Grey day and a beautiful mess 

Armed with another bag of kit I decided to focus on Daguerreotypes again today after working on other things for a few weeks. I was going to compare my pure silver plates to Mike’s plated silver, but on examining the plated silver it looks like my bad attempt at re-polishing it has gone through to the copper, making the plate unusable.  

So I decided to continue with my pure silver plates and polished one with the right wet and dry sandpaper, my new spongy sander and the U.S. Version of Nushine Polish. This went really smoothly (excuse the pun) and it seems that the polishing is finally part of the process that has become do-able.  

New high quality velvet on the polishing planks also worked perfectly, and the plate was mirror finished with rouge and lamp black.

 
The plate was then sensitised over the iodine until it turned magenta. This took much longer than on the workshop, presumably because my plates are quite hard.

The plate was then exposed for 3 minutes and then placed in the holder for daylight development. However on removing from the dark slide I noticed patches of condensation on the surface of the plate which could cause marks, so attempted to dry them with the hand dryer.

  
They almost disappeared, then the plate was left in daylight for two hours. It was a very grey day today but towards the end of the two hours a faint image had appeared.

  
I then took the plate holder outside to try and get the plate to show more detail by showing it brighter daylight, but it began to go muddy so I took it inside to the darkroom.

I fixed the plate in the darkroom and much of the mud disappeared, but there was little detail in the image.

Wanting to practise gilding I tried out a holding stand I have put together below, however I knocked the plate mid gilding and the gold chloride solution flowed off the plate, making it streak as it dried.

  
This has resulted in a bit of a mess, but quite a beautiful mess although the once faint image is indistinguishable.

  

So another list of things to do differently next time, and I’m going to hold out for a sunny day which should help produce more detail in the image too. 

 

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