Has anyone ever tried a book press?
Has anyone ever tried a book press?
So far I've had moderate succees with hanging the print to dry, then using my "poor man's press." Essentially it's an old FB print dryer but I sandwich the dried print between two ferrotype plates (to avoid contamination) and stretch the canvas over the whole shebang. 15min at 200degF gets it mostly flat, a slight curl but that's about it. It'll work until I can get a real dry mount press someday.
I use ferrotype plates, but probably not the way they are intended to be used because I don't want the ferrotype gloss on my FB prints. What I do is, after letting drip off most of the water I place the prints on towels face up and let them air dry overnight. Next morning they go within the pages of a big and heavy book and I put more books on top for more pressure. This removes most of the curl within a day or so. Then, I place the *dry* print on the ferrotype plate, face down, and sandwich it with the cloth that you stretch over the whole thing. After heating the device up for around 7-10 minutes I remove the hot print -which will have a pronounced inward curl at this stage due to the heat- and quickly place it within the pages of the big book and I again put more books on top for further pressure. After a day or so, the prints come out perfectly, beautifully flat and they stay flat. I was very happy when I found that this method works because I hate curly prints.
If I had a dry mount press I would use that, but they are almost impossible to find in our neck of the woods. The ferrotyping heater was the only thing I could find and I experimented with it. "Not macht erfinderisch" :)
My only problem now is that I can only flatten prints up to 24x30cm size. Never mind...larger prints tend to stay flatter anyway.
Ooze, I recommend you to try the method that Domin and I have described. You'll be surprised how much easier it is and the result is perfect. The only problem may be getting the right tape, it must hold on the wet paper (or rather dry with the paper and hold) and glass as well. The good old brown paper tape with a glue layer is what you need, but it may not be available at all stationery shops.
And print size doesn't matter provided you have a suitable sheet of glass (strictly speaking, glass is not absolutely necessary, it may be anything flat, rigid and with a smooth surface, like laminated plywood, etc.)
I get the tape from art supply store. I was said watercolor painters use it to keep paper flat.
I use blotter rolls, but I don't think you can buy them any more. This is two sheets of blotter paper between sheets of soft corragated cardboard. You place the prints between the blotter paper and roll the whole thing up with the prints rolled emulsion side out. I still have three of these.
I also use blotter books which are hard to find. See the attached photo.
Another alternative is to use print flattening solution. A formula is listed in the "Darkroom Cookbook"which is simply 2 oz.of glycerin and water to make 32 oz. or see the second attachment. This is from B&H
These are things we used 50 years ago to flatten prints when there wasn't RC paper. Hard or impossible to find today!
I see the photo of the blotter book didn't work. B&H has these also.
I press my prints in a dry mount press, then let them cool off while weighed down with some matboard and books. That is good enough for loose storage. Then, when I want to display, I dry mount them. It does not get any more flat than that!
After years of trying various methods I'm currently having great success with the technique described above where the wet, squeegeed print is lain face up on a large piece of glass (I use a picture frame bought for peanuts from a charity shop- the frame helps keep the glass rigid and makes it easy to handle) and tape it all around with moistened brown gumstrip bought from the art shop, which I also use for the stretching of water colour painting paper. The next day the print is flat, sometimes with a wave, depending on the type of paper, and has a lovely lustrous finish. The brown gumstrip border that remains on the print after knifing it away from the glass I usually leave on, as it makes handling the print easier and makes it less prone to fingermarks etc.
Its become my favourite drying technique for FB.