Friday, July 29, 2011


Michael just offered a suggestion on Flickr:

".........I think metaborate (a.k.a. Kodalk)

is a more suitable non-carbonate alkali ( than borax) as it has much lower molar mass, much higher solubility, can hit a higher pH, and still have relatively good buffering characteristics. 1g metaborate = 0.692g borax + 0.145g sodium hydroxide if you're interested.

On a slight tangent, I did have an experiment in mind that is somewhat related to this but I have not had time to try so I'll share it here. My goal was to create a longer lasting two part Caffenol-C developer. I was thinking of mixing coffee + vit-c in a very concentrated solution (as little water as possible) with enough hydroxide to make it neutral (this is part A). Part B would be a suitable alkali solution (borax, metaborate, carbonate) with potassium bromide if necessary. My thinking for part A is that the solution might last longer due to the high concentration of ingredients, the vit-c being in sodium ascorbate form, and the pH being neutral. Part B would not have to work so hard as part A is already neutral.

Another possible permutation is to mix part A with alcohol (methanol, isopropyl, etc.) instead of water to minimize oxidation but I have absolutely no idea if coffee + vit-c is soluble in alcohol. "

Lets give this a spin!  I will ponder a bit upon this, hopefully Michael will be back with more inputs, and even more welcome, others might offer comments too, I think this is a good idea, and a possible alternative to now out-of-production Daiafine.  A two part developer with an extremely long shelf life, little if any time and temperature dependency is nice.

Comment from Michael :
"Haha ... I didn't expect to find this here ... cool.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure we cannot get this to work as a conventional two-part developer such as Diafine or divided D-76 because we need so much coffee for active development. I think it may work by using x volume of part A + y volume of part B + z volume of water, most likely suitable only for one-shot use.

I think that a Phenidone/Vit-C developer would make a better candidate for a true two-part developer like Diafine as so little developing ingredients are required.
The problem here is oxygen ... it's the oxidation of developing agents that makes them weak. I have a fair amount of experience dealing with this problem as Phenidone has this same issue and a few approaches have been used to address this.

Alcohol (methanol) has been used as it generally has little water, hence little O2. Ethylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, and Glycerin have also been used as they have no water and no O2.
The potential problem with alcohol or glycol is solubility of the developing agents. Experimentation is required to determine how much coffee can be dissolved in various solvents.

Another idea that came out after alcohol/glycol was to use water but have excess preservative, vit-c in this case. The theory being that the excess ascorbate preserves what's there and it seems to work. These principles have been used and proven, the excess ascorbate one is used in PCB, and the glycol one is used in PCM.

If I were to attempt a Phenidone/C two-part developer I would make part A with an Ascorbic Acid to Phenidone ratio of 80:1 and enough sodium bicarbonate to neutralize the solution.
This could work out roughly as 80g ascorbic acid, 40g sodium bicarbonate, and 1g phenidone in 1L water.
Part B would be a 1% sodium metaborate solution.
The pH will be high enough to get some good development and the buffering should make the chemical reaction last as long as is required to exhaust the Phenidone/C from part A. I would do 3-4 mins agitation in part A and 5-10 mins agitation in part B.

I have absolutely no idea if any of this would actually work but I think it could.

Thank you Michael, I have to put my thinking cap on, will be back with questions.....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cafenol ingredients.

We get questions all the time of what is the right ingredients to be looking out for and to buy in different parts of the world.

This is important, because the wrong ingredient will leave us with a non-working or malfunctioning developer.

I ask you to submit pictures of the ingredients you use, and state what country, and where you found what you use.

I will set up an extra page, like the recipes page, where a log of ingredients sorted country by country will be kept.

Anyone can send me a short not and appropiate pictures on e-mail.  Thank you beforehand.

email :


Thursday, July 21, 2011

My final word on Iodized salt as a restrainer

Once again Reinhold has come forward with an excellent post in his blog :

he clearly demonstrates what one can expect, using ordinary non-iodiozed salt, iodized and comparing that to KBr, all done with the same type of film, and I think he has deliberately chosen a type of film that REALLY will give you fogging, judged on an example of a test with no anti-foggant added that he published some time ago.

His conclusion is simple : non-iodized salt will work, but one has to add more than what is accepted for iodized salt, and one run the risk of another type of fog. dichroic fogging.

