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A Quick Solution to Finish a Block

I was pleased at first with the woodblock "Evening Enchantment" but after looking at it for a day, I realized it needed one more color run, seems that's almost always the case. I wanted to print a gradation over the lower half of the trees. Unfortunately, the area I wanted to print had been carved out on the blocks I had been using for the print.

The choice was to carve a whole new block out of an uncarved piece of wood or try something new. I opted for the new idea which was to use a piece of 4 ply mat board as the printing surface. This is something I had done numerous times on a letterpress when using an oil based ink but had never tried it with the Japanese style of printing.

The first step was to glue a print proof face down onto a piece of 4 ply mat board, making sure the registration edge of the paper was adhered to the mat board as well. And, since I was trying something new, I stayed with the new ideas and glued the paper down with Golden Modeling Paste.

I was surprised how well it worked. I misted the paper slightly before placing it onto the mat board and gently pressed the paper smooth into the gel medium. After it completely dried, I rubbed the exposed layer of paper off of the backside of the print. The gel medium held the printed image of the paper while the back layer pealed away fairly easy. The paper is lightly moistened and then rubbed gently with a finger to roll or peal layers of paper away, exposing the image. The trick is to peal just enough away to expose the printed image without totally rubbing through the paper completely.


The print area was trimmed out with the cutouts being saved to align the print area to the registration tabs. The registration edge of the paper was trimmed away from the cutouts as well. The print area was then mounted to a scrap plexi sheet. Using the cutouts, I was able to register the print area to the edge of the print paper.


Using a plastic hotel key card, I cut a "corner" and a "straight" to use as the registration tabs or kento tabs. I aligned these to the registration edge of the print that was glued to the mat board and then taped them into place. I anticipated that I might have to adjust the positioning of the tabs but was pleasantly surprised that every thing lined up just right


I then shellacked the print area to make sure the matt board didn't delaminate during printing. And after this was dry, I primed the print area with a thin coat of rice paste, rubbing it in with a print brush. And I was finally reading to print. I needed to trim the mat board in a few areas before I had a clean print and was able to finish the edition.

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