I woke up this morning excited to test my new registration jig. My hopes were crushed, however, when the first thing I did was to ruin the pegs on my first jig. I ran it through the press with a Masonite blanket (more on that later) and the pressure set too high. The press dutifully squeezed the pegs down and stretched them out so that the holes in the paper wouldn’t fit over them at all.
[crushed pegs, new pegs]
Thank goodness it was just a matter of carving another one. Since all I have to do is stand there and drink coffee with a vacuum in my hand while my robot assistant does the carving, I decided to snap a few pics of the process.
[carving the paper space with pegs, step 1]
[carving the paper space with pegs, step 2]
[carving the paper space with pegs, step 3]
[carving the block space]
Once the new jig was carved, I sanded it and gave it a couple of coats of shellac before I tried it. If ink gets on the clean paper surface, I need to be able to clean it thoroughly and shellac provides the barrier to absorption that I need.
Right now I’m snapping the paper down onto the holes and leaving it there while I ink and place one block at a time against the far corner of the hole I carved for them.
When I’m eventually pulling an edition, it will be the paper that gets removed after each impression. I’ll print all of the prints with block #1, then change the block.
[ready to drop the paper for the third pass]
The registration is nearly perfect with this new system. I can pull impression after impression with tight control over exactly where the paper and the block end up. Inking consistency is another (big) issue, but the images end up where they belong.
[nearly perfect block registration]
I’ve replaced the top press blanket with a Masonite board to give me solid, firm pressure against the surface of the wood block.
Thanks to Dune from Eugene Printmakers for giving me that tip. I would have just gone on thinking that my prints should be embossed or baffled as to how I could print without embossing if it hadn’t been for Dune’s kind advice.