Today's postings

  1. [Baren 34766] Re: Some very minor questions ("Mark Mason")
  2. [Baren 34767] Re: Knives. ("Mark Mason")
  3. [Baren 34768] Re: Some very minor questions (Elizabeth Atwood)
  4. [Baren 34769] Re: Knives. (David Harrison)
  5. [Baren 34770] Re: printing presses ("Roy")
  6. [Baren 34771] Re: Baren Digest (old) V42 #4181 ("Marilynn Smith")
  7. [Baren 34772] Re: printing presses (Charles Morgan)
  8. [Baren 34773] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V42 #4180 (Jan 8, 2008) (Lynn Starun)
  9. [Baren 34774] Re: printing presses (ArtfulCarol #
  10. [Baren 34775] RE: pressure gauge ("Maria Arango")
Member image

Message 1
From: "Mark Mason"
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 13:37:17 -0000
Subject: [Baren 34766] Re: Some very minor questions
Send Message: To this poster

Hi Harry,

I happened to catch a bit of a TV program whilst visiting my sister called "Flog It!", a kind of low brow Antiques Roadshow, and they went to visit a company that produces high quality reproductions of engravings from a vast archive collection of plates they'd acquired at the turn of the last century.

They demonstrated the printing of a huge, almost A1 size engraving of a Turner painting. (I can't spell the name of it out of my head, so I won't try, but it was the image of the final voyage of a great ship, The Fighting T....)

I was surprised when they took a huge piece of paper and mentioned that it had been dampened, and pulled a beautifully detailed print.

The print was then passed to a group of women who added watercolour washes to it.

I'm assuming you're pulling our legs about having your paper soaking in a water tray. A misting with a water spray, or wipe with a wet brush is all you need, then allow the paper to rest in a pile.

Cheers and good luck,

Member image

Message 2
From: "Mark Mason"
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 13:53:58 -0000
Subject: [Baren 34767] Re: Knives.
Send Message: To this poster

Hi Louise,

Regarding knives, I do use a hangito, a couple of them in fact. I started with a 6mm, but now also use a 4.5mm and a 2mm. With every print I do, I'm trying to carve finer and finer lines, and the smaller knives seem to make cutting tight corners and curves much easier with less errors. I now only use the 6mm for large areas and straight lines like borders. I'm only on my 4th print (New Year Rat) but I'm hooked on my Hangitos, and wouldn't use anything else for carving lines. The ones available from the Baren Mall are very comfortable to handle, and the blade can be sharpened over and over. They'll last you years.

I'm learning though that carving fine lines is as much about your choice of block as it is your choice of knife.

Another very useful piece of equipment I've found is a leather strop. A few strokes across that every once in a while during carving keeps a really keen edge on your knife, and has reduced my use of sharpening stones a lot.

Best wishes,

Member image

Message 3
From: Elizabeth Atwood
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 08:56:47 -0500
Subject: [Baren 34768] Re: Some very minor questions
Send Message: To this poster

Happy New year All...............and Harry...........

You mentioned the Bewick biography..
I have read Uglow's book about Thomas Bewick and recommend it highly
to any printmaker who likes a bit of history.
It is a delightful read.

I have never dampened paper but perhaps it would be a worthy
experiment after all these years.

Another day...........ElizA in Maine
Member image

Message 4
From: David Harrison
Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2008 14:09:16 +0000
Subject: [Baren 34769] Re: Knives.
Send Message: To this poster

Mark Mason wrote:
> I'm learning though that carving fine lines is as much about your choice of
> block as it is your choice of knife.

Hi Mark,

I recall you were looking for suppliers for blocks in the UK. Have you found
anyone decent?


David H
Member image

Message 5
From: "Roy"
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 07:44:18 -0700
Subject: [Baren 34770] Re: printing presses
Send Message: To this poster

Hi all,

(I love the creativity of our Baren members in engineering
as well as printing.)

Most of my prints have been reliefs done with a baren
or on the classroom presses,
but I have read about 'pin presses'and have a really
smooth marble rolling pin. Could it be used to print
small intaglio prints with layers of felt between it and the
paper and MFD under?I have no room for any kind of
press otherwise.

