Fresh Water / White Vinegar sub for Stop Bath?
Old 05-07-2017   #1
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Fresh Water / White Vinegar sub for Stop Bath?

Okay so in the last few weeks of developing a few rolls a night, I've cranked a few things through and am feeling more and more confident with things. Wanting to cut down on time, I've read folks seem to skip the chem stop bath and either just do 2 fresh water rinses or use white vinegar in place of a stop solution.

I'd be happy to cut out the set-up time and use water or simply add some white vinegar and not sweat this if I knew more... but unfortunately, I'm a chemical dummy... and a cookbook follower. What do you folks do?
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Old 05-07-2017   #2
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From my experience, there's no difference between water, chemical stop bath or vinegar. I have been using just water for years, and you can check the results on my blog on the link below.
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Old 05-07-2017   #3
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Vinegar should not be used as stop bath. While stop bath and vinegar are both Acetic Acid, vinegar is made to be used on food and often has impurities and other stuff added for flavoring.

Kodak Stop Bath is so freakin cheap, I can't imagine why anyone would balk at buying and using it. Its so much easier to do this stuff right than it is to keep trying other ways just to save a penny.
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Old 05-07-2017   #4
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Same here. I've used only fresh water for stop bath for more than 10 years, both film and paper developments.

For film I rinsed 3 times with fresh water before pouring in the fixer. For paper, about 2 min of running water.
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Old 05-07-2017   #5
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White vinegar is exactly the same as stop bath. Both are dilute acetic acid. I don't know the strength of the vinegar you're using but dilute it to 5% or so. Just don't get it too strong. tap water is fine too without the acid. Water is what I've used for decades. Matter of fact I use Formulary TF 4 or 5 fix and acid stop will ruin it.

Indicator stop concentrate is 28% acetic acid with potassium permanginate in it. It's orange in the presence of acid and when the acid is depleted and it's either neutral or alkaline it turns purple.
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Old 05-07-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
Vinegar should not be used as stop bath. While stop bath and vinegar are both Acetic Acid, vinegar is made to be used on food and often has impurities and other stuff added for flavoring.

Kodak Stop Bath is so freakin cheap, I can't imagine why anyone would balk at buying and using it. Its so much easier to do this stuff right than it is to keep trying other ways just to save a penny.
For my case it's not about cost, but the availability of chemicals. I have to stock up on chemicals here as it could take a while before the next shipment arrive at our photo supply shop. One less bottle of chemical to stock up. And of course, one less chemical to worry about in the workflow.
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Old 05-07-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
Vinegar should not be used as stop bath. While stop bath and vinegar are both Acetic Acid, vinegar is made to be used on food and often has impurities and other stuff added for flavoring.

Kodak Stop Bath is so freakin cheap, I can't imagine why anyone would balk at buying and using it. Its so much easier to do this stuff right than it is to keep trying other ways just to save a penny.
I have a degree in chemistry and "white" vinegar is synthesized from high sulfur coal and is used for cleaning purposes. It could be used with food but other vinegars like cider vinegar are used more often because of flavor.

White vinegar is fine.
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Old 05-07-2017   #8
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Last time I was reading about stop bath as diluted white vinegar it was suggested for ECN-2 film.
If for some reason you can't get regular stop bath concentrate delivered, two water changes with do it.
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Old 05-07-2017   #9
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Guys... this is great feedback. Thanks. I've got 2 bottles of TF-5 Fixer and I've read some folks skipping the Stop Bath with this, using a water bath instead, and in some cases, sticking with a Stop Bath. I'm not trying to skip a necessary step or even worry 'bout the cost... to me it's the time involved in setting up another solution... and cutting the time in the workflow. So if it's possible to bail on STOP, I'm for it. If it really does something necessary, then I'll stick with it.

For those who've been kind enough to help me here, there and everywhere, let me add my THANK YOU! I've been very happy with HC-110 as I finally found a dilution I like (1:49 for a 50-part dilution) and is easy as pie but also gives a long enough development time to increase the time involved in whatever margin of error there is (meaning I'm diggin' the images... even when they don't come out 'cause I blew something prior to developing my film).
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Old 05-07-2017   #10
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For photography I only use stop bath. Here is some info. on white vinegar. It's the trace chemicals that I would question what they are. The article says some may be flavorings.

Stop bath is cheap and lasts a long time, either in stock or working solution form. I have Kodak stop bath with the stock at least 10 years old. And it's nice to have the indicator chemical which turns purple when exhausted.

