RE: [PPLetterpress] Re: damping paperGOOD!!
I very much appreciated your discussion of dampening. Could you describe a
"dampening box" as the Allen bibliography is not something I have access to.
Also, are you saying that you slipsheet the final product with blotting
paper or just put blotting paper over and under the stack? My basement is
so dry anything will dry in a matter of hours and I doubt I need this
step -- I have never needed it when drying damp paper used for lino blocks.
Do you then need to press the sheets to get them flat or will they dry flat?
I have generally had to press.
Having just dampened some paper, I can give you my insight on the
process. I have been guided by Lewis and Dorothy Allen's method of dampening
(described in the Allen Press bibliography) as translated by Kim Merker.
First, you need to use distilled water so that there are no iron impurities
transferred to the paper. Second, I create a stack of dampened paper that I
wrap in a heavy thickness plastic trash bag. If I'm using Zerkall, I'll
start the stack by putting seven dry sheets on the plastic bag. Next, I'll
run eleven sheets (as one unit) through distilled water (I put the water in
a medium sized plastic pan, @ 12" X 20"), hold them up so the excess water
drains off, and then place them on top of the dry sheets. I put seven more
dry sheets on top of these, then do eleven more wet sheets, etc. Once the
stack is finished, I roll up the front and sides of the plastic bag, making
certain there is no weight on the sheets, tape the bag shut so no air gets
in, and leave it for twenty-four hours.
After twenty-four hours the sheets are uniformly damp and ready to
print. To test for proper dampness hold a sheet next to your cheek, and if
it feels cool, it's damp. When I am ready to print I transfer the sheets to
a smaller plastic bag that I place on the feeder board of my press
(Vandercook Universal I), and I take them out one at a time to print--this
is to assure their continued dampness. If I have more than one press run to
do, I have dampening boxes I put the sheets in, in order to keep them moist
between press runs. (For instructions on constructing a dampening box, see
the Allen Press bibliography.)
As I finish printing the sheets I place them between heavy, acid
free blotters to start the drying process. I bought my blotters from Legion
Paper Company in New York, but I suspect you can get them anywhere paper is
sold. The sheets stay in the blotters for about three days after which time
they are dry and ready for whatever application one has for them.
With the exception of Mohawk Letterpress Text, I dampen everything
before I print. However, a word of caution--handmade papers do not do well
when put directly into the tub of water. For dampening these, I put the
sheets in the dampening boxes overnight and they are moist enough to print.
Gabriel uses slip-sheeting (I think), but using a dampening box works just
as well. In a few minutes I'm going to the press to print some Zerkall, as
well as Umbria, both of which were prepared yesterday by using the methods
I hope this helps, and best of luck.
Regards, Mike Peich
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- --- In PPLetterpress@y..., Michael McGarvey <mcgarvem@l...> wrote:
> Dear Martin,Board dampers.
> I have been using Rummonds' method for dampening, but with Davey
> But they seem to leave an impression on the sheet, and somediscoloration as
> well. The discoloration could be due to my water which is wellwater and
If you had ever seen (or smelled) the Davey board factory, you might
think twice about using these boards in contact with wet paper.
In another life I taught a bindery class at Northern Illinois
University. As a part of that course we took several field trips, one
of which was to the Davey board plant in Aurora. It was always an eye
opener for the students (and for me). The raw material is office
waste which comes in baled. The whole operation is very smelly, but
interesting. The end product is very good for its intended purpose,
but one of those purposes is not as interleaving between sheets of
I'm sure everyone has their own little tricks in getting the results
they desire, but I always seek the methods which take the least
amount of time away from my hours at printing. I simply dip and dunk
a half-dozen sheets at a time in the vat, followed in the post with
about the same number of dry sheets, alternating wet and dry until I
get the requisite number. Leave in a plastic bag overnight & start
printing in the morning.