This is a question for you oldskool B&W photographers, I'm hoping there's some of you out there ;)
I am just getting round to sorting out my darkroom and thought I'd give it a test run now the power was in. The first thing I wanted to test was that the old paper I was given still worked, if only for testing even if not final prints. Freshly opened I developed an unexposed piece and all was well. I then made a few test contact sheets and although overexposed because I didn't eyt know the speed of the paper, all developed well.
I then made a couple of test prints, which looked fine in the darkroom but having removed them and seeing them in normal light, the edges of the paper had brown discolouration. The test contacts I had made previously were perfectly fine.
Now I know the paper is old so there's a possibility it is this, but given that the top sheets of paper, which are the most likely to have reacted with the packaging were fine, this seems less likely than I first thought. There's also the chance of the fixer getting exhausted, and I'll have to check this at a later date.
The main difference between the test contact sheets and the prints I made was that because I knew I was throwing the contacts away I didn't leave them in the fixer very long. Being an amateur who has only had a few evening classes in the darkroom I was under the assumption that fixer is harmless, and the longer you leave the prints in the fix the better, so that is what I did for the prints. Given that it is Ilford Rapid Fixer I have they were in there for long over the recommended time, which I had assumed was a minimum for safe fixing.
So my question, could the excessive time I leave a print in the fixer have negative effects on the print to cause this brown staining around the edge?