"Low-odor stop baths use citric acid or sodium bisulfite in place of acetic acid."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar
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Old 05-07-2017   #11
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I just use water. No problems thus far.
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Old 05-07-2017   #12
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AFAIK, the main advantage of using a stop bath is longer fixer life (not with all fixers though). So no surprise that people see no difference in their negatives if they skip it.
I've heard about (but not tried yet) using citric acid. Can anyone chip in in that? I'd prefer it over vinegar because if the smell.
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Old 05-07-2017   #13
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I just got a bottle of Ilford rapid fixer and the label says it's citric acid. Guess it should work.

Disclaimer: I'm an absolute noob regarding development.
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Old 05-07-2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscoetuff View Post
Guys... this is great feedback. Thanks. I've got 2 bottles of TF-5 Fixer and I've read some folks skipping the Stop Bath with this, using a water bath instead, and in some cases, sticking with a Stop Bath. I'm not trying to skip a necessary step or even worry 'bout the cost... to me it's the time involved in setting up another solution... and cutting the time in the workflow. So if it's possible to bail on STOP, I'm for it. If it really does something necessary, then I'll stick with it.

For those who've been kind enough to help me here, there and everywhere, let me add my THANK YOU! I've been very happy with HC-110 as I finally found a dilution I like (1:49 for a 50-part dilution) and is easy as pie but also gives a long enough development time to increase the time involved in whatever margin of error there is (meaning I'm diggin' the images... even when they don't come out 'cause I blew something prior to developing my film).

TF-5 is an alkaline fixer, so you shouldn't use an acid stop bath with it, just a water rinse between the developer and fixer. After you pour out the developer, fill the developing tank with water and then dump it out. Repeat the fill-n-dump with water then put in the fixer.
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Old 05-07-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscoetuff View Post
... Wanting to cut down on time, I've read folks seem to skip the chem stop bath and either just do 2 fresh water rinses or use white vinegar in place of a stop solution.
...
You don't save on time though. You still need to rinse the film in water (at least 1 change and a minute of agitation each.) Same time as using stop bath, just less chemicals.

Chris C. and xray both touched on the impurity aspect of using vinegar - and they are correct, additional ingredients that lend flavor, color, and aroma to vinegar will introduce a random factor into your process, which you probably don't want.

If you decide to use vinegar as stop bath, be sure to use distilled white vinegar (a gallon is about a buck fifty at walmart), and dilute it 1+1 (up to 1+3) with water before using it.

Using stop is optional for film, but should be done when printing. The image will continue to darken until it hits an acidic solution. Using an acidic stop bath will allow you to time the development precisely.

Last edited by Chris101 : 05-07-2017 at 23:29. Reason: grammar
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Old 05-07-2017   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
Indicator stop concentrate is 28% acetic acid with potassium permanginate in it. It's orange in the presence of acid and when the acid is depleted and it's either neutral or alkaline it turns purple.
Are you sure ?? Check your facts:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanganate

Quote:
I have been using just water for years
Certainly this works, based on the statements of a number of experienced people. But the so-called water-bath method (Saint Ansel, The Negative, 5th edition, Morgan & Morgan, Illustrations 30, 31, 32), for compensating development, seems to imply that the developer in the emulsion continues to act in the waterbath? What to make of that?
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Old 05-08-2017   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BernardL View Post
Are you sure ?? Check your facts:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanganate

Certainly this works, based on the statements of a number of experienced people. But the so-called water-bath method (Saint Ansel, The Negative, 5th edition, Morgan & Morgan, Illustrations 30, 31, 32), for compensating development, seems to imply that the developer in the emulsion continues to act in the waterbath? What to make of that?
You compensate for this effect by cutting down the development time by 10 seconds or so. Besides, this effect is so negligible that you can counter balance it during wet printing or scanning.

Also, incorrect use of the acid stop bath can harm your negatives by creating spots on the emulsion (lots of them).
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Old 05-08-2017   #18
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Chris101: The time I'm cutting down is set-up, mixing chemicals, measuring, etc. - all that stuff that given it's due, takes more time than I wish it did. One less mix would be a relief.

ChrisCrawford: Thanks! I thought I'd read that, but the Photographer's Formulary tech sheet is more ambiguous than I had hoped for, or in my mind, than it should be. Even talked to "Bud" the other day, and for a guy who I'm sure has a wealth of knowledge and experience, he's likely been so hammered by folks over the years, he's more reticent to offer advice than I'd hoped. "Everyone has their own thing." And of course as a geezer myself, I "get that" completely.
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Old 05-08-2017   #19
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A lot depends on how dialed in you are in your development times. I used stop bath and I used water and they both worked fine. The stop bath stopped the development process immediately. The water bath slowed it down and it stopped when the fixer hit the film.
There are two advantages to a chemical stop. Immediate cessation of development and longer life to your fixer. Though the second advantage is arguable if you rinse well.
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Old 05-08-2017   #20
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I switched to using just water when developing film a few years ago, and I noticed no difference at all.
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Old 05-08-2017   #21
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For those who do stand developing, isn't a stop bath more or less unnecessary (since the developer is depleted)? I could see a plain water rinse in lieu of a chemical stop bath being sufficient.

Correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 05-08-2017   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
I have a degree in chemistry and "white" vinegar is synthesized from high sulfur coal and is used for cleaning purposes. It could be used with food but other vinegars like cider vinegar are used more often because of flavor.

White vinegar is fine.
This is all true. 1+3 diluted white vinegar is just the perfect stop bath. There has been a trend recently advising to use tap water instead of stop bath. It works - but the fixer will then be contaminated with developer and will get exhausted more quickly. Also, while you are using a "stop bath" made of water only, the developer still goes on. Not critical with compensating routine developers, might be critical with some others (what poster #19 wrote, exactly).

White vinegar costs less than $1 a liter at any corner grocery, worldwide. Why some people advise not to use it, nor to use any acid stop bath at all, this I don't know.

Basically you can re-use the stop bath made of diluted white vinegar until the AA smell has vanished and/or until you see some solid deposits (first thing to happen) in your inactinic glass bottle. That is, dozens of rolls.
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Old 05-08-2017   #23
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I use Kodak stop bath. I don't think the use of plain water will save any time. One 30 to 60 second dunk in indicator stop bath is faster than two one-minute-long water baths.
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Old 05-08-2017   #24
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Using any branded stop bath instead of white vinegar is just a waste of money. You're using the same stuff, but you pay more for it.
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Old 05-08-2017   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
AFAIK, the main advantage of using a stop bath is longer fixer life (not with all fixers though). ...
Yes. If you use your chemistry one-shot like I do, just use a one minute water rinse for film.

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Old 05-08-2017   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BernardL View Post
Are you sure ?? Check your facts:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanganate

Certainly this works, based on the statements of a number of experienced people. But the so-called water-bath method (Saint Ansel, The Negative, 5th edition, Morgan & Morgan, Illustrations 30, 31, 32), for compensating development, seems to imply that the developer in the emulsion continues to act in the waterbath? What to make of that?
Permanganate can't be used as an indicator of pH, which is all the indicator in the stop bath is. From the materials safety data sheet (MSDS), Kodak use bromphenol purple:

https://www.tedpella.com/msds_html/2...top%20bath.pdf

Here there's a description of the colour changes that goes through at different pH values:

http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/...g=en&region=GB

For colour changes with permanganate, we're really dealing with reduction/oxidation processes and chemically, that's not what you want a stop bath to do.
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Old 05-08-2017   #27
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is the chemical used for indicator stop bath to visually determine ph:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromocresol_purple

Information on indicator stop bath, material safety data sheet:

http://westliberty.edu/health-and-sa...-Stop-Bath.pdf

Years ago, I used a product called glacial acetic acid. One whiff of the stock and eyes would water and it about took my breath away! I looked up, and from my research, it looks like indicator stop bath was inventd in 1945 or thereabouts. From what I remember, glacial acetic acid must of been less expensive, hence it's why I used it since I had very little money back then.

Last bit if info:

http://www.tpub.com/photography1/ph209186.htm

Ilford Rapid Fixer which is what I use:

http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/product.asp?n=45
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Old 05-08-2017   #28
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It depends on what your tap water is like -- in general, the acidic stop bath will stop and neutralize the alkaline developer and thereby extend the lifetime of your acidic fixer. If your tap water is acidic and/or you use fixer one-shot, you may not need stop bath. On the other hand if your city suddenly changes the composition of your tap water and it is suddenly alkaline, you are hosed.

I personally have always used indicator stop bath (mixed with distilled water). I mix it once in 3 months. I $5 bottle of your favor brand will last years. With the price of a single sheet of 4x5 film being $2, I don't know why people want to skimp on the price of stop bath :/
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Old 05-08-2017   #29
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It depends on what your tap water is like -- in general, the acidic stop bath will stop and neutralize the alkaline developer and thereby extend the lifetime of your acidic fixer. If your tap water is acidic and/or you use fixer one-shot, you may not need stop bath. On the other hand if your city suddenly changes the composition of your tap water and it is suddenly alkaline, you are hosed.

I personally have always used indicator stop bath (mixed with distilled water). I mix it once in 3 months. I $5 bottle of your favor brand will last years. With the price of a single sheet of 4x5 film being $2, I don't know why people want to skimp on the price of stop bath :/
Seconded, though I might go for once a month instead of once every three months. The cost really is pretty trivial.

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Old 05-08-2017   #30
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I've been using water as a stop since 2003 and have no problem. I love my results. One thing has gotten better recently though. I make sure my developer, stop wash, fixer and rinse are all the same temperature or within a degree of the previous bath. That is a big deal for consistency at the grain level and washing a swollen emulsion in much colder tap water can cause some contraction and can also slightly reduce the efficacy of the fixer at the beginning of that cycle.

