In yesterday’s version of the calendar I had one big problem, it was off-level. The top edge was thicker than the bottom. Today I tried a few things to fix it. First, I started sanding with 220 grit paper glued down to a flat board. I move the plate instead of the paper, applying pressure as evenly as I can.
[Sandpaper glued to a board]
Even still, you can see from the uneven sanding that the surface is irregular. The lighter patches on the edges are contacting the sandpaper. The darker section in the center is not.
To fix this, I’m trying something new. I’m applying one coat of shellac to the low areas in an attempt to raise them up a little. I didn’t document it, but I think it worked.
After the carver has done its work, the “perfect level” of the board doesn’t matter. (The press can handle a little inconsistency, I think.) I noticed that it was slightly off level, so I’m using a long homemade wood block to sand down the high spots without messing up the level too much.
[Sanding down the high spots]
I pulled a few proofs and I’m not satisfied. Yes, it’s better than yesterday, but if I’m committing hundreds of dollars of paper and renting studio time with an instructor to help pull this edition, I am going to spend the extra time to make sure the plate is as perfect as possible.
[Proofs on newsprint]
Here’s the best proof from the run. Notice the relative type weight. Again, “May” is quite a bit heavier than “July”. In the future, I will not use much type or I’ll employ some other trick to mask the fact that it’s really tough to get my plates within the 0.001″ tolerance that’s required for perfect type.