Rob C: With my luck if I had your gallon jug (glass) I would drop it and have to clean up a gallon of Photo-Flow off the floor. I wonder what I would use to clean that up - water?
Youīre not joking! In fact, thatīs partly a reason for my closing down the last darkroom. All my later pro work was transparency but I still liked b/w prints, so when we moved to Spain I built an office which provided office space along one wall and wet-bench possibilities along the other, plumbed and with an air-con unit fitted. (I hate air-con, as did my wife - it was only for that one room and the quest for 68 degrees F!)
In the event, water shortages made me avoid using it as did the inconvenience of putting up the light screens. Anyway, it got little use and we eventually put in fitted carpets. Then, I thought Iīd try again with prints. I realised on the first attempt that handling large containers of stop and fixer was not sensible after a heart attack - though covered with plastic sheeting, those carpets were silently screaming at me to wake up!
The enlarger etc. now grace a local school. At least, I think they do; the town council might just have been being kind to me and not wanting to embarrass a well-intending foreigner - perhaps the Durst has long vanished into oblivion!
The purpose of the pre-soak. This was intended to pre-wet the surface of the film and soften it very slightly in order to allow the developer quicker, and thus more even, access to all of the surface. The thought was that being as salt-free as possible, the water wouldnīt create local areas of resistance to the wetting of the film and thus, when the dev replaced the water, there would also be less chance of bubbles forming due to the viscosity of the thicker dev fluid causing resistance to an even surface flow by combining with the resistance provided by the film surface texture itself.
As it wasnīt easy to get inside the tank to see for myself, I took much of this on faith, and as alchemy was ever thus, I often added a wing and a prayer. In general, it seemed to work.
But, with 120 film, I was never able completely to avoid bubbles along one, single edge, try as I might and with, without pre-soak, with or without twiddle of spiral, twiddle of spiral and without inversion. Any way, 120 TXP always managed to screw up a few tiny fractions of the length of that square frame!