Troubled with Gloss differential or Bronzing when printing with Pigment inks?

Started Jan 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
NeroMetalliko Regular Member • Posts: 237
Another way


I like to share with you my limited "poor-man" experience regarding this problem.

For the sake of exploring the way to optimize my BW prints I have bought some months ago the full set of Piezography sample prints made with all the Cone BW available inksets on matte and photo paper (Jon Cone type 2 & 5 if I'm not wrong). On type 5 paper (PK) the prints are covered with the GO layer, so I have some reference prints to compare.

During my early experiments with some nice fine art papers I have immediately noticed the bronzing/gloss differential issue even with OEM inks (and posted some question here).

In short: I have found that applying a product like the Hahnemuehle Protective Spray the problem is almost definitely solved or, in the worst cases, greatly reduced.

The procedure is to wait for ink to settle (one day) then apply 2-3 hands of spray waiting 5 minutes between each layer and rotating the image 90 degrees each time before spray. 2 layers coud still be enough if the image is not so critical.

I do this task in an open environment because the smell is not so pleasant (and probably not so healthy like all these kind of products). After some time the smell on the paper vanishes out almost completely.

I have tried the Hahnemuehle spray over Hahnemuehle Photo Rag Baryta, Hahnemuehle Photo Rag Pearl, Hahnemuehle Fine Art Baryta, Harman Gloss Art Fibre Warmtone and Ilford Gold Fibre Silk.

The results over Hahnemuehle papers are simply amazing. No trace of GD/bronzing even looking on the paper border. Results with other paper type may vary, over the Ilford, for example, the result was not so 100% effective, but the issue was still greatly reduced.

Another important aspect is that the total amount of paper glossiness is not so noticeably changed: in my opinion the total glossiness shift is very low, if any, and the Photo Rag Baryta + spray , for example, show a comparable average glossines to the one I see over the Cone type 5 paper + GO.

There are no glossiness uneveness too, the spray is easy to give and not so tricky as roll varnishes, results are perfectly uniform.

On matte papers (Hahnemuehle Photo Rag or Canson Rag Photographique) obviously you still get perfect matte: absolutely no glossiness added.

In addition you get as a bonus a certain degree of a mechanical and UV protection, even on matte papers (I don't know if you can apply the Cone GO layer over matte papers).

Regarding the concern of possible side effect in the time and/or chemical incompatibilities between different kind of papers and the spray, Hahnemuehle spray is well tested over Hahnemuehle papers, obviously, so this combination is very safe and gives amazing results.

The same concern is still valid for the Cone GO layer in any case.

If you like Moab/Legion/Somerset papers I know that they make a similar product (Desert Varnish), I have not tried it but I think it could give similar results and will be well tested on these papers too.

I know that there are a lot of this kind of spray of different manufacturers out, probably you can get the same good results I have experienced but I have not tried it, so I cannot say anything.

It depends on the average amount of pictures you have to produce, but for limited/personal quantity the spray could be a very easy and effective solution. It does not require a dedicated printer (I have only one printer using OEM inks). Because it is not so expensive to try my suggestion is, as always, to try some paper/spray combinations and to stick with the good ones. If you cannot find a fully satisfying spray for your papers, or prefer to have a more automated workflow and/or you have multiple printers already, you can still go for the printer+GO layer as you have well described.

I hope this will be helpful.

Best regards.


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