Second Furlough Day

Not much to say about today that isn’t already in the Lab Notes. I didn’t quite make my eight hour committment. Oh well, “stuff” happens. In addition it was very overcast today, so I’m not sure how well a Becquerel daguerreotype would have developed. Nevertheless progess was made – and never mind perfection.

Lab Notes 8/17/09

Sample Lab Notes

1) Set up for plate polishing.
2) Cut out and zig-zag hem 15 microfiber rounds to use for polishing, Cut size allows five rounds per polishing cloth.
3) Polish off plate that was used for fuming test last time.

0.5 Mic alumina slurry 2 minutes – bare foam pad
0.03 Mic alumina slurry 2 minutes – bare foam pad
Nushine II S  2 minutes – foam pad with microfiber cover
Rouge 2 minutes – foam pad with microfiber cover
Lampblack 2 minutes – foam pad with microfiber cover

I noticed that the bare foam is starting to deteriorate and even though I vacuumed it off, it created a few “squiggles” on the plate (random single scratches as if from a piece of dirt). I think I will switch to using a fresh microfiber at each step. I will have to see if machine washing the microfiber rounds is successful. If not, I am going to start testing various disposables. I also had some problems with the dispensing tip of my slurry bottles being clogged with dried out polishing compound. I guess I am going to have to polish plates every day… :)


Thanks to the meltdown of the California state budget this last year, Governor Schwartzenegger has given all California State University workers (including me) a gift of 24 days off without pay in the next eleven months. Rather than moping around about the loss of income, I have decided to devote each of my “extra” days off to attaining my ongoing goal of becoming a daguerreotypist.

Any of you who have followed my writing know that I have been conducting a rather slow motion quest – due mostly to lack of adequate free time. Excruciatingly slow. This temporary change in my schedule should give me the boost I need to at least make it to my first daguerreotype and hopefully beyond.

Today was the first day off, and I devoted it entirely to moving forward with my art. As part of my re-energized commitment, I have also decided to post my lab notes on these days as well. You can find those at the link below.

Lab Notes

I’m heading over to now to see if the experienced artists there will be willing to advise me on a problem I ran into today when I practiced fuming a plate for the second time.

Happy daguerreotyping!

Lab Notes 8/14/09

Sample Lab Notes


D-Day! Daguerreian Day. First furlough day devoted to art!

1) Find dag exposure guides, fuming chart,EV ->Lux conversion chart.

2) Did some comparison of Danforth and Pobboravsky exposure guides. Not much overlap.

3) Spent a lot of time looking at Barger and Pobboravsky  trying to understand plate speeds (ISO). This info really seems to be all over the map. Too many variables for any consistency.

4) Iodine box temp 57.4 degF. Room temp 58.7 degF.

5) Inspected mercury indicator powder inside containment jar holding “carefully transferred” mercury in 4 small glass vials and one PTFE vial. Powder shows strong mercury fume presence. :( Indicator powder inside fume hood is unchanged.

6) Bench cleanup.

7) 63.5 degF temp of CF bulb base (on Becquerel developer lamp setup) @10:30 AM. 70.7 degF cold temp of CF bulb spiral.

8) Mix fresh Ilford Rapid Fix at 9:1 – 90 concentrate/fill to 900 ml. Originally purchased 1/31/09. Ingredients Ammonium Thiosulfate/Acetic Acid/Sodium Sulfite/Water. (I don’t really know if this is appropriate for Dags, but it is what I have on hand).

9) Based on things I had read elsewhere, I decided to filter the freshly made fixer. (1000 ml beaker, 3.5″ Poly funnel, 12.5 CM filter paper). I’m glad I decided to. When I poured the newly mixed fixer into the beaker I could see that it had all sorts of crystals and other muck floating about in it. (It is a very tedious process however. Since I will do it prior to each development I will need a bigger funnel and paper to speed up the process. 10:40-11:10 – 30 min!)

10) Temps at 11:14 am 95 degF CF Bulb Base, 146.5 degF CF bulb spiral. Temp under lamps 78.6 degF  6″ away. (about 45 min on time).

11) Started to take light meter reading on white paper under 3 CF bulbs (23 Watts, 2700 deg K)  in “Becquerel development fixture”  but battery in light meter was dead. Went to look for spare.

12) Found spare battery. Light reading is EV 15.6 @ ISO 100 under 3 CF bulbs at 6″.

13) Temps. Back wall hood 72.1 degF. Iodine fuming box 72.3 degF.

14) Look through dag plate inventory. Look briefly at iPhone dtabase software to decide how to keep records about plates.

15) Came up with plate numbering system A0001 to A9999. Using Dremel engraver set on lowest setting, engrave ID number on each plate. Upper L corner, but not too close to the edge.

16 Polish fuming practice plate. Took a plate (A0002) that had pits in it and did two minutes of Nushine II S using a felt pad (this seems to be too coarse) and then cut up some microfiber car polishing cloths from Kragen to do rouge and lampblack. At first I put the microfiber right on the Hookit base of the ROS, that sticks really tight (too tight) I also think the base is too hard for this stage of polishing. What I found was that the microfiber sticks well to the felt pads I have for the ROS.

a) 2 min Nushine
b) 2 min clean microfiber to remove residue
c) 5 min rouge
d) 2 min clean microfiber
e) 5 min Lampblack
f) 2 min clean microfiber

This process seems to have done a really great job. It gave the plate a totally glossy shine. The plate still has the pits it started with of course, and it also picked up one random scratch. I’m not sure what caused that. I may have picked up some dirt from the bench when I was cutting the microfiber cloths to fit the ROS. This will make a great plate for testing the iodine fuming.

17) Temps for iodine: Plate 71.0 degF, fuming box 68.2 degF

18) Plate does not quite fit the fuming box, too big. Spend 20 minutes working it over with a file.

19) OK, I have now fumed my second plate ever and I now see why the first time I fumed a plate that it seemed to take forever! The color change is so faint! I don’t know how I am ever going to see it happen @ 1 foot candle! Under full light 5 seconds of fuming showed faint yellow. The next 5+5+5 seconds progressively deepened the yellow. At 25 total seconds the plate began to show rose patches, and 30 seconds gave me a not fully even rose color over most of the plate. But the dimmest bulb I have is still 3 foot candles and I can’t really see the color under that level of illumination. Now what? Time to write my friends at CDags!