This is the second attempt in using a Pronto plate in place of paper as a vehicle for the transfer.
Date: November 27, 2012
Researcher’s Name: Sally Mackenzie
Plate Material: copper .032
Plate Size: 4″ x 6″
Room Temperature: 68 Degrees Fahrenheit, dry (snowing outside)
I manipulated an image in Photoshop, with a mind to how different tones might respond to the transfer, eliminating true black in an effort to prevent “stopping out,” and working instead in a range of lighter grays. I printed the image onto the Pronto plate, having set the Paper Type to “Thick” and turning off the Toner Save setting under Ecology on the Brother HL-2280DW laser printer/copier. I cut the image down to size, and placed it on the hot plate (set to medium heat) under a cookie sheet “roof” this time for 25 minutes to trap heat and cure the toner onto the plate. I rolled a one-teaspoon slab of unmodified BIG ground, and prepared two bowls of water, three cups in each. To one of the bowls I added half of one tablespoon of Gum Arabic. With a clean sponge, I spread some of the plain water onto the clean glass rolling surface, and set the Pronto plate on the dampened area to prevent it from sliding. Using another clean sponge, I applied a layer of the Gum solution to the plate’s surface, wiping gently to cover it entirely, but dabbing away any puddles. I charged a small roller conservatively with BIG and made the first roll very gently, not applying pressure. I did two additional rolls onto newsprint to remove the beads of Gum solution from the roller. I then rewet my sponge in the Gum solution, and wiped the plate with it a second time, then charged the roller with BIG and rolled again. I repeated this process–sponging, BIG roll, newsprint rolls–for a total of four BIG rolls onto the pronto plate. I was uncertain when to stop rolling on the BIG, because it was not clear whether any BIG had stuck to certain of the lighter toner areas. It was visible, however, in darker areas, and the plate had a slight red tinge when held up to the light. I had degreased a copper plate alternating Bon Ami and soy sauce with a gloved hand, and I set this on the press bed and placed the Pronto plate face-down on top. I sent these through the Charles Brand press with 4 sheets of newsprint and 2 sizing catchers with 0.19 pressure. The transfer appeared to be successful. Those lighter grays clearly had held BIG, and darker areas seemed to have plenty of ground, perhaps even too much. I baked the plate at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, and allowed the baked plate to sit and cure for one hour.
41 Deg. Baume Ferric Chloride
Timed Application of Mordant
Removal of Grounds
Scrubbed away ground using Soy Solv and a toothbrush. It took a few minutes of scrubbing to clean completely, but had not appeared to shed at all during etching.
After Bath Evaluation
Plate is prone to oxidize in areas of tone, so a couple of dips in the brightening solution were called for. Darkest grays appeared to have stopped out somewhat, with lighter grays appearing to have the best tooth on the plate. Original dot pattern is very clear, as are some lines which may be either roller marks or vertical streaks that the laser printer left in the original pronto plate.
Inked warmed plate with unmodified Graphic Chemical Bone Black ink using a mat board chip and tarletan wipes. Plate wiped relatively easily. I did not do any final hand or newsprint wiping.
Paper Type: Hahnemuhle Copperplate
Paper Soaking Time: 30 minutes
Press Blanket Setup: Charles Brand 2 sizing catchers, 2 sheets newsprint, 0.19 pressure
Lightest areas of toner printed quite darkly, and darkest areas stopped out coarsely, with most large white areas open-biting as expected and printing white. With this level of refinement in the process achieved, it seems appropriate to begin work on a grayscale that will show clearly how different tones translate from the transfer “plate” to the final print.