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The paper is buckling 
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Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:05 pm
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Post The paper is buckling
I have a large print, 40 x 140 cm. And the paper is buckling in the non-printed areas, and I actually don't know how to prevent this. Do you have an idea? How can this happen?

Do you think it is the paste? I am using methylcellulose.


Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:17 pm
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Post Re: The paper is buckling
Quote:
... the paper is buckling in the non-printed areas, and I actually don't know how to prevent this.
Do you have an idea? How can this happen?

There are perhaps two reasons. One may be the paste. I have no experience with cellulose paste, but the common type of tube paste that many people use has a major defect - as the paper dries, areas printed with paste tend to shrink. If the print has many open unprinted areas, these don't shrink, and the paper becomes buckled, exactly as I see in your image ...

Another possible reason is that you have printed this long image against the grain of the paper (nothing to do with the wood grain). Take a small scrap of your paper (this is Yamaguchi paper?) and try tearing it one way, then the other way. You should find that there is a great difference. The direction in which it tears easily follows the 'grain' of the paper. This dimension must be the 'long' dimension in your print.

When the paper is moistened, it expands mostly side-to-side across the grain, and very little with the grain.

In your example prints, I think the grain is up-and-down, and you are going to have many problems  - registration will be very difficult, due to the side-to-side expansion of the paper, and as your baren moves back and forth against the grain, the paper will almost certainly become stretched.

It's not impossible to make a print this way, but it is going to be very difficult ...


Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:27 pm
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Post Re: The paper is buckling
Now I checked the paper. It is true, I use the paper as it is, and that is the long side against the grain.

I was very happy to find such a paper, in this size, done the traditional way, with a beautiful wood structure coming from the board drying. The paper is called "mura udaban": I bought it from the Japanese Paper Place in Toronto and was told that it was done by a former baseball player. Do you know him/that paper?

Does it mean, that a paper like this cannot used at its full length for woodblock printing?

In fact I had difficulties with the paper getting bigger, but found ways to partly solve them, f. e. by printing black repeatedly in small parts, coming from the outer areas to the inner. But this is not possible for light colours... But surely you are right, this is really not perfect.

What would you recommend me, if I want to work with this paper or in this size?

Regarding the buckling, I will start cooking rice paste.

Thank you very much for your help.


Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:31 pm
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Post Re: The paper is buckling
Quote:
The paper is called "mura udaban": I bought it from the Japanese Paper Place in Toronto and was told that it was done by a former baseball player. Do you know him/that paper?

I'm sorry but I've never heard of it ...  (but I don't really know anything about other types of paper, as I always just use the same one!)

Quote:
Does it mean, that a paper like this cannot used at its full length for woodblock printing?

Well, I can't say 'cannot', but there is no question that it is very difficult.

Quote:
What would you recommend me, if I want to work with this paper or in this size?

There are a number of things to try:

1) before you moisten the paper, make some small marks with a pencil at each end of the sheet, and measure the distance between them. Then, after the paper is wet, make a note of the new size. Keep checking this again and again during the course of the printing ... it will help you to decide more/less water to control things.

2) Avoid making strong side-to-side baren strokes, as this will definitely stretch the paper. Short strokes, circular patterns, etc. are the way to go.

3) When peeling the paper off the block, don't lift at one end and pull it up. This too, will stretch the paper. Tease it off the block bit by bit ...

4) Use the most stable paper you can find. I have no knowledge of the one you mention, but for example, torinoko expands much more than hosho. Do some experiments with measuring and moistening, and choose a paper that doesn't expand so much.

5) Think of the possible registration problems when planning the design, and avoid critical registration in the horizontal direction.

6) Rather than use a kento mark at one corner, use a registration 'notch' at the center of the sheet (or located to be close to an area of critical registration - as I did with my scroll print). This keeps the distance between the mark and the end of the paper to a minimum ...

7) As mentioned, use a high quality - and very smoothly cooked - paste. And not too much of it. This will minimize shrinking and buckling

8) Dry the paper after printing quite slowly and carefully. Don't let the edges dry out first, as this will almost certainly cause more buckling.

That's all I can think of at the moment!


Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:36 pm
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Post Re: The paper is buckling
Thank you very much for your help. This is so interesting and gives me new understandings.


Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:38 pm
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Post Re: The paper is buckling
I know that paper grain exists but I wonder about the physics of it. For hand made hosho the pulp is loaded into the screens and shaken in with certain seemingly random motion...is it the alignment of the pulp fibers that creates 'grain' or is it a function of the style of screen used or perhaps when sizing is applied does the direction of the application affects grain ?

Does machine made paper also has grain ?


Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:59 am
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Post Re: The paper is buckling
Julio Rodriguez wrote:
I know that paper grain exists but I wonder about the physics of it. For hand made hosho the pulp is loaded into the screens and shaken in with certain seemingly random motion...

Well, there is nothing 'random' about it of course. I have no experience making paper myself, but have watched the process for many hours on end while visiting papermakers.

The motion is - for the most part - front to back. They dip the screen, then slosh the slurry back and forth, with a great deal of the excess being tossed over the back end of the screen. The fibres clearly become 'aligned' in a front/back direction. Good hosho paper has such a strong grain in this direction that a twisted piece literally can't be torn apart. I was at a workshop once where the participants didn't believe this, and we actually tried it - two big guys having a 'tug-of-war' on a strip of paper about 3cm in width. They failed to pull it apart. But cut the strip against the grain, and a child can tear it.

Julio Rodriguez wrote:
Does machine made paper also have grain ?

Pretty much all paper seems to have a grain, even the stuff your newspaper is made from. I guess it comes from the way that the pulp is taken up on the rollers, or something ... It would be wise to always test this before cutting your sheets for printing; having the paper grain line up with the wood grain (and with your baren motion) will really help avoid registration problems ...


Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:19 am
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Post Re: Grain of paper - The paper is buckling
All machine made paper has a grain, because it is usually made on a long vibrating belt that aligns the paper fibres parallel to the length of the belt. Even 'mould made' paper has a grain. Western handmade paper usually doesn't have much of a grain because of the action used to make it, I think it is more of a swirl than the Japanese side to side motion. Books usually have the grain running head to tail, and I make the grain of my illustrations the same as the book, no matter what method of printing I use. I might have to reconsider that if I were to make a long landscape way book, and use dampened paper:-)


Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:16 pm
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Post Re: The paper is buckling
This list of 8 methods for dealing with paper stretching/shrinking is brilliant and very helpful. Thanks again.


Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:42 am
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