I am reviving my attempt to use Borax as the alkali in Caffenol-C. I won’t try to use it by itself, however. I learned that Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH or Lye – as it is commonly known) can be easily obtained. I got a two-pound bottle of it at Lowe’s for $15.
Adding NaOH to Borax produces Sodium Metaborate – otherwise known in the photographic world as “Kodalk.” This was Kodak’s balanced alkali solution, which is no longer available (from Kodak, it can be purchased from several sources online). Its pH is about 10.5 and should work nicely for my purposes (I think). I’m hoping to take advantage of Borax’s reputed ability to provide a bit finer grain compared to Washing Soda. And if that works, I want to go further and add in Sulfite to see if I can get the grain finer still.
I have also decided to get a bit more organized in my experiments and have put together an actual lab book. Much better than the random bits of paper I have been using so far. I’m including all the useful data (tables, graphs, formulae, etc.) I have run across on the Internet. It’s nice just to have it all in one place.
Adding this to my improved test film strategy, I’m really hoping to come up with a working recipe for Caffenol-BS. I’ll sort out the alkali first, then start adding in sulfite.
More fun to come!