Monday, 25 July 2011

preparing the copper plate

I am working on this whilst i wait for other materials to arrive to enable me to finish my press.
I do have some reasonably sized copper sheets,which i have had for some time cluttering up the workshop they are about 1.2 mm so they should be ok.
The first job was to cut the sheets into smaller pieces,giving me a selection of sizes on which to start my etchings.
The copper cuts fairly easely with sheet metal hand shears,although it does leave the edge a bit puckered.I delt with this by gently hammering the edge with a small ball pein hammer on what would be the back face of the plate.This was followed by filing the plate square and then putting a chamfer on the edge of the plate.
I found that the best way to clean up the face was to use 400grade wet and dry paper .This seems to remove most of the scratches.
I start off using the paper dry and then finish with using it wet this gives a finish suitable for polishing.

On the bottom right you can see theplates before and after dry sanding .I finish my plates with a motorised polishing mop .This speeds up the finishing process    considerably.
                                 The last job is to clean the plate .I have been using pummice with water which seems to work well  and leaves a matt finish to the plate ready for varnishing. I have finished 6 plates and they look ok but the proof of the pudding is in the printing!  

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Intaglio . Getting started

I retired to Brittany in the north of France from the U.K about 5 years ago and after finishing the restoration of my house,I have been thinking about setting up a small print workshop.I have always been interested in art since school days especially sketching and thought i might try some linocuts and etching.
On a recent trip back to the U.K I made a trip to Lawrence print supplies in Hove for some advice and came away with a basic kit to get me started.I could'nt wait to get back home to try out my new found hobby.
After a while it became apparent that a press would be needed to achieve the sort of results that I was looking for.These of course are very expensive items and funds would not permit such a purchase.
Having studied a few catalogues I came to the conclusion that if I wanted a press I would have to make one.
I have spent most of my life in engineering so this was not such a daunting prospect.The problem was getting hold of a supply of materials in France ,although my french is improving, buying materials is a bit different to buying food at your local supermarket.
I managed to source some 95mm steel rollers from a friend .These came from a timber mill and seemed ideal for the job in hand.The frame i decided would be made from box section and would be welded together to form the support for the rollers.
Press taking shape
This photo shows the bottom frame,bearings and bottom roller being trial fitted.
While I am waiting for more material to arrive,i have decided to do some work on the copper sheet i have in the workshop.It is a bit scratched so i am in the process of cutting it up into smaller pieces and starting the labourious process of sanding and polishing each piece so that i will have some sheets to get started on.