Test Summary: The purpose of this series of tests was to see if using Setswell to modify Gamblin Transparent Base and our mix of Magnesium and Plate Oil will achieve a base similar to Faust Q699.
Date: May 8, 2014
Researchers’ Names: Mike Barrett and Angela Zammarelli
Room Temperature: 73 degrees
Humidity: low humidity, sunny
Materials: Gamblin Transparent Base, Hanco Setswell
Stage I: Gamblin Transparent Base and Hanco Setswell.
Gamblin Transparent Base (t-base) is smooth and oily with a medium body. When taken between two fingers it glides nicely. There is a bit of tack to this transparent base.
Mix 1: 1tsp. Gamblin t-base : 1 tsp. Setswell Smooth and less sticky than Faust. Good color when applied. The base was short, and had a buttery consistency.
Plate Material: Copper
Ink: 1:1 Gamblin Transparent Base and Setswell Compound mix.
Press Setting: 5.5
Paper: Hanemeuhle Copper Plate
Print 1 gave false results. We did not thoroughly clean the plate after printing early in the day with an Aluminum Hydroxide base mix.
Print 2 shows a considerable amount of darkening from oxidization. This print was taken after very thorough cleaning of the plate. For our third and fourth prints, we printed with unmixed Gamblin base and Setswell Compound:
Print 3 is unmixed Gamblin transparent base. Much more darkening due to oxidization was apparent. Note how some aquatint areas hold darker tones at the edges. Also, Gamblin on its own prints darker than it does mixed with Setswell.
From our first experiment with Gamblin and Setswell it was clear that oxidization would be a persistent issue with future Gamblin base experiments. The 1:1 mix we printed with was too loose, though Setswell did add some characteristics to the Gamblin base that we were looking for in our Faust substitute.
Date: May 22, 2014
Researchers: Mike Barrett and Angela Zammarelli
Room Temperature: 76 degrees
Humidity: fairly humid, rainy
Materials: Gamblin Transparent Base, Magnesium Carbonate (MgCO3), Burnt Plate Oil 00, Hanco Setswell
Stage I (continued):
Gamblin Transparent Base, Hanco Setswell Mix 2: 1 tsp. Gamblin Transparent Base : 1/4 tsp. Setswell This mixture has no tack and is very smooth. It doesn’t hold its shape well and is lacking the body that we are looking for. It is a long mixture with a thin drip. We ended our experiments with Gamblin here.
Stage 2: MgCO3, Burnt Plate Oil 00, Hanco Setswell
Mix 5: 1 tsp. Burnt Plate Oil 00 : 3 1/2 tsp. MgCO3 :1/4 tsp. Setswell
Good body with a “thick” feel. A short medium that wouldn’t fall off the pallet knife. This mix had high viscosity with easy mixablity.
Plate Material: Copper
Ink: Graphic Chemical Process Blue, 00 Plate Oil, Hanco Setswell Compound
Press Setting: 5.5
Paper: Hanemeuhle Copper Plate
1a: Hot plate. Gets runny on heated plate. Ink is soaked up by aquatint areas. Smooth wiping. Too thin of a mix of ink resulted in over-wiping. Oxidization is apparent on tarlatan.
1b: Cold plate. Similar to the above, but with a waxy residue left on the clear areas that was hard to remove without over-wiping. More oxidization is apparent on the print since plate was not cleaned between prints.
2a: Hot plate. Aquatint sucks the ink up. Not as runny as the “dab” mix. While wiping, as the plate cools, the ink gets sticky and beads up. Over all, wiping is OK. Holds the aquatints, still has waxy residue on clear areas. On the print, minor plate tone remains. With the increased amount of ink, oxidization becomes much less apparent.
2b: Cold Plate. Feels better going into aquatint than hot plate. Wipes easier cold than hot. Possibly due to the melting and cooling of the Setswell? On the print, there are areas of plate tone still visible, but the aquatint has better saturation.
3a: Hot Plate. Inks melts away on heated plate. Feels very loose. Smooth and very fast wipe. Some waxy residue present, but not to the extent with the Gamblin mix. Feels stickier than the Gamblin mix during hand wiping. Print has lots of plate tone and uneven wiping, not apparent during the wiping process. The harder edges of the aquatint areas hold well, and the softer areas on the plate are very light.
3b: Cold Plate. Still goes into the aquatints well. Trying newsprint for hand wiping to clear the plate tone and preserve tint saturation. Printed much clearer than the hot plate. Much more even wiping and less plate tone. Could be a result of trying the newsprint for hand wiping, or not having the ink melt from the heat.
4a: Hot plate. Aquatint soaks in well. Plate tone is more heavily apparent. Feels smooth during application and wiping. Tarlatan “glides.” Print is much more even than previous hot plate runs. Broader range of tone present. Hand wiping has done much to clear the plate tone.
4b: Cold plate. Ink is still soaking into aquatint areas nicely. Not as loose as on the heated plate. Doesnt’ slide around as much during application. Noisy plate tone is present, tougher to remove. Print is very close to to the hot plate print. Some aquatint areas show better saturation and retention.
5a: Hot plate. Goes into to Aquatints nicely. Very light dab of ink, “whisper of color,” at this dilution, the ink goes on the heated plate very loose. Wiped very quickly. Print shows some oxidization in greyish tones present through the low percentage of ink in the mix. Very little plate tone. Even wiping shows a broad range of the tone present. Little plate noise.
5b: Cold plate. Ink is visibly going on better with the cold plate. Not melting results in more tack while wiping with the tarlatan. Similar to prints 4a and 4b, the only real difference is better saturation and ink retention in the deeper aquatint areas.
6a: Hot plate. Soaks into aquatint very well. “Like crazy” is quoted on our notes. Wipes well with the tarlatan. Still has some waxy plate tone. On the print, Mild over-wiping is present, but there is a good range of tone present, and good saturation in the aquatinted areas.
6b: Cold plate. The ink is tackier on the cold plate. Still a lot of residue and plate noise. Second stage wiping, either palm wiping or newsprint, is necessary. Print is moderately darker than the hot plate print, and as above, shows better saturation in the aquatint areas.
7a: Hot plate. Stickier than previous mixes. Took more wiping. Noticeable difference from previous mix. The print still has range of tone, and low plate noise, but the aquatint areas are faded, show a spotty, stippling-like effect. Some of the tighter smooth surface areas did not wipe clear.
7b: Cold plate. The ink mix carded on well. Stickier while wiping. The print has more plate noise than the hot plate print, some of the hand wiping only spread ink out from the aquatints into the smooth areas.
From these print experiments, it seems that Mix 4 (3 tsp MgCO3 : 1 tsp Plate Oil 00 : 1/4 tsp Hanco Setswell Compound) is the closest mix we have achieved. Other important notes from our experiments in regards to printing are: one, that a room temperature plate prints better than a warmed plate, and two that secondary wiping, either palm wiping or with newsprint, will be necessary to clean any waxy residue resulting in plate tone from the plate.