So I get the press in fine shape and got it bolted down to the workbench where it will live. Anxious to get going, I break out the ink and commence wiping the plate made under Clay Harmon’s watchful eye. I figure this is the best place to start considering I had several successful prints pulled from that very plate and it would be a good starting point to compare my solo process to that with Clay’s help.
The ink is mixed and spread on the plate. The tarletan is then used as I was shown to wipe the plate and finally using the soft part of the palm of my hand for the finishing touches. With great anticipation I get the plate on the press and cover it with a sheet of Rives BFK paper. The blankets are then layer over and the cranking begins. All has gone as planned and as shown… and I get this:
Yuck… As you can see, a mottled and blotchy mess. Proof that even with the best teacher, the first solo flight can easily crash.
Back to the drawing board. Possible issues are pressure in the press which was increased to better results, but not too much better. The other culprit is the moisture and preparation of the paper. I basically soaked a pile of paper for a half hour and had at it. Later, upon reading some advice from Jon Lybrook, I did a “Wet Pack” and left it overnight. Basically soaking several sheets of paper in water, draining them and then placing them in a sealed, plastic bag overnight. With any luck, properly prepping the paper will help.