View Full Version : How Soft Is Your Paper?

Robson Valley
11th September 2011, 03:12 AM
I used dry paper for my very first (and so far, only) wood cut printing. The prints were a bit blotchy and this was not the same from one print to the next. Not enough ink, methinks = gooey little blobs of ink here and there. That was not the solution.

Later, I learned that the paper needs to be softened with water and rested in a pile. Not so much to aid the transfer of a water-based ink but moreso just to make the paper softer and more flexible, even with oil based inks.

Irrespective of paper weight and texture, is there a way to judge this factor before printing. . . even if the proofing sheets are another grade of paper?

I've got to get some projects completed in the next 2 weeks for Rivers Day, Sept 24.
Can't allow myself to work on this until after that event, for certain.

Ian Wells
17th October 2011, 09:57 PM
Depending on the type of paper/ink/press/inking technique you are using, one way to try is get your editioning paper ready and dip the first like wallpaper through a trough/tray of cool water then let it drip off a bit and lay it on a sheet or two of CLEAN newsprint, pat it down a bit then Do the next one and continue layering on newsprint when you've finished flip the stack over onto a sheet of plastic big enough to wrap the pile up in, leave it for an hour or so while you pull some proofs,modify ink, drink red wine, then they are ready for printing. the idea is that the time and layering allows the moisture to even out in all of the sheets. prep more sheets than you intend so you can pull a proof or four ie. two for press pressure, two for ink modification.
Hope this helps, I'm more of a painter these days but still remember a trick or two.


Robson Valley
18th October 2011, 07:56 AM
I quit carving/art in April and spent as much time outdoors as possible over our summer. WX now just as cold, windy and rainy as a winter in Melbourne. . . . and it will get a whole lot worse before it gets better. Freezing level is less than 5,000', down into the trees/forest. I'm just about ready to retreat into my house & shop.

The paper: I've painted in watercolor for 25+ yrs. The printing paper needs to be about as wet as WC paper for stretching? Another opinion claimed just damp for pliability's sake. Spray the sheets, stack & wrap, wait a couple of hours. Do you think that I should try both to figure it out?

Process: wood blocks, water-base inks & brayer. Paper and my hands/spoon for a press. I have every intention of building a press. Of course I do. One of these days.

10th December 2011, 12:56 PM
Don't know how much further you've got, but when I get my students to print intaglio (etchings and engravings) we wet one side of the paper and leave it for 1 or 2 min. We use just cartridge as its cheap and as long as the (oil based) ink is fresh and the press pressure is up it works a treat. For lino I use an old office press, which applies screw down pressure (relief plates can slide out from under the rollers and smudge). Should be easy to use a couple of flat pieces of timber and some big G clamps to squeeze it.

Robson Valley
11th December 2011, 04:19 AM
Thanks IGGY. I've just finished 2 wood cuts, ready for printing. However, I have guests coming and going and 2 more birthday toots to get past, then Christmas with family flying in. . . . I won't get to the blocks until January.

I don't have a press of any kind. Figured I'd start with some sort of burin or hand pressure and see how that goes. I did the Ookpik prints on dry paper (not knowing any better) and they were quite blotchy (water-based ink.)

15th March 2018, 07:40 AM
Just came across this rather ancient thread.......Re making a press....some time ago I came across an article about using a car jack to make a press. There's quite a bit out there as you've probably already found. Here's one link: