Creating a substitute for Faust Transparent Base Test 1

Test Summary

The purpose of this test was to see if using burnt plate oil and magnesium carbonate would provide a comparable substitute for Faust Transparent Base Extender.

Date: April 03, 2014
Researchers’ Names: Mike Barrett and Angela Zammarelli
Room Temperature: 65 degrees
Humidity: dry
Materials: Burnt Plate Oil 00, #000, and #0000 and Magnesium Carbonate (MgCO3)

Step 1: Compare and Contrast:

To begin our experiment, we decided to take three transparent bases that we had available in the shop and compare their qualities. The first base was the Faust Transparent Base (in future referred to as “Faust Q699”), which was the product we were hoping to replicate. Faust Q699 has a smooth and buttery feel with very little tack. It also is a very short ink medium and holds form exceptionally well. The second base we looked at was Rembrandt Block Pr-Ink Transparent Hue, and the third was Graphic Chemical Tint Base Extender. These other bases each had a higher viscosity and were comparably stickier.


Step 2, Stage 1: Mixing Burnt Plate Oil 00 and MgCO3

Mix 1: 1 tsp. burnt plate oil 00 & 1 tsp MgCO3.

This mixture was very runny with low tack. It did not have much body.


Mix 2: 1 tsp. burnt plate oil 00 & 2 tsp. MgCO3.

Closer in viscosity to the Faust Q699, but tackier. The Faust was oilier. Our mix was easy to work, but did not have the buttery feel that we were trying to achieve.


Mix 3: 1 tsp. burnt plate oil 00 & 2 1/2 tsp. MgCO3.

Considerably thicker, tack and greasiness remain similar to mixture 2. The mixture did not hold its form like Faust Q699.


Mix 4: 1:1 mixture of Mix 2 & Mix 3 plus an additional 1/4 tsp MgCO3.

Smoother consistency than Mix 3 but not as firm in viscosity.  This mixture seemed drier than Faust Q699.



Step 2, Stage 2: Mixing Burnt Plate Oil #0000 and MgCO3

Mix 5: 1 tsp. burnt plate oil #0000 & 1 tsp. MgCO3.

Had a caramel color close to Faust Q699 with a thicker viscosity and low tack. Held ridges made with a palette knife only for a few seconds while Faust Q699 holds ridges indefinitely.


Mix 6: 1 tsp. burnt plate oil #0000 & 2 tsp. MgCO3.

Stickier than Mix 5 and still did not hold ridges made in it for very long.


Mix 7: 1 tsp burnt plate oil #0000 & 2 1/2 tsp MgCO3.

Smoother mixture with a fuller body than Mix 5 and Mix 6. Held ridges better, but still not for as long, or with the same quality as Faust Q699.


Mix 8: 1 tsp. burnt plate oil #0000 & 3 tsp. MgCO3.

Much stickier than Faust Q699 with a weak body. Did not feel very buttery.

Mix 9: 1 tsp. burnt plate oil #0000 & 3 1/2 tsp. MgCO3.

Stiff mixture with ridges that relax quickly.



Step 2, Stage 3: Mixing Burnt Plate Oil #000 and Magnesium Carbonate.

Mix 10: 1 tsp. burnt plate oil #000 & 1 tsp. MgCO3.

A very loose, long mixture that did not have much body and won’t hold ridges made with a palette knife.


Mix 11: 1 tsp. burnt plate oil #000 & 2 tsp. MgCO3..

This was the mixture that so far seemed closest to Faust Q699. It was smooth and buttery to work with, but the mixture was still lacking the viscosity that Faust Q699 has. The consistency when held between the fingers was close to Faust in tack.


Mix 12: 1 tsp. burnt plate oil #000 & 3 tsp. MgCO3.

Very thick mixture, almost like clay and not easy to work. One could cut the mixture into parts as opposed to creating ridges that held their form.


Conclusion: From our tests, we felt that MgCO3. might not be the correct binder for a transparent base similar to Faust. We could not achieve the correct body and tack to satisfy the criteria put forward. Each mixture remained far more oily in appearance compared to the Faust. We did however believe that burnt plate oil #000 was the best oil for creating a base close to Faust.  We decided to take the mixture we believed to be the closest from our tests and move on to the next round of experiments of pull down tests and print comparisons. We wanted to see if the base we had come up with has the same translucent qualities of Faust and how it affects the ink when wiping the plate and printing.  The mixture we have decided will be the best for this is 1 tsp. burnt plate oil #000 and 2 tsp magnesium carbonate which we will refer to in the next experiment as “Z-mix”.



Date: April 10, 2014

Test Summary:
The purpose of this test was to see if our mixture, Z-mix, was as transparent as Faust Transparent Base Q699 and how it applied and wiped from a copper plate with a delicate aquatint.

Researchers’ Names: Mike Barrett and Angela Zammarelli
Room Temperature: 68 degrees
Humidity: dry
Materials: Burnt Plate Oil #000, MgCO3, Faust Transparent Base, Graphic Chemical & Ink Co. Process Blue Ink, samples from previous week’s tests.


Week 1 skin tests:

Review of samples from the April 3rd experiments.


Faust – No skin

Mix 12 -1 tsp. plate oil #000 & 3 tsp. MgCO3 – Skin present, dried out.

Mix 8 – 1 tsp. plate oil #0000 & 3 tsp. MgCO3 – like honey, very runny.

1 tsp. plate oil #0000 & 3 tsp. magnesium carbonate plus an additional 1/4 tsp. magnesium carbonate – Also like honey, very runny.


Draw Down Tests:

We decided to test draw downs of ink with medium using Process Blue ink. Graphic Chemical & Ink Co. brand was what we had in stock. Process Blue is a very tacky and heavily pigmented ink that mixes to a broad range of tones. We felt this would be a good ink to test with Z-mix (1 tsp. plate oil #000 & 2 tsp. MgCO3) and compare to Faust.


1:1 Mixes:


1 part Faust Q699 to 1 part ink, presented next to ink with no extender:

Silky/easy to mix, spreads well, makes ink evenly transparent. Removes tack and stiffness from ink.


1 part Z-mix to 1 part ink:

Not as silky as Faust. Mixes nicely, but is greasy. Carried a texture, maybe from bits dry ink or particulate of unevenly mixed MgCO3. Has a nice translucent quality. Looser than Faust and did not hold shape as well.


95:5 Mixes:


95% Faust to 5% ink:

Did not notice the stiffness or tack of the ink while mixing. The ink gets completely absorbed by the Faust base. Faust makes the ink look cloudy when mixing. Takes a little more working to mix evenly (because of uneven quantities).

95% Z-mix to 5% ink:
There was less interference with the pigment from the Z-mix. The ink still feels tacky and does not mix into the base as well as with Faust.


Pull downs gave similar result in opacity. The body of the Z-mix was very oily. This might have caused over wiping. (Note: Upon reviewing pull down sheets on 4-17-14 there was visible oil staining on the paper from oil.)


“Dab of ink” mix: faustsubex1dabcompareFaust Q699 with a dab of ink:

Mixing felt like you were just playing with Faust base by itself.


Z-mix with a dab of ink:

Thin mix. Texture of ink was still present. Opacity was similar to Faust. Still more oily with less body than Faust.


The bead of ink from the knife was darker with Z-mix than with Faust. Both have a loose smooth pull. We layered two pulls of Z-mix over each other to test opacity. Z-mix seemed to carry more pigment than Faust. There may be a slight discrepancy in quantities of base used in this test, there being more Faust base present than there was in the Z-mix pull.

Creating a substitute test 2 >