Brooks Gelfand , Aug 09, 2008; 02:38 a.m.
Those are several good questions.
1) The Dektol. Mix it all to form a stock solution. I store a gallon of stock solution in a plastic milk jug in a dark cabinet. I mixed my last stock solution on 17 Jan 2008. So far it still works well even though the stock solution looks a bit brown. Mix one part of stock solution with two parts water to form a working solution. I discard the working solution at the end of each printing session.
2) Fix. I use Ilford Rapid fix. for film I dilute one part rapid fix with four parts of water. I store about 1 liter in a two liter plastic Coke bottle. For paper, I dilute 1 part rapid fix with nine parts water. I made 3 liters of this solution which I store in a one gallon plastic milk jug. I test the film fixer by seeing how fast it clears the leader from the roll of film I will develop, and the fix for twice that time. If it takes longer than 4 minutes to clear the film, I mix a fresh batch. I test the paper fixer with Edwal Hypo Check. If a precipitate forms when I put two drops in the working solution, I discard the fixer. I test before and after each developing session, and depending upon the number of prints, during the session. I keep the fixer from session to session.
3) I use Kodak Indicator Stop bath when printing. It neutralizes the basic developer and lengthens the life of the fixer. I keep the stop bath and use it until the indicator in it turns purple.
When I mix my chemicals, I use a Sharpie pen to write the chemical name and the date I mixed them on the milk jug or Coke bottle.
I also keep a spare, unopened bottle of fix and a spare packet of Dektol on hand. If find any of the stock solutions are bad, I can always mix fresh. Unopened Rapid Fix should keep for two years. Dektol in powdered for will keep for a very long time, just how long, I am not sure.
All much chemicals are keep in a dark cabinet (under the sink in the bathroom) in an air conditioned house. If you live in a warm climate and do not have air conditioning, your chemical will not last as long.
This is just the way I do it; it works for me. I am sure other have equally good protocols.