quarta-feira, 4 de abril de 2012

Turning Baking Soda into Washing Soda with a frying pan ... (First attempt ever)

Yep....the title tells it all. But since this is my first-ever blog, blog post and subject I reckon I should add some history for starters....

I love photography and am a geek, so one can imagine I have a serious interest in lens math, techy details and so on. Digital was not enough because it's too easy, too perfect and comfortable so I had to try out something harder. My grandad's Rollei, 60yrs old 120mm in great shape. After a few go's it stopped working. Why not, right....I'm not the luckiest bean on the can so I took it to the repair shop and, when it came back, one word: WOW. Loved it. It's perfect, works great. It was almost mint for a 60y old bird but now....
So here I am. Shooting with my granpa's camera has a special sensation to it, being the 3rd generation shooter.

Next step buying some film. Next over....problem....what the hell how am I going to develop this crap!?!
Days on the net looking for options the final answer came to me as a bonus. Doing it myself, at home.
Challenges: lots of chemicals. I don't like chemicals....big problem but cutting short I came 'round Caffenot and suddenly my problems seemed to disappear. Or did they.... The first big issue (second if compared to the frigging fixer but let's forget about that bastard for now, shall we) was the blooming sodium carbonate.
Let me explain you something. I live in RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (yep, samba, beach, Christ the Redeemer, pagode, funk, pickpockets, favelas and so on) and apparently, for such disorganised place chemicals are quite well regulated and hard to find.... (do you remember I hate chemicals....something to do with flunking Chemistry perhaps.) and then I can't get washing soda and thiosulfate that easily. Drastic measures were needed, I had to find a way around it. And quick...I was shooting my third roll of film already and the fourth and last was soon to be called upon.

Looong post, introdution lets go to what really matters.
I shall be registering here my steps attempting Caffenol, entirely green and home made developer, and also, substitutes for fixers. Soon to come but already onto it!

TODAY, first day at all.

Got home with 100g of pure baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), placed 1 tsp on a frying pan and tried to turn it into sodium carbonate, this nasty blite that one can't do without for Caffenol. People really try and scare you off using baking soda instead, saying you'll lose your negs (and get forever cursed) if you do it (baking soda). The internet (flickr) was particularly helpful to provide info about this. So check this link if you're just starting: http://www.flickr.com/groups/33051635@N00/discuss/72157623206385484/#comment72157629741968069

I allowed it to fry for a couple minutes to do the test. Apparently you should see kind of volcanos erupting, plus a bad smell. Remember, baking soda + heat = washing soda + CO2 (Stop bitching I told you I flunked Chem...)
Safe. No explosion. You can also try it at home! Smells bad but nothing horrible.
The test consists of rubbing some of the aftermath with water in your fingers. It should be very soapy now if it is sodium carbonate (washing soda), just like soap. So I did it and then compared to water + baking soda. There was a BIG difference. Bingo! I hope.

Ending here. Long post... Next step making a bigger batch of washing soda.

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