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Old 05-08-2017   #31
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I continue to be TOTALLY amazed by my fixer "performance". I don't shoot much BW film (maybe 20 rolls a year) but I mix 1L of fixer (Kodak TMax) and I use that for a year.

I don't use stop, just 1 min of water rinse.

And then we have people that use fixer single-shot. What am I missing?
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Old 05-08-2017   #32
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I would think that regular tap water pH is about 7.4. If the developer is alkaline, let's say pH 8 or 9. Water would be more acid than the developer and could easily stop performance of the developer. So, water itself would be an acid.
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Old 05-08-2017   #33
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Water stop for film in a daylight tank;
Indicator stop bath for prints in a tray

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Old 05-08-2017   #34
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Thanks to one and all. These Forums are a testament to everyone's good will, as well as to a bit of the telephone game. Typically I'm not able to be specific from the get-go until you guys prod and poke a little. Thanks for that, too, and for your patience.
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Old 05-08-2017   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BernardL View Post
Are you sure ?? Check your facts:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanganate
I'm certain.

As to using acid stop with TF4 or 5, don't do it. Both fixers are alkaline and depend on their alkalinity to keep the fixer active. Using acid stop will neutralize the fix and drastically shorten its life. One quick rinse in water is all you need.
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Old 05-08-2017   #36
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The point of the acidic stop bath is to neutralise the developer AND stop the development.

Substituting for water will have a few effects;

1. Development will not stop, but continue at a reduced rate until the fixer applied
2. The fixer will get contaminated with developer and as a result will not last as long
3. You will still have to rinse it with water

#1 won't make a difference unless you're using very short development times
#2 won't matter if you don't want to reuse your fixer too much
#3 means there is no time saving

Personally, I use a stop bath (Kodak indicator), I mix it up and use it for 30 rolls - stored in the fridge in a compressible bottle. I reuse my fixer (Foma) for 15 rolls. Never had a problem with either and my small bottle of stop bath has done about 300 rolls by now - less than 1c a roll.
I'm with Chris and Roger, why bother mess with it?
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Old 05-08-2017   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
The point of the acidic stop bath is to neutralise the developer AND stop the development.

Substituting for water will have a few effects;

1. Development will not stop, but continue at a reduced rate until the fixer applied
2. The fixer will get contaminated with developer and as a result will not last as long
3. You will still have to rinse it with water

#1 won't make a difference unless you're using very short development times
#2 won't matter if you don't want to reuse your fixer too much
#3 means there is no time saving

Personally, I use a stop bath (Kodak indicator), I mix it up and use it for 30 rolls - stored in the fridge in a compressible bottle. I reuse my fixer (Foma) for 15 rolls. Never had a problem with either and my small bottle of stop bath has done about 300 rolls by now - less than 1c a roll.
I'm with Chris and Roger, why bother mess with it?
The OP said in post #9 that he's using Formulary TF5. TF5 is alkaline unlike most fixers that are acid. Using an acid stop neutralized and ruins TF5. Formulary clearly states DO NOT use acid stop, it will ruin your fixer. Kodak fixers are fine with acid stop and I'm sure there are many other acid fixers.

Wow we're getting a bit anylitical in this discussion. Over thinking it a bit.
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Old 05-08-2017   #38
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Mixing glacial acetic acid into a working concentration of stop bath is the single most dangerous activity in the black & white darkroom. For teaching kids and young people how to operate their own darkroom I much prefer dilute white vinegar.
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Old 05-08-2017   #39
x-ray
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Mixing glacial acetic acid into a working concentration of stop bath is the single most dangerous activity in the black & white darkroom. For teaching kids and young people how to operate their own darkroom I much prefer dilute white vinegar.
Glacial acetic acid is getting harder to buy because of shipping. It's a very strong acid and agree it's quite dangerous. Glacial acetic is 99% where as photographic strength is usually ~28%.

Always add the acid to the water and stir as you add. Most acids mixing with water are exothermic and can release enough heat to boil water. Never add water to the acid! It's also a very good idea to wear goggles or face shield and rubber gloves when working with anything stronger than 28%.
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Old 05-08-2017   #40
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The OP said in post #9 that he's using Formulary TF5. TF5 is alkaline unlike most fixers that are acid. Using an acid stop neutralized and ruins TF5. Formulary clearly states DO NOT use acid stop, it will ruin your fixer. Kodak fixers are fine with acid stop and I'm sure there are many other acid fixers.

Wow we're getting a bit anylitical in this discussion. Over thinking it a bit.
Yeah, I think the crux of my argument was it costs so little, why would you try to skip on what the instructions are?
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