BIG Soft Ground Research Test 6

Test Summary
Neither the black or red BIG ground was effective directly out of the tube. I want to find a comfortable drawing point that may be achieved by partially heatsetting the plate before drawing. Considering that black BIG has less tack than the red BIG I thought heat setting the grounded copper plate prior to drawing will yield better results.

Date: November 10, 2010
Researcher’s Name: Brianna Ashe
Plate Material: .032 Copper
Plate Size: 6 in x 6 in
Room Temperature: 67°F Cool and Sunny

Plate Preparation
The 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. Several thin layers of black BIG were rolled across the surface of the copper plate, building gradually enough so the copper did not sparkle through the ground. Before drawing the plate was heatset at 150° for 15 minutes on a hotplate in an attempt to take away the ground’s wet sheen. I used Clearpoint drafting vellum as the transfer paper and a hard “H” pencil for drawing. I placed the paper carefully onto the surface of the copper plate so as not to disturb the ground. I 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, with a 5 minute break in-between. I hardened the ground for 30 minutes on the hotplate until the ground was smooth to the touch without any tack before etching.

Bri's drawing and transfer

Bri’s drawing and transfer

Etching Notes
The 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 the citrus cleaner “D-Solve” by Z-Acryl. The “D-Solve” has a powerful citrus scent, but does an incredible job removing BIG. It is sprayed onto the plate and wiped clean with a rag. After removing the ground the plate was rinsed 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 the plate was dried with a clean rag and blow dryer.

After Bath Evaluation
This plate looked great; the etched lines are clearly visible. There is little to no foul bite. The places I pressed for tone with my fingers translated in the etch.

Bri's Etched Plate

Bri’s Etched Plate

Inking Methods
The plate was 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, 6.5 pressure, Small Takach Etching Press

Test Conclusion
Heatsetting the plate appears to be the answer to my drawing problems. However 15 minutes of heatsetting may be a too long. The ground lost a little of its nuance. This is the best plate and print yet. Newsprint does translate line but paper like drafting vellum appears to be a better choice for line and tone.

Printed Images

Bri's Print

Bri’s Print

BIG Soft Ground Research Test 7 >