The main issue of the day came up when I tried to read the PH of my old Bostick and Sullivan silver nitrate bath I figured out and did the specific gravity for the bath right adding some silver to make it 9% but when I checked the PH it said 8.2. What? It is supposed to be around 4 for positive ambrotypes/tintypes. So following my limited training I added some Nitric acid to lower the PH number. But instead of going down it went up! Dazed and confused I continued to add Nitric acid and the number continued to climb. What the f-ck!! In desperation I sent out a call to my new online collodion friends and was told I needed to calibrate the meter. Duh!! I thought it was already set up. With some effort I was able to do that. Then I rechecked my silver nitrate PH which was 2.5....F-CK!! I ran back to YouTube and dug out a video Borut Penterlin made about boiling your silver bath. In the video he screwed up his bath by adding too much Nitric acid just like I did. His fix was to put in baking soda (make it more alkiline?) to bring up the PH. You then measure the PH and when it is 4 you sun the white gooey mess. When I added the baking soda the PH went back up to 4.2. I now have it sitting outside in a beaker with paper towel to stop the bugs from going swimming. I am hoping the bath will eventually clear as Borut promised. It might take several days to do that.
So that is the bad part. The good is that I made up a second brand new bath of silver nitrate. I was able to use the gravity meter to get a 9% solution. The PH was right around 4 (4.2) which was good. I then made up some vinegar based iron developer, that went well. I am soaking a aluminum plate with collodion on it which you need to do with a fresh silver bath, forget what that is called. I also adapted the Graphic 1234 holder (kinda) to hold a 4x5 aluminum plate.
A confusing day, but a learning day. Lots yet to lean before I start making the 35x35 inch plates! This folks is going to be INTERESTING!