October 1 & October 6, 2015
Researcher: Kristina Key
Room Temperature: 74º F // 65º F
Humidity: high humidity // low humidity
Materials: Soy Wax Litho Ink Soft Ground, 9″x6″ Copper plate, 39º baume ferric chloride, various drawing tools, Zea Mays Acrylic Stop Out
Abstract: Testing the 39º baume and variety of mark in an artistic image rather than test lines to be compared to “Soy Wax Litho Ink Soft Ground: Test 4a”.
(Oct.1) The plate was beveled, degreased, and placed on a hot plate. The soft ground was applied to the plate while hot with a brayer. It was challenging to get an even coat on the plate because the brayer would slide and skip across the surface. The best way to resolve that issue was to roll the soft ground out mostly on the hot plate then move it off the hot plate to quickly smooth it out with light rolling of the brayer while the plate was still warm. For my first state proof I used a dental tool, roulette wheel, scribe, beveled scribe, rubber paint brush, big and mini scraper to create different marks and etched the plate for 12 minutes in a 39º baume ferric chloride bath. I loosened the soft ground by placing my plate onto the hot plate and wiped it off. I removed the plate from the heat, rinsed and cleaned the plate then printed it using a Brand Etching Press at .9 pressure with two sizing catchers, Graphic Chemical 514 Bone Black Ink, and Hanemeuhle Copperplate paper.
The plate was regrounded on the hot plate with the soy wax soft ground. I continued to draw into it using a scribe, roulette wheel, mini scraper, and wire brush then etched it for 10 minutes in a 39º baume ferric chloride bath. The plate was heated, wiped, rinsed, cleaned, and printed the same way.
I regrounded the plate again and used the rubber paint brush, mini scraper, scribe, a dental tool, and roulette wheel to continue creating my image. The plate was placed in a 39º baume ferric chloride bath for 5 minutes. The plate was rinsed, dried, and some small areas I stopped out (dried the stop out with a blow dryer) before putting it back in the bath for an additional 10 minutes. The plate was heated, wiped, rinsed, cleaned, and printed in the same way as above.
I regrounded the plate again, leaving a brayer line partially visible on the plate, then used a mini scraper, scribe, and beveled scribe to continue my image, etched for 15 minutes. The plate was heated, wiped, rinsed, cleaned, and printed the same way.
(Oct. 6) I regrounded the plate then used a scribe, roulette wheel, rubber paint brush, small scraper, and dental tool to continue my image and etched it for 15 minutes. I noticed at this point that the soft ground was starting to come off in areas that have already been etched deeply causing them to continuously get darker. The plate was heated, wiped, rinsed, cleaned, and printed using Graphic Chemical 514 Bone Black Ink and Rives BFK paper (soaked for 15 minutes) on the Takach Etching Press at .5 pressure with two sizing catchers.
The plate was cleaned then regrounded. I used a dental tool, scribe, rubber paint brush, and mini scraper to continue my image then etched the plate for 15 minutes. The plate was heated, wiped, rinsed, cleaned, and printed the same as the last proof. Total time etched: 1 hour 22 minutes.
The soy wax litho ink soft ground can be used in the full strength ferric chloride bath (39° baume), but I wouldn’t recommend it for long or continuous etches. It would be perfectly fine for getting an initial image in one or two etchings. My plate ended up having a lot of false bitten dots, caused by a combination of improperly grounding the plate and the soft ground chipping off while in the ferric chloride bath.