« Mystique Series - More fun and games! | Main | Progress and updates ... »

Mystique Series - printing begins ...

Posted by Dave Bull at 8:05 AM, April 9, 2010

Mixed in with all the case adjustments, I've been proofing the blocks for the first pair of prints, and I think I'm ready to start printing.

I don't remember if I wrote about the paper earlier, but for the first four prints (2 sets) I am using paper that I have in stock here. That will run out in July, so I've ordered a fat batch from Iwano-san to arrive sometime that month.

The paper of course has to be cut to the proper size before printing, but that's actually not so easy. The problem comes from the wooden frame that Iwano-san uses to form the sheets. These are very expensive to have made, so he tends to use them longer than would perhaps be best. As a result, they are a bit old and rickety, and don't hold a perfectly rectangular shape. Each sheet of paper comes out a bit different from the others. This would seem to be irrelevant, as I trim the edges anyway, but because this type of paper has clearly visible internal 'lines', I have to make sure my trimming is parallel to those, or the finished prints will all seem 'crooked'.

Not sure if it will really be visible in this photo, but see how the top edge of this sheet is not parallel to the lines:

I have to put each sheet - one by one - against a light source, and trim one edge properly parallel:

Only then can I continue with cutting them up to the proper dimension for printing (this is still larger than the finished prints; they will be cut to the final trim size after printing).

The next step is to carefully inspect each sheet, looking for problems with the surface, like this:

This is a little scrap of loose fibre that has to be removed before printing begins. This one came off easily, but others don't, and those sheets get rejected:

Trim one corner perfectly square for the kento:

Toss these?

No way! Up above my library shelves is a kind of closet space:

And all the washi offcuts go in here, building up over the years until there is enough to make it worthwhile recycling them.

While we're up here, take a peek at the internal construction of the house, visible because the closet has no ceiling. Look at how the insulation fits so perfectly between the framing ... And that stuff is 5cm thick thin ... I don't know why they even bothered. (The white 'Tyvek' you see is of course 'outside', under the siding.)

One more important step before taking the paper down to the workshop is strengthening the registration points with clear nail polish. These sheets are a bit long and narrow, and the 'distant' corner is quite a long way from the registration corner. I want perfect control, and keeping the corner of the paper stiff really helps a lot. Instead of watching the paper go into the registration mark while printing, I can feel and hear it lock into place.

In that photo you can see two red marks on the newspaper - they show me where to apply the nail polish. The sheets then have to be arranged carefully so that the wet polish doesn't touch any of the other sheets before it dries (in just a minute or so). One tiny dab of polish on the wrong place, and that point won't take colour properly ...

Then, downstairs we go, and the sheets get moistened:

I'm laying them up two at a time for dampening, with newspaper interleaving between every 20 sheets or so. This is happening in the afternoon, and later this evening I'll come down here again and restack them in an offset layout, so that the moisture can creep through the entire pile evenly.

Tomorrow printing begins. I'm going to be a bit late getting down here, because this weekend is our local festival, and it will be all hands on deck at 7:30 to pull the festival carts out of the garage and get them 'dressed'. I'm then supposed to get onto the ropes and help pull them around town this way and that right through until Sunday night, but I'm going to be a bad boy and duck out as soon as I get a chance ...


Following comment posted by: Lana on April 10, 2010 7:56 AM

I end up using the little scraps of washi as framing corners when I frame things. They come in quite handy!
Your local festival sounds like loads of fun. Pictures maybe?? :-)

Following comment posted by: Dave on April 10, 2010 8:01 AM

Pics of the festival (from a previous year) are here.

Add Your Input

Remember Me? (with a cookie ...)

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Back to the Main Page