Better Pressure

(Those of you who are paying attention will notice that posts are showing up out of order. Yesterday’s post on ink transparency got bumped up so I could send it to printmaker friends and ask for help…)

Two steps forward, one step back! That seems to be the theme for my printmaking work right now.

I really don’t know what has changed since I was pulling decent prints last week, but something has. Suddenly I cannot get the roller up and onto the plate if there’s enough pressure to give me a good image. It may be that the new jig is slightly shallower than the old one, making the block lip slightly higher? I just don’t know, but I’m impatient to continue with my color experiments and don’t want to waste a lot of time figuring it out.

[Bad pressure before]
[Good pressure afterward]
Here is a synopsis of how the layers are set up now. First, the inked block, then the paper. Behind that you can see the newsprint that protects the rubber offset blanket from ink and vice versa.

[Block and paper]
Then comes the hard rubber offset press blanket. This gives a firm, but slightly resilient surface, resulting in a very slight and controllable embossing.

[Hard rubber offset press blanket]
To get the rollers up onto the plate, I’m using a ramp of masonite. To get the rollers onto the masonite, I’m cushioning the edge with the thick rubber blanket that comes with the Whelan press.

[Masonite and thick rubber blanket]
With just the thick rubber blanket and no masonite, there was too much pressure being applied to the hard rubber blanket, resulting in too much embossing.

So, yeah, it’s a lot of fiddling to get the layers in place for each print, but at least I’m not dead in the water while I carve yet another jig.

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