The Dreaded White Spots

Gene Laughter:

Pirates gave the dreaded **black spot** to those marked for revenge, so
Robert Lewis Stevenson wrote in Treasure Island.

Now, many bromoilists are plagued with dreaded **white spots.**

These are large (up about about half the size of a dime) spots that will not accept ink -- period. What causes them? From the best that I have been able to tell it's uneven coating of the gelatin in the manufacture of the paper.

I have had them with Chen Fu and Agfa MCC 118 papers. Usually if one
sheet has the problem, all sheets in the pack are likewise infected. I have a 50 pack of Agfa 118 11 x 14 inch paper that is **infected** and I just can not use it for bromoil. Harry has a pack of 8 x 10 Agfa and spots seem to run throughout the pack. Joe has had the same problem with David Lewis paper. Maija reports occasional white spot problems with Kentmere. John Lowen has experienced the problem with Forte Bromofort.

Maija says the solution is several coats of spray starch on the back of the paper, letting each coat dry before applying the next.

Chuck Kimble:

I have seen these spots on several other papers, always the same sort of
thing, sometimes not accepting ink at all, sometimes just a faint spot that
appears.... sometimes irregular too, bigger than a dime...I always thought
it was some fungus or some oil or an air bell during the bleach or wash or
presoak...something in my water... never could pin it down, never thought
to blame the manufacturer, but could be.... In the supercoating process, I
understand a hardner is used which might sometimes lay unevenly (they
should care?) in our terms but not in theirs...They seem to appear most
often on resin coated or other supercoated papers, rather than the older
fiber papers like Oriental...maybe a soak in HCl (dilute) ala the tech
paper I sent to Gene might re soften....

by the way, also never found a remedy once they appear except the scissors....

Harry Seals:

Have continued my research on white spots. They seem to come up quickly, first or second soaking. You can see them if you hold the print/matrix up close to a light when it is soaked. I saved two yesterday in this manner. After the discovery of said spots, I stopped inking and with a paper towel soaked in naptha, cleared the matrix of ink (a light grey image remains) then with a clean towel and a little naptha, wiped the back of the matrix. Before I let it dry , I cleaned the matrix with a wet (water) sponge, patted it dry then let it dry over night. The next morning I super heated the matrix in a dry mount press for a few minutes then cooled to room temp. Inked up with 1803 out of the can with a Dick Blick foam brayer, moved the ink around a bit with the ole brush and I had a print with no spots. I do think you lose some of the white of the paper in this process, but it works, and you don't have to line the trash can with another print. I have saved about ten print out twelve so far. Let me know if you try this, we might be on to something.

Gene Laughter:

As a fresh piece of photographic paper, but from a different pack (and batch), will process normally (with no spots) in the same solutions, we are back to a problem of manufacturing and coating, methinks.

Joe Besse mentioned in Santa Fe that he had experienced problems with white spots. I don't know if he came up with any solutions or not? If so, he never posted them here.

I discussed the dreaded white sopts with Maija. She said that she and other Brit bromoilists had encountered them also on various papers.. Her remedy is to use spray starch on the back of the print to keep the water from migrating through the back side. She said she used several coats of starch, letting each coat throughly dry before applying the next. I tried two coats once and it was a failure. Maija has far more patience than me!