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Washing blocks? 
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Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:05 pm
Posts: 33
Post Washing blocks?
I have asked this question on the baren forum, but have never received a definitive answer. Do you wash your blocks after printing, and if not, how do you deal with the remaining pigment if you want to change to a lighter color down the road?
Thanks in advance.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:02 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:30 pm
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Location: Tokyo, Japan
Post Re: Washing blocks?
These days, I don't usually wash them. My pigment mixes are generally pretty thin, so there isn't much buildup. But if your pigments are thick, then washing the blocks is probably a good idea - just hold them under running water at the sink, and use the normal printing brush to wash them. (Followed by the usual brush washing routine ...)

As for changing the colour, this can be difficult. If you are doing hundreds of impressions, like me, it's next to impossible to change the colour, as the pigments have really gone down deep into the wood.

It's usually easy during test printing, if you wash the wood quickly after each test, before trying another option. (And never put pigment onto dry wood, as it soaks in very deeply right away ...)

I heard that at the Yoshida studio, they would wash the blocks with 'Ligroine' - a kind of thinner - to remove one colour to use another, but I have no personal experience of that.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:03 pm
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Post Re: Washing blocks?
Thanks Dave for the info. That's a big help.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:04 pm
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:51 pm
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Location: UK
Post Re: Washing blocks?
I'm sorry to resurrect and old thread but I have a question on the same line.
After washing, my block has cupped a little on the printing side. I'd guess that this is unavoidable with the nature of the block I am using, but should I follow a particular drying routine? I currently have it wrapped in newsprint and hidden under a piece of mdf.


Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:29 pm
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Post Re: Washing blocks?
Most blocks can be successfully manipulated to remove a cup. You want to keep the arched surface dry, while moistening the 'bowl' surface. Common way is to use a hot wet towel on the cup (put it face down on a flat table), with a light weight on the top (the arch). Watch carefully, because it can change very quickly. Remove the weight and towel before it gets flat, because it will continue to move a bit after you remove it ...

Print print print, while watching the board condition. You may have to break from printing to put it back together with a wet towel for a while. Once you're done, the board will probably creep back to its cupped state, but by then, it doesn't matter so much ...


Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:08 am
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