Preparing the plate

PreparingThePlate11Having done quite a lot of reading I have now purchased everything I need to make a start (hopefully !!). I bought everything from one place – Intaglio Printmaker. I already had some offcut pieces of aluminium so I’ve chosen to use Copper sulphate as the etching method. I also bought a magnesium carbonate block and some whiting powder for degreasing the plates; Lascaux plate backing resist and acrylic hard ground; and Akua lamp black water based etching ink. The other items needed are table salt (bought from Tesco !!); some old plastic photographic trays which I was given some time ago; and a file for filing the edges of the plates.
So, phase one is PREPARING THE PLATE.
The aluminium pieces are old offcuts which have been knocking around for a while so are a bit scratched and battered. Personally I don’t mind this – in fact I like to have a bit of ‘history’ showing on my substrate – so I’m not going to bother trying to wet and dry them smooth for this first test run. Firstly I filed all the edges, including on the back of the plate. This is my least favourite part as I hate the sound of metal on metal !! But it has to be done otherwise the plates can cut through the etching blankets. Having done that I got a tray of water, submerged the plate, then took it out and put some whiting powder onto it. Then rubbed it with the magnesium block in circular movements all over. This is to degrease the plate so I then had to rinse the powder off without touching the face of the plate. I left the plates standing up to dry.PreparingThePlata12