BIG Soft Ground Research Test 2

Test Summary
We are working to solve the open bite problem that occurred in our first test. Following the same 15 minutes increment drawing procedure we are applying more red BIG ground to the copper plate.

Date: October 29, 2010
Researcher’s Name: Lyell Castonguay and Brianna Ashe
Plate Material: .032 Copper
Plate Size: 6 in x 6 in
Room Temperature: 80°F dry and sunny

Plate Preparation
Each plate was degreased with soy sauce that was rubbed onto the plate using a piece of rolled felt, rinsed and then dried with a clean rag and blow dryer. The BIG was squeezed from the tube onto a clean, glass inking slab, spread with a knife and rolled up using a 4″ diameter, medium hardness brayer. Several thin layers of red BIG were rolled across the surface of the copper plate, building gradually to the point that copper did not sparkle through the ground. The ground appeared glossy. We waited 15 minutes to allow the ground to set and then began to draw. We used newsprint as a transfer paper, gently laid across the surface of the plate. We used a bridge to hold our hand above the plate surface in order not to disrupt the ground. The goal was to have the paper lay across the plate evenly without wrinkling or over lifting the ground. When you lift the paper from the plate it should not grab the grounded copper plate’s surface, this would be an indication that too much ground had been applied. We immediately cleaned the roller and slab with diluted Simple Green and a rag after rolling up the copper plate. The drawing time was broken into four 15-minute increments each time switching to a different soft colored pencil for easy documentation. We hardened the ground for 30 minutes in the hotbox until the ground was smooth to the touch without any tack.

Bri's drawing and transfer

Bri’s drawing and transfer

Lyell's drawing and transfer

Lyell’s drawing and transfer

Etching Notes
Each plate was etched in a vertical etching tank of Ferric Chloride at 38° Baume.

Timed Application of Mordant
30 Minutes

Removal of Grounds
The grounds were removed using a stripper bath of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and water (100 grams/1 liter). Since we applied the ground thicker it made removal even more difficult. We had to use Bon Ami cleanser on the entire plate surface and use a rag and vigorously scrub the ground. After we removed the ground we rinsed the copper plate in water and deoxidized in the plate brightener bath made of distilled white vinegar and salt (1 gallon/1 cup). Immediately following the brightener bath they were dried with a clean rag and blow dryer.

After Bath Evaluation
The application of the ground appears to be sufficient. No noticeable foul biting in any open areas of the plate. Below is an image of the etched plate.

Bri's Etched Plate

Bri’s Etched Plate

Lyell's Etched Plate

Lyell’s Etched Plate

Inking Methods
The plates were inked with unmodified Graphic Chemical & Ink Co. Bone Black Etching Ink #514. The ink was carded on with mat board scraps, wiped with used tarlatan, and then palm wiped.

Paper Type: Hahnemule Copperplate
Paper Soaking Time: 30 Minutes
Press Blanket Setup: Sizing Catcher and Pusher

Test Conclusion
There are false bitten splotches on Lyell’s plate. It occurs in areas where the newsprint lifted too much of the ground off the plate creating unintentional open areas . The soft tacky qualities of the red BIG ground seem to be the cause of this problem. When applied in thin layers that covers the copper sparkle the ground lifts from the plate easily and is remains tacky even after 15 minutes of setting in the open air. Both plates achieved solid line definition but not much in the way of tone.

Printed Images

Lyell's Print

Lyell’s Print

Bri's Print

Bri’s Print

BIG Soft Ground Research Test 3 >