Putz Alternatives II

Putz Pomeade Alternatives: Experiment II

Temperature: 67, moderate humidity
Paper: Hannamule Copperplate Warm White
Ink: Charbonnel 55981

Plate Preparation:

We took six previously used 5″x7″ .032 copper plates (here labeled A-E) and prepared their reverse sides for printing, beveling and deburring the edges. Degreased with Bon Ami and Soy Sauce.

Printing the Raw Plates:

Each un-polished plate was inked in Charbonnel 55981 and wiped: light tarlatan and mostly hand wipe so as the maximize the ink left in shallow surface aberrations. Printed on a Takach etching press onto Hannamule Copperplate Warm White that had been in a damp pack for an hour.


Looking at our printed results from our first round of experiments, we decided to further investigate toothpaste as a possible alternative to Putz Pomeade. We decided to combine toothpaste with some mildly abrasive powders to mimic the texture and abrasiveness of Putz Pomade. We also combined toothpaste with a salt and vinegar mixture to make plates glossy. All substances were mixed with a palette knife and applied to the plate with a rag. Most of these experiments did not yield significant results in erasing scratches or eliminating plate tone. However, the toothpaste seemed to be successful at giving the plate a glossy, more reflective surface. We used Pepsodent fluoride toothpaste for all of the following experiments.

A. Putz Pomade (control)
visible removal of scratches and lighter plate tone.
B. Toothpaste
applied to degreased plate with rag and even pressure, rinsed with water and dried before printing. Yielded little to no visible change in scratches, plate was made brighter and glossier.
C. Toothpaste + Salt & Vinegar Addition of liquid to toothpaste made toothpaste thin and less abrasive, applied to plate with a rag. No visible change in scratches/plate tone in print, plate was made glossier.

D. 2:1 Toothpaste + Bon Ami
the mixture was quick to dry and therefore hard to work with/rub into plate. The substance was drying as it was being applied. Yielded slight removal of plate scratches, plate was made glossier
E. 2:1 Toothpaste + Magnesium Carbonate
this mixture was similar in dryness to bon ami mixture. little to no visible change in scraches/plate tone in print, plate was made glossier

after using 2:1 ratios of toothpaste with bon ami and magnesium carbonate, we decided to make 1:1 mixtures of both in an effort to make for a more abrasive texture closer to that of Putz Pomade

A II. 1:1 Magnesium carbonate + toothpaste
we were interested to see if a thicker mixture of magnesium carbonate would make for a more abrasive solution. The quick drying made it difficult to work with.

B II. 1:1 Bon ami + toothpaste
we wanted to make a more abrasive bon ami solution. The quick drying made it difficult to work with.

C II. 1:1 Bon ami + toothpaste with spritz of water
to address the quick-drying nature of the abrasive toothpaste mixtures, we decided to try wetting the plate before polishing with bon ami and toothpaste with a rag. The wetness made the mixture much easier to work with and caused the plate to appear polished but, again, did not yield results with fewer scratches.
D II. 2:1 toothpaste + bon ami
we wanted to see if a repeated application of a 2:1 mixture would yield results. It did not visibly change the results.
E II. toothpaste + water
we had not yet tried the addition of water to plain toothpaste, it was easy to work with and polished plate, did not remove surface scratches.

The Toothpaste, Salt and Vinegar solution was successful at brightening the plate but was not a successful abrasive. Toothpaste mixed with bon ami and toothpaste mixed with magnesium carbonate were better abrasives and did brighten the plate but the dryness of the mixtures made them difficult to work with on the plate surface. When we used these mixtures with a plate that had been sprayed with water, they were easier to work with but still did not seem to remove surface scratches. Toothpaste applied to a wet plate was easy to work with and brightened the plate. We decided to compare toothpaste + water with putz pomade side by side on a new copper plate with light scratches to compare how they brightened plate tone. The plates we had used in experiment II were so scratched that it was unlikely that a polish alone would make significant changes to the surface scratches without additional plate work.

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