Yesterday I cut, sanded, and shellacked a batch of printing plates. Today I did some tests to see how the birch plywood would perform compared to the scrap wood that I’ve been using.
My first view of the birch straight from the carver was a little scary. It looked so splintered that I was sure it would be a nightmare to clean up. It wasn’t. A few minutes with sandpaper and a sharp knife blade to remove the worst splinters and it looks pretty good…
Now to test the various printing methods. The question on my mind is this, “Which is more important, soft paper or high pressure?” Let me cut to the chase, it’s both, but pressure is critical.
Here are the four tests.
- unsoaked paper, baren for pressure. The low pressure that’s available by using a baren made for an awful print.
- unsoaked paper, foam between the marble roller and the paper. There is more pressure this way, but still not enough to get even a decent print.
- Unsoaked paper, two sheets of newsprint between the marble roller and the paper. The newsprint is mostly for cleanliness in case ink gets on the marble roller. This is a decent print, telling me that I would probably not need to soak my paper if I had even more pressure.
- Soaked paper, two sheets of newsprint between the marble roller and the paper. This is an acceptable print for my current skill level.
In case you’re wondering about my tools, here are a couple of snapshots…
[last week vs. this week]