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1970Re: Dampening paper

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  • jsf73
    Sep 30, 2003
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      Hi Suzie,

      Japanese style woodblock printers always print on damp paper but use
      water based pigments. The preferred method of dampening paper so that
      it isnt too wet to print for a while is to dampen alternating sheets
      of paper with a wide brush. The dampened paper is placed between
      blotter paper and stored in a plastic bag or tupperware container.

      By alternating one wet sheet and one dry sheet and leaving sit for
      about half an hour the moisture level in the paper balances out and
      the dry paper absorbs the excess water that was brushed onto the
      sheets that got brushed.

      Another method is to soak the paper in water a sheet at a time then
      place between blotter paper. This method requires a long wait time
      between wetting and printing, such as over night or the paper will be
      too wet.

      The sole reason to dampen paper is to make it softer. This is what
      makes it print better.

      A word about Arches 88, it is a screen printing paper with a very
      smooth surface meant for screen printing. It is also what is called a
      waterleaf paper, and has no internal sizing. It is not supposed to be
      dampened. Arches 88 can be ruined by being improperly wetted. If you
      do wet it and print multiple impressions you can have more
      registation problems due to shrinkage and expansion issues due to
      lack of internal sizing. No internal sizing means the paper is free
      to expand and contract with every little change in dampness level
      moreso that with sized paper.

      A word of caution about printing on dampened paper. If you have a
      long run or get interrupted frequently and dont manage to print your
      edition in a couple days then you need to preserve your paper, let it
      dry out, or finish your print edition.

      Paper and sizing that is damp is an excellent host for mold growth.
      Once it starts you are lost, and your printed work will show telltle
      foxing marks that only get bigger if conditions permit. If your shop
      conditions are moist and warm (such as in the southeastern US)mold
      can growth can start in a couple days.

      Chemical preservatives are usually poisonous and bad for paper. They
      are surely not archival.

      If you must interrupt printing an edition for what ever reason, take
      your paper and place it in the freezer. When you want to return to
      printing take your paper out of the freezer and leave it sit for an
      hour. It will be fine and mold will not be an issue.

      I doubt anyone here is printing with 12 impressions with large
      editions sizes that require a weeks worth of printing normally but
      just in case someone has to leave a job temporarily that is the best
      way to keep your paper without mold becoming a problem.

      I have one question myself, is there anyone on this list from the
      Toronto area that makes polymer plates for letterpress printing by
      hand wash out method? I would like to see what quality work you are
      able to acheive with hand washout, since there is no way on gods
      green earth I can ever afford a platemaker as printing is only an
      avocation for me....

      --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, Suzie McKig <suzie@s...> wrote:
      > I just read your post, Gerald, about Arches 88 and it triggered my
      > curiosity about dampening methods. I will soon be working with some
      > paper that will require dampening and I'd love to know more from
      > with experience which way(s) is(are) favored by all of you to
      > such paper. :o) Please accept my thanks in advance...
      > Suzie
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