Saturday, September 14, 2013

Meritol: How to safely and correctly make it at home.

One of the most informed persons on Meritol today, is Ian Grant.

Thou his method of obtaining a Meritol formula developer is not totally correct; because it is merely the mixing of PPD and Pyrocat types of developing agents together, which is similar to mixing a MQ or a PQ developing formula. It will give you a fine grain developer, but it will be limited in what you can exactly do with it.

Meritol in itself, is a totally different developer in  its own rite. It is made using the "ternary addition compound" process, which was first pioneered in 1924 by Philips Petroleum, and the process has been copied by hundreds in the years that followed, including Johnson and Sons. Today, there are many different ways to do it and all of them will give you good..., to excellent results.

Your results will depend largely on the purity of your chemicals. And I can only say that if you intend to make Meritol. Photographer Formulary, Artcraft Chemicals, and Tech Chem...,and  marketed chemicals, that are food grade or better should be used. But rest assured, that you can also obtain pure grade chemicals that can be used in Black and White Photography, from other sources.

Making  Meritol is very easy for those persons that are skilled in the chemicals arts. For those that are not, I advise that you seek assistance from someone who is.

If you decide to make Meritol at home, you do so at your own risk, plus you are accepting all liabilities. And you should be 18 years old or older.

We will be using the method for making Meritol as laid out by Frank Clements Starnes, the inventor of Meritol, who worked for Johnson and Sons form 1921 to 1953. Mr. Starnes invention is GBP # 466,625

You will need a microwave oven, one thick ceramic 16 oz coffee cup, a glass funnel, and medical cotton balls for filtering..., plastic wrap, tape, the listed chemicals, safety glasses, kitchen oven gloves,  lab gloves, face respirator,  a plastic spoon, Mason jar, an eye dropper or pipette , and a 4 oz. bottle with cap, to keep your collection of mother liquor concentrate.

You will not be able to use the coffee cup again for consuming any beverages out of it, in the future.

And ensure that the work area is covered with plastic wrap to protect the surface work area from spillage and stains.

Heat 8 oz.of distilled water in the coffee cup, in your microwave, until it boils. Use the low heat setting on the microwave, to maintain control over the process. Remove the coffee cup from the microwave (once the water reaches boiling temperature), and put on your face respirator, eye protection, and lab gloves. Pour 4 oz of boiled hot water into a glass jar, then add the 5 grams of Phenylenediamine with 1 gram of Sodium Sulfite, once the chemical dissolved, add 8 grams of Sodium Sulfite. In the coffee cup with the remaining 4 oz of hot water @ 180 degrees, place 7 grams of Pyrocatechin, and 3 grams of Hydroquinone,  along with 10 grams of Potassium Metabisulsifte and stir. Once those chemicals are dissolved, add the two solution together in the coffee cup, adding 2 grams of De-colorizing Carbon; where that solution should be brought to a boil..., as follows.

Now cover the coffee cup with plastic wrap and secure it with tape. Place it back into the microwave oven and heat it to a slow boil. As soon as it starts to boil and the plastic wrap steams up, wait 2 more seconds, and turn off the microwave oven. Using your kitchen oven gloves, remove the coffee cup from the microwave oven, remove the plastic wrap, and filter the solution hot..., using a glass funnel and damp medical cotton balls, into the Mason jar.

Use "Windex"  and plenty of water, to completely clean out your microwave, if you plan to use it for cooking food in the future.

Wait....Crystals will start forming and a mother liquor will start to separate from the crystals. Use your eye dropper to draw off as much of the mother liquor as possible, which will be a very high concentrated fluid and place it into the 4 oz. bottle. You will prepare it later to be used as a replenishment.

Cover the Mason jar with plastic wrap to prevent contamination and place it in the sun. On a good sunny day it will take 3 to 6 hours to dry out. You may need a few more days to dry out the crystal solution, depending on your location in the world and the amount of sun shine your location receives. When it is dried, you will have pure Meritol crystals..., developing agent only. Or..., you can do the following.

Instead of drying the crystals out, as was performed by Johnson and Sons. We will  place the wet crystals solution concentrate; in a suitable 2 liter mixing bottle/container, with 250 ml of distilled water..., and add to it 60 grams of Sodium Sulfite, 5 grams of 4-Aminophenol HCI, and 5 grams of Balance Alkali, along with boiled water to make 1 liter..., cooled down to 150°F, and shake it for 45 seconds, then add 7 grams of Glycin.

The Glycin will mix and dissolve slowly, so simply shake or stir for 45 seconds, and then allow the remaining Glycin to dissolve on its own.

Add water for large tank use at a 1:9 ratio. You can use the solution once it is diluted and cooled to 70°F.

For small tanks use; dilute the desired 1:5 ratio and develop for 8-12 minutes, @ temperature of 70°F. Always use a fresh hardening fixer bath with this developer.

The solution is good for 1 year, if used in a deep tank. Replenish using the Meritol mother liquor concentrate as stated below. Plus filtering your deep tank solution to reduce sludge.

This is a very good ultra fine grain developer with good high lights, and it is good at high temps to 85°F. If desired, the 4-Aminophenol HCI, can be replaced with 4-6 grams of Pyro. Yet in using Pyro, it will not last long, due to the Balance Alkali, unless you remove the Balance Alkali, and use a carbonate. For large tank use, it will last about 10 days.

Replenishment: Add 5 ml of the mother liquor concentrate to 250 ml of water, followed by 90 grams Sodium Sulfite, 2 grams of 4-Aminophenol HCI or 3 grams of Pyro, 250 milligrams of Balance Alkali when using 4-Aminophenol HCI,... or zero amount of Balance Alkali when using Pyro,   and 1 gram of Glycin. Add distilled water to make 750 ml.

Make it and test it out on your own, to see if you like it, or you can use the Meritol crystal /developer agent with any of the formulas that you may find on Ian Grant's website, where it states use Phenylenediamine and Pyrocatechin, use the Meritol crystal solution.

 I have discovered that (Meritol) in its pure state, only requires about 5 grams of Meritol per liter;  or about 7.5 ml of the crystal liquid solution per liter.

The formula that I use is:

90 grams of Sodium Sulfite, "Meritol" 5 grams or 7.5 ml, Phenidone 0.250 grams,  3 grams of Borax, and 7 grams of Glycin, to 1000 ml of distilled water. Use diluted 1:2, develop 7-10 minutes at 70°F.

Remember to only add the Glycin to the solution, after you have added the Borax, and it (the Borax) has fully dissolved first.

Thank You


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