Creating a Substitute For Faust Transparent Base Test 7

Test Summary: 
The purpose of this series of tests was to see if mixing Alumina Hydrate ( Al(OH)3 ) and Plate Oil #00 would achieve a base similar to Faust Q699.

Date: June 20, 2014
Researcher’s Name: Angela Zammarelli
Room Temperature: 78 degrees
Humidity: low humidity / sunny
Materials: Alumina Hydrate ( Al(OH)3 ) and Burnt Plate Oil 00

This experiment is based on studio member, Nancy Diessner’s information about Alumina Hydrate and plate oil 00. Instructions were to start with Alumina Hydrate and mix just enough oil into the powder to get a suitable transparent base.


In this test we started with 3 tsp of Alumina Hydrate (to match our baseline with Magnesium Carbonate) and added 1/8 tsp plate oil 00 at a time up to 1 tsp. This mixture had great body, but ended up being too dry, so we added 1/8 tsp more oil and found this ratio better matched our desired criteria.


This mixture, however, ended up not at all resembling Faust, and lacked the body we had been looking for. We found this base also has a very gritty feel. This recipe does come highly recommended by Ms. Diessner for use with photopolymer printing, so we pursued print tests. We also wanted to make sure that this 3:1 1/8 mixture has enough oil and would spread and wipe onto plates well.

We also found that mixing Alumina Hydrate and plate oil in a mortar and pestle works well, and is faster than using only a palette knife.

Print Test:

Plate Material: Copper
Ink: Graphic Chemical Process Blue, Graphic Chemical Bone Black, Al(OH)3, and Burnt    Plate Oil 00
Press Setting: 5.5
Paper: Hanemeuhle Copper Plate


Test print using only the Alumina Hydrate-plate oil 00 transparent base, showing little to no oxidization.


Process Blue:

DSC05334 DSC05336

The Alumina Hydrate mixture mixes well with inks. The different ratios keep true to the color from the can.


When using the Alumina Hydrate and plate oil 00 transparent base, one can feel the mixture going into the plate, especially the aquatint areas. In our personal opinion, we found that the 50/50 base-to-ink mixture worked best wiping and printing. We worry that this base is too gritty and will deteriorate aquatints over time.

process blue alumina hydrate


Bone Black:


Warm plate alumina hydrateTest print with warm plate.

cool plate alumina hydrate

Test print with cool plate.


When we applied this mixture to a copper plate, it felt better going onto a warmed plate, but worked just as well with a cool (or room temperature) plate. This mix wiped very easily from the plate, leaving the smooth areas of the image free of plate noise.  Also, one can feel the ink going into the marks on the plate. The resulting print is very clear. The mixture can run the risk of becoming too dry. We found the 50/50 base-to-ink ratio worked best.

Creating a Substitute Test 8>