Roy Leroux
Member image

Message 6
From: "Marilynn Smith"
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 06:44:56 -0800
Subject: [Baren 34771] Re: Baren Digest (old) V42 #4181
Send Message: To this poster

Harry, I have printed dry and was taught to print oil based prints dry.
However when I started to dampen paper I learned that the prints are better,
in my opinion. I think the ink sits on the top of the paper, not
penetrating it as much when printed dry. I do not soak the paper. I use a
wide brush to brush water onto each sheet, every third sheet in a stack is
left dry, I lay them one atop the other staggered (say about a thumbs width
down one from the other) in a blotter. Than I put the blotter in a plastic
bag to sit over night. This evens out the dampness, you do not want really
wet paper, you want it to just be damp to the touch. (sort of cool when you
hold it to your cheek) A lot of folks use newspaper instead of a blotter and
swear it works as well.

As for oiling a plate, yes a plate oiled with linseed oil will carve easier.
But do not oil plates that you will use with water based inks, oil and water
do not mix!!! My husband, who used to make custom gun stocks and has done
absolutley beautiful inlay work told me that all woods naturally have oil in
them. The woods with the most oil are the easiest to cut. Very dry very
hard wood is difficult to work with.

If you have soaked paper overnight you probably can let the paper dry out
and start over. The only thing is that a lot of papers will not hold
together if they are soaked in a tub for hours, I know rives BFK will but I
have had papers fall apart when soaked! One can also soak the paper say
five minutes, take it out and blot it dry and print with it, I was taught
that method for doing monotypes, but not sure if it would work with
woodcuts, might be too damp. Good luck and keep doing those dragons!


Member image

Message 7
From: Charles Morgan
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 07:01:02 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [Baren 34772] Re: printing presses
Send Message: To this poster

Your marble rolling pin is easily as good as the outrageously priced "pin presses". But having said that, in my experiments I did not find them suitable for printing etchings. The main problem is that you just do not get enough pressure, because the pressure is spread out over too great an area. A much better bet is to use a simple palm press made from appliance rollers. Check my website for complete instructions on how to make and use such a press:

Click on the "techniques" button and then you can download the file "Print Etchings with a Palm Press". Feel free to email me off-list if you have any questions.

Cheers ...... Charles
Member image

Message 8
From: Lynn Starun
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 08:33:43 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [Baren 34773] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V42 #4180 (Jan 8, 2008)
Send Message: To this poster

Hi Charles,
I said I was thrilled with how easy my "new" press is
to operate because of the gears but I will admit that
it's sort of awkward to deal with the arms. They
don't seem spaced in an ergonomic way (at least for a
5 foot person)
Do you have any thoughts on how to turn arms into a
big wheel? I guess I don't want to lose the
convenience of being able to unscrew the arms for
transport. Maybe a big wooded wheel with places to
screw the arms in....maybe just insert the arms and
have it in pieces that somehow join...
Member image

Message 9
From: ArtfulCarol #
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 11:51:04 EST
Subject: [Baren 34774] Re: printing presses
Send Message: To this poster

This is part of a quote, Roberta Waddell, curator of the NYC Public Library
Print Room:

"... proving that printmaking doesn't have to involve a heavy,expensive
press--just creativity, imagination, an instinctive response to materials
and a highly developed sense of playfulness (a quality I much admire)"
Carol Lyons
Irvington, NY
Member image

Message 10
From: "Maria Arango"
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 08:45:34 -0800
Subject: [Baren 34775] RE: pressure gauge
Send Message: To this poster

Great modification for the Thomas press, Charles.

As far as true pressure gauges, the Whelan Press has a true pressure gauge.
It comes with two gauges, one is a height gauge and the other a pressure
gauge. You first simply adjust the height gauge to the height of the block,
it is calibrated so accurately you can do this without the block being on
the press (measure the block-to-be and adjust the press height gauge to that
measure). Then you can adjust the pressure gauge to whatever pressure, more
for engravings and metal etchings, less for woodcuts, more for detailed
stuff, etc. I'm just in awe how well this system works.

You can see details of the Whelan Press system at their website:


Maria Arango