Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ink Diary, 22 September

Ink 001
Mixed 21 September 2010
First test 22 September 2010

Total of 1/2 cup of ink made with 1 rounded tablespoon of lamp black and 450 dPas linseed stand oil. So far, Hebert's Encyclopædia is the only mention I've found of the proportion of pigment to oil. his recipe calls for one part pigment to seven parts oil by weight. I mistakenly mixed 1:7 by volume which will result in a highly diluted pigmentation.

Made one draw down at 9:30 am on 21 September. Within 24 hours the ink was dry to the touch with the exception of a few thicker swells.

Before printing:
Many of the 19th century articles on ink manufacture mention the practice of adding prussian blue pigment to black ink to compensate for poor quality black pigment. This practice continues today. Nearly every commercial black ink I have used has a high blue content, making a true matte black impossible to achieve. What I am striving for with my ink is to make a black that reflects as little light as possible, turning each letter into a miniscule black hole around which the white paper shimmers. My first draw down of Ink 001 is a promising step toward my goal. The ink has a lovely matte finish and no noticeable trace of blue.

Working characteristics:
As I had suspected the ink is too fluid—it even splatters a bit when worked with a brayer. I hate to think what would happen if I put it on my press. The consistency and tack is closer to an intaglio than a relief ink. The linseed oil simply isn't thick enough. On Brian Donnell's website I found my first specific numbers for boiling linseed oil. According to Donnell, the linseed oil needs to be brought to 720-750°F before it makes an acceptable ink. That is a considerably higher temperature than stand oil is boiled to. There is no point in continuing until I boil some oil upstate.