Sandpaper Aquatint with BIG Ground Test 4

Test Summary
In this test we experimented with a 400 grit sandpaper impression into the BIG ground to create an aquatint. The sandpaper was replaced with a fresh piece every two passes through the press to prevent over-saturating the sandpaper with BIG. The plate remained in the Ferric Chloride bath for a full 30 minutes to achieve a black tone.

Date: September 23, 2011
Researcher’s Name: Andrea Santos & Laura Sheys
Plate Material: .032 Copper
Plate Size: 3″ x 3″
Room Temperature: 72, High Humidity

Plate Preparation
The copper plate was polished with Putz Pomade, steel wool and a scraper to remove large marks. The plate was degreased with soy sauce that was rubbed onto the copper plate using a piece of rolled felt, rinsed and then dried with a clean rag and blow dryer. The BIG ground was applied using a hand roller and hardened in the oven at 220 degrees for 9 minutes. On the plate we laid 400 grit sandpaper face down and ran it through the etching press for a total of 8 times. After each pass we slightly turned the sandpaper in a clockwise motion to ensure an even impression. For every 2 passes the sandpaper was removed and replaced with a new piece. The plate appears to have a pronounced texture. Looking through the magnifier, there is a good amount of exposed copper as well as light, medium, and dark red tones.

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Etching Notes
Plates was rinsed well under-water after prepping the aquatint at the press. Each plate was etched in a vertical etching tank of 38° Baume Ferric Chloride for 30 continuous minutes.

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Timed Application of Mordant
30 minutes

Removal of Grounds
The ground was easily removed with a clean rag, Soy Solve, and Simple Green. After we removed BIG the plates were rinsed in water and deoxidized in the plate brightener bath made of distilled white vinegar and salt (1 gallon/1 cup). It took a few applications to take the ground completely off.

After Bath Evaluation
The ground was a darker red after begin etched and there was some foul biting along the edges of the plate. Looking through a magnifier, the biting looks even across the plate’s surface. There was an equal proportion of deep, medium, and superficial biting on the surface. There are no large open bit areas.

Inking Methods
The plates was printed twice first with a mixture of Charbonnel Aqua Color and Charbonnel Aqua Color oil (about a quarter amount oil to ink). A second proof was pulled with Daniel Smith creamy french oil based ink. The ink was carded on with mat board scraps, wiped in gentle circular motions with used tarlatan, and then palm wiped.

Paper Type: Hahnemuhle Copperplate
Paper Soaking Time: 20 minutes
Press Blanket Setup: 2 blankets, 7.0 pressure, takach press

Test Conclusion
The Charbonnel Aqua-Color appears slightly lighter and luminous compared to the flat black of the Daniel Smith. The foul biting on the plate’s edges does not show up in the proofs. The increased pressure during plate prep and printing created a very successful aquatint.

Printed Images

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Sandpaper Aquatint with BIG Ground Test 5 >