoxal hardening gets used up, like fixer
gets used up. It hardens as long as it's not contaminated, that is, when
it's fresh. My experience is that it doesn't keep, or certainly not past
a day or two. So I got in the habit of not mixing more than needed to dunk
a few sheets of paper at a time and discarding it after one session.

I tested the hardening by doing some 21-steps on the variables.. but
ultimately I found that odor was a fair guide. When the working solution
is fresh it has a very faint formaldehydish odor. In a day or two that
odor is gone.

Oh, and no distilled in any of it.... just sweet New York and Brooklyn tap



> I wonder if the yellowing problem is due to paper choice. Leading
> back to what Judy said a while back that an alkaline substance made her
> glyoxal turn orange, it may be paper choice. I'm also wondering if my water
> supply is alkaline enough here that this is what caused it, but whatever the
> cause, I would use glyoxal very carefully. I mix 25 ml of 40% into 1000 ml
> of 3% gelatin--this does lots of paper, btw, more than you can hang at one
> time. I brushed it on, I do not rinse after, as Judy does, I throw excess
> away because it is mixed in with the gelatin. 500 ml of glyoxal 40% will
> last you through 20 sizings of easily 50 16x20 sheets each time, so, in
> essence, years.
> I did not use distilled water in my gelatin mix, so this might
> exacerbate the problem if my water is alkaline. Whatever the case, the
> paper did get very much yellower over the last three months, and it wasn't
> yellow before I left. In deference to glyoxal, I have had problems with
> aquarelle paper in general and will not use it again. I even went against
> my word this summer, bought a couple pieces, and AGAIN had problems with the
> paper, different batch, different store, same odd spots, weird sizing marks
> after a good soak, stain here and there, YUK.
> Would you do me a favor?? Cut a piece of glyoxal sized paper off, and
> just keep it untouched for several months and see if you have this
> experience. I am going to order some more glyoxal and test some
> myself...maybe like leave a piece out in the sun a couple days and see if
> that contributes, etc. etc., but the yellowing is enough for me to seriously
> question why I would ever use it again, even if taking precautionary
> measures of rinsing after hardening, and using up paper right away, and
> avoiding aquarelle.
> I'm gonna bring a piece of these papers to show Sam tomorrow at school
> so he can be my witness :)
> Chris
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Don Bryant" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Sunday, August 15, 2004 3:16 PM
> Subject: RE: Hardening with glyoxal
>> Martin,
>>> I wouldn't think the risk is worth the expense. The stuff is pretty
>>> cheap.
>>> VWR lists it at less than $50.00 for 2 liters.
>>> How much is your time and other materials worth? This kind of reminds
> me
>>> of
>>> ruining prints as a byproduct of saving on fixer.
>> Perhaps I should rephrase my question. What is the capacity of 1 liter of
> a
>> 1% solution of glyoxal used to harden gelatinized paper? Assuming that the
>> paper size for each sheet is 11x14 inches how many sheets could be
> hardened?
>> Thanks,
>> Don Bryant
Received on Sun Aug 15 23:10:42 2004

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