Kallitype Printing

I had ordered a kit for Kallitype printing from the Photographer’s Formulary and received it a while back. It came with seven pages of instructions that still seem a bit short. Next time I will order from Bostick and Sullivan even though the price is higher.

It took some work to get all of the containers and measuring cups, which I had assumed would be included with the kit. I found most of the containers that I needed at various places around town, and I finally found some amber dropper bottles (50mL) at Propst Pharmacy that were not actually for sale. The next time I will order containers with the kit! I also got a red bulb and a black light from Walmart. I am still a bit confused on why the instructions require a red light since this is not supposed to be a darkroom process.

I mixed all of the chemicals in the upstairs bathroom and put them in marked containers. I sensitized some Arches Coldpress paper and let it dry. My first exposure was of a B&W 120 negative of dogwood flowers. I think I overexposed it though in the sun for 75 minutes.

Development was per the instructions:

  • 5 minutes in the developer
  • 5 minutes in the clearing bath
  • 5 minutes in the fixer
  • 45 minutes in running water

I also created a “development box” by cutting out a hole in a cardboard box and fitting it with a sheet of glass from a picture frame. I placed the black light underneath the box (through slots cut in the side) and the negative on top weighed down with a phone book. I used this box to create a test strip at 2-24 minutes. The strip still came out very light, but you can see the graduation. I also ran another test strip at 24-48 minutes with a similar effect.

I wound up trashing the development box though. The only image that came out at all was a one hour exposure shown below:


Next, I made an exposure platform by putting glass over two stacks of CD’s. The surface of the print is 1.5 inches above the black light bulb. This works well with exposures of 40 minutes.

I also tried a few different types of papers, all with bad results. Here is an attempt with using 140lb drawing paper where the image did not seem to set in but washed away with the developer:

I also tried another set of watercolor paper that I found locally at a hobby shop. It is a hot press smooth paper, but it is only 90lb. It tore at the edges a bit and seemed to wash out. I may try it again with a double coating of sensitizer.

Anyway, that is my experience so far with Kallitype printing. Next I plan to find some of the Arches Platine paper to try.

One other item of note here – Be sure to check to see if the negative is made on film with a UV blocking layer. I have no idea why someone like Kodak would put this into B&W film, but it cost me about a weeks worth of frustration before I found a link to it. This means that the TMax film that I normally used is useless for UV printing.

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