Iodized salt will work, and better the higher concentration og KI in the salt.

He also demonstrates clearly that nothing compares to straight KBr, if you can find it, by all means go for that, all kinds of iodized kitchen salt seem to leave a certain fog level, and worse in the cases one really needs an anti-foggant.

Reinhold demonstrates this with pictures of the film, scanned side by side and shown as negatives, very enlighthening, and solid work as always by reinhold, he was and remains the master!

I have come to the conclusion, based on this and other examples from other blogs and net-sources that I need not concern myself any more with this. Reinhold has yet again saved me and other interested workers a lot of hard work and his recommendations are absolutes sound and solid.

I recommend Reinhold's blog BTW, visit it often and read all of it, it is well worth the time, he has put a lot of effort into his work.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

IKEA to the rescue!

Anyone that has a hard time finding volumetric measures now has an excellent source : the swedish furniture & storeys supplier meglamorate IKEA!

In their warehouse I recently discovered a set of excellent volumetric measures, 1 ml, 5 ml, 15 ml and large, translated to US measures these are 1 pinch, 1 teaspoon (1 tsp), 1 tablespoon (1 tblsp) and 1 coffee-measure.

It is very convenient to use volumetric measures, once one has calibrated & adapted one's workhabits to them.  As soon as one gets used to working with coffenol and mixing developer on the fly it is very easy and rewarding to leave the weights behing and enter the float-zone and rely on volumetric measures.'

I routineously use these measures, but at the same time issue a warning : whenever one of the components are changed, then re-calibrate the measure for said component. How this is done in a scientific manner is thoroughly described already in this blog, just have a quick look at the the instalment "What IS a teaspoon...." .

The IKEA-set of measures are so cheap, in the best IKEA tradition, that any worker can buy more than one set. Buy FOUR : one for the missus, to keep the calm in the house and 3 for the Master of the House, that way one can mark the measures with for instance nail polish and reserve one for Soda, one for Ascorbic acid and one for Coffe, saves time on cleaning for those concerned about that.

Also the teaspoon measures are fine for 1 tank - 1 film usage, while the tablespoon measures are fine for 1 litre mix use, they just needs to be calibrated for the purpose.

Myself I have calibrated my components thusly :

Water to fill 11 US fluid ounces (start with 8 oz and top up as soon as all components are in.
Soda  (anhydrous, decahydrate needs 2.7 times as much)  3 teaspoons
Ascorbic acid powder (pure powder marked E300 in Europe) 2 teaspoons
Instant Coffe (blackest, cheapest you can find, "office coffee)  7 teaspoons.

Now I strongly urge anyone to meticoluosly calbrate their own measures to their own chemicals.

But I note in passing : Coffenol is a very forgiving mix, many workers report success from wildly variating recipes, one can get away by slightly altering development times for instance.
Therefore, chances are you can use my recommendations here as is, and get a mixture quite similar to the mixture known as Reinhold's Caffenol CC-M. If you add ca 0.5 gram KBr (Potassium bromide to this mix, the result equals Reinhold's CC-M mixture.

Start times are 15 - 16 minutes for most film types, with a little longer for C41 and longer still for Fuji C41 films and 400 ISO films.  Feel free to experiment, it is fun!

STÄM set of 4 measures

Glanced from the IKEA catalog these comes in several colors,
I only found these green colored ones

From the label here one can clance all data,
it should be possible to order this by phone or the Net from Ikea
order number 801.523.58  several colors.

The catalog names these measures as :
1 spicemeasure, 1 teaspoon, 1 tablespoon (spiseskje in scandinavian) and 1 desiliter (1/10 liter)
These are marked 1ml, 5 ml, 15 ml and 1 dl respectively.

Update on mixing a litre :

Since 11 US fluid oz is close to 1/3 of a litre and since the difference between 1 teaspoon and 1 tabklespoon is also 1:3 it is *real easy to use volumetric measures for a litre mix also.
Just use the tablespoon measure and measure out 3 tblsp, 2 tblsp and 7 tblasp from each ingredient as outlined above and top up the water to 1 litre and you should be close enough to be able to home in on perfect results!

Best of luck and please do share examples of your work, either by sending them to me or sharing them on Flickr!