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home > faq's > 4 Minute Litho - step by step explanation in pictures


  Solvents remove old ink.
Prior to graining a stone ink from an old image is removed using solvents.
Water and caborundum grit are applied to the stone.
Coarse initially to remove old images and gradually finer.

The levigator in action.
A levigator is used to grain the stone.
Graining will take at least
1.5 hours +

testing the level with a straight edge.
Periodic checks are made to ensure that the surface of the stone is completely flat.

Filing the edges.
The edges of the stones are filed and polished smooth.
This protect equipment and prevents build up of ink.

  Final wash
Once the stone is finely grained and scratch free it is cleaned and dried and is ready for an artist to draw on, or covered for storage.
  Drawing on a stone
Artists draw on the stones with greasy pencils & liquids.
  Dusting with talc
Once images are complete and dry they are dusted with rosin and talc.
  Measuing the etch.
Gum arabic and a few drops of acid are then applied to 'etch' the image. The stone is left for at least one hour.
  Setting the press up.
In the mean time we can set up the press with the correct size of scraper bar, which is used to appliy the pressure through.
  Mixing the ink.
The roller can also be prepped and ink mixed...
...and rolled out.
The drawing materials are washed out using solvent.
  Buffing in asphaltum
A greasy printing base of asphaltum is buffed in. This will aid the greasy ink stick to the stone where the image is.
  Sponging the stone.
The gum is removed from the stone with water and sponged evenly damp.
  rolling up
The water on the non-image parts of the stone repel the greasy ink.
  applying a second etch
Once sufficiently rolled in ink the stone is dried and rosin & talc are dusted on again and a second (often stronger) etch is applied to help stabalise the image.
The stone is left again for at least an hour. This gives us time to tear down some paper ready for printing.
  adding t & bar to back of paper
Registration marks are added to the reverse of the paper, these correspond to marks that have been scratched into the stone.
  more rolling
The image is washed out with solvent again, more asphaltum, gum removed with water and rolled up. A few newsprints will be printed prior to printing on good papers.
  registering the paper
The paper is registered on the stone and run through the press.
  pulling the impression
The impression is pulled from the stone. .

the print
The stone will then be re-dampened and re-inked for each impression of the edition.

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Hole Editions 2016

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