Today's postings

  1. [Baren 34776] RE: Some very minor questions ("Maria Arango")
  2. [Baren 34777] soaking paper... (brad robinson)
  3. [Baren 34778] Re: Some very minor questions (Shireen Holman)
  4. [Baren 34779] Re: Baren Digest (old) V42 #4181 ("Marilynn Smith")
  5. [Baren 34780] printing damp ("Jean Womack")
  6. [Baren 34781] Exchange #36 sign-up is open (belatedly) ("Mike Lyon")
  7. [Baren 34782] Re: Some very minor questions (Sharri LaPierre)
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Message 11
From: "Maria Arango"
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 08:57:34 -0800
Subject: [Baren 34776] RE: Some very minor questions
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Dampening paper nearly always creates a better print, even woodcuts or wood
engravings, UNLESS the paper is already very smooth as in true engraving
papers like Zerkall.

My own method is to spray every other sheet for heavy papers and every third
or fourth sheet for lighter papers. Then I stack in a plastic bag and place
a board over the stack and go have coffee or something. After (at least) an
hour, better overnight, the moisture has "crawled" evenly and the paper will
be perfectly soft to the touch but not visibly "damp". Sheets should feel
cool and soft when brought to your cheek. For multiple color printing, the
sheets are returned to the plastic bag although I have dried and redampened
with very little variation in the stretching as long as the procedure is the
same each time.

On your other point, I mentioned that I wet the wood prior to cutting once
when I was a rookie and about got the printmaking police at my door
threatening to shut me down if I kept that up (just kidding, I'm
exaggerating greatly). But at that time my experiment didnt' exactly have a
great positive response. It is A LOT easier to cut dampened wood, either
with water or oil. The problem is once the wood dries the details will
change depending on how the wood fibers shrink back to their dry state. I
would not dampen wood with water if I was cutting a multiple color block.
For my own way of working, very loose and spontaneous, damp blocks allow me
to almost draw with the chisel without resistance.

Later I evolved to the linseed oil method. I draw with sumi ink on the
block, then liberally coat with linseed oil or mineral oil if I'm "in the
field". Only one coat or the linseed oil will harden and make it harder, not
easier. Cuts like butter.
The easiest blocks to cut are blocks that have been already printed from and
sat for a while. Going back into that "used" wood is an amazing experience
and I use cherry excusively.


Maria Arango
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Message 12
From: brad robinson
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 09:04:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [Baren 34777] soaking paper...
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i print with oil based inks on rives paper and i always soak my paper for at least ten minutes in a tray of water. when i pull it out i let it drip for 30 seconds or so and then place it between two cloth towels and use a rolling pin to take out excess water. i was taught to do this as the water opens the pores in the paper which then permit it to more readily soak up the ink. it has always worked well for me.

happy printing!

best, brad

Brad Robinson
Film & Event Production
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Message 13
From: Shireen Holman
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 12:05:27 -0500
Subject: [Baren 34778] Re: Some very minor questions
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Hi Harry,

Whether or not and how much you need to dampen paper to get a good
print depends on the amount of sizing in the paper. Some papers are
good dampened over night, some just need misting, and some print very
well dry. Usually when you buy paper you can find out whether it has
been sized. If it hasn't, it will fall apart if dampened too much.

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Message 14
From: "Marilynn Smith"
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 09:06:03 -0800
Subject: [Baren 34779] Re: Baren Digest (old) V42 #4181
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I know 2 posts/one day. I just can't help saying this one thing. I got a
new Japanese hanga knife. It is a 4.5mm Hanga to and I love it. I have
been using the power grip set ever since I started with woodblock. I
finally decided to treat myself to one good hanga knife. Now I want the
6mm. I have a large Japanese clearing tool and a few small knives, but this
is really a treat because the hanga knife is such a basic for carving. I
have heard it said, "buy the good steel" and believe me they are right. It
seems sharper at the start and it holds that sharp edge a lot longer. I
love the smaller size because I often work small due to limited space (might
try bigger when that studio gets done). Soo to those of you who have not
put out the 30 or so dollars to own one good knife, go for it and buy that
hanga knife. I won't be buying a set, but I will be adding to my knives
with the professional quality Japanese knives, it will give the husband
something to buy me for the next few birthday and Christmas gifts. Power
grip is a nice little set to start out with, but as you get into this
carving stuff and realize that you are definitely hooked, get professional
Japanese knives!~!!
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Message 1
From: "Jean Womack"
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 09:30:19 -0800
Subject: [Baren 34780] printing damp
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One important aspect of printing damp is that you have to remember that the
paper gets larger when it is dampened. This can throw your registration off
if you forget to dampen it sufficiently each time you print a new block. Then
when it dries, it gets smaller again.

I have wondered if, when I print a flat with oily ink on damp paper, and it dries:
then when I re-dampen it, is it going to go back out to fully dampened size?
I haven't taken the trouble to measure it, but I will next time, if there is a next time for
this edition.

Consider that if you are printing something that has to be a certain
size, like a Baren exchange print, that if you print it damp, it will
shrink to the required size when it dries. But you also have to consider
where the margins are going to be when it is damp and where they
are going to wind up when dry. Of course, you could print it oversized
and then just cut it to size when it's dry. OR you could ignore the whole
think and the heck with it, who cares if it is centered or not.

Jean Womack
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Message 2
From: "Mike Lyon"
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 11:52:25 -0600
Subject: [Baren 34781] Exchange #36 sign-up is open (belatedly)
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OK, OK, so I'm 'just a little bit tardy' getting Exchange #36 sign-up off
the ground - all five of my kids came home for the holidays and we were
travelling from Dec 26 through Dec 31, and again from Jan 3 through the wee
hours of this morning and. Well, I just ZONED and totally forgot to get
Exchange #36 opened for sign-up. SO SORRY, everybody, and thanks for the
several of you who emailed me!

OK, OK, again: Sign up for Baren Exchange #36 is officially OPEN at

* Medium: woodblock print
* Theme: none
* Paper: Other - SQUARE 10 x 10 inches (25.5 x 25.5 cm) .
* Registration period: One month starting January 1 , 2008
* Deadline for finished prints: May 1st, 2006



Mike Lyon
Kansas City, MO
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Message 3
From: Sharri LaPierre
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 09:55:19 -0800
Subject: [Baren 34782] Re: Some very minor questions
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It is perfectly legitimate to soak paper in a tray - that is the way
schools dampen paper for etching or relief. The paper is then taken
out of the tray, let it drip, blot between terry towels until it is
as dry as you can get it, and print. Western rag papers such as BFK,
Somerset, etc. can be soaked for days, though that is not
recommended - 30 minutes is adequate, but waterleaf papers should
only be misted, when you purchase papers be sure to note what type of
paper it is. Japanese papers should be dampened as described by
Marilynn. Students will leave their paper soaking in the trays until
it turns to slime. That usually takes a week or more :-) Even when
soaking paper I usually take it out of he tray, blot and put into a
plastic bag. It is just more convenient for editioning.

McClain's, and maybe the Baren Mall & Graphic Chemical, sell a little
leather pad about 6" square which can be used to maintain the
sharpness of knives. Much handier than a strap, I'm thinking, and
very reasonably priced. If you rub some of that green stuff on the
pad and then whip your knife back and forth across it you can go a
long time without having to resort to the stones.

Cheers ~