Saturday, June 13, 2015

Polishing Plates

Polished and degreased plates.

I've been back at the studio and the best way to get into a routine again is by starting to prepare the plates, bevelling the edges, polishing the surface, degreasing the plates and putting on an acid resistant backing. My plan is to work on a series of square plates (7-10) and then combine them randomly in various formations; some will have more controlled drawing, others will have more washes and painterly shapes. I'm supposed to loosened up more, plan less (!!!), open up my spaces (which I've been trying already last term). None of these things come easy to me, so it's a bit of a challenge, but I think that might be a useful exercise in working with the unforeseen. 

Polishing plate with electric sander. 

I bought an electric sander to polish all those plates. It works quite well and saves me a lot of time. I start with 1500 grit sandpaper (dry), then use 0000 steel wool by hand with 3 in 1 oil, then the sander again with a piece of old felt (printing blanket) + jeweller's rouge and oil. I think Putz Pomade works also quite well for the final step. This polishing process gets rid of most of the scratches and doesn't leave a sanding pattern. I don't quite get a mirror finish, but a nice even polish with a little buff (see top image). 

Scratched plate before polishing. 

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