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Before printing the plates are bevelled by slightly tapering the upper edges of the plates –some 45º-- so that the former can pass smoothly between the cylinders of the printing press without causing any damage to the print paper or the press felt. These bevels leave an imprint –the plate mark-- on the paper which appears in no other technique and is therefore characteristic for engraving .

2- Paper

Of utmost importance in printing is the printing paper, which needs to possess characteristics that correspond to the ink load received and pressure endured on its surface when it is pulled through the printing press. Apart from the quality of the raw material it should boost the following features: resistance, which depends on the length, intertwining and natural elasticity of its fibres – either cotton, linen or hemp in western countries; porosity, which allows the ink applied to its surface to penetrate adequately; adaptability, as ink is absorbed under pressure from the incisions engraved upon the plate and should follow the lines they trace; and the amount of glue it contains, which makes it more elastic and stronger but less adaptable.
For printing the paper must be damper on the inside than the outside. In order to achieve this, it should be immersed in water, left to drain, dried on both sides by applying absorbent paper, and rubbed with a brush to open its pores. The final result depends foremost on the engraver’s experience, but also on the fibre, the glue contained, the working temperature and relative humidity etc..


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 Printmaking:  Engraving  ·  The original print  ·  Etching  ·  Printing  


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