Date: December 2, 2011
Researcher’s Name: Laura Sheys and Andrea Santos
Plate Material: .032 copper
Plate Size: 3″ x 4″
Room Temperature: 70
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 6 minutes. On the plate we laid 220 grit sandpaper face down and ran it through the etching press for a total of 5 times. After each pass we slightly turned the sandpaper in a clockwise motion to ensure an even impression. We rinsed the plate well under running water and the surface feels slightly course. There was a 1:3 ratio of exposed copper to ground on the plate.
The plate was rinsed well under-water after prepping the aquatint at the press. The plate was etched in a vertical etching tank of 38° Baume Ferric Chloride for a total of 30 minutes.
Timed Application of Mordant
The copper plate was etched two times. After the first 15 minutes we took the plate out of the bath, rinsed it under running water, and placed it in the brightener bath to remove oxidation. After we dried the plate with a clean rag we stopped out half the plate areas with clear packing tape. We placed the plate back in the bath to etch for an additional 15 minutes.
Removal of Grounds
The ground was removed with a clean rag and Soy Solve. 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 and a toothbrush to scrub the ground completely off.
After Bath Evaluation
The ground held up well after the first etch, but it began to break down after the second etch. A third etch is not advisable with this process. The plate doesn’t look properly etched the aquatint dots seem small and sparse.
The plate was inked using Daniel Smith Creamy French Black thinned with a drop of #00 burnt plate oil. 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: 10 Minutes
Press Blanket Setup: 2 blankets, 6.5 pressure, small tabletop Takach
The dark tones in the printed proof did not reflect 30 minutes of etching and there is irregularity across the plates surface. There was not enough exposed copper to properly etch the aquatint.