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  1. #1

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    Mounting paper on solid backing for gum printing

    Hi all, me again ...

    The thing is, even with two pass pre-shrinking of the paper in hot water, I only get perfect negative registration only for the first two, maybe three layers of gum. Then, the paper slightly shrinks anyway, enough to be noticeable at least on one of the corners ...

    I've read a great description of the gum printing workflow Keith Taylor uses here :

    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/3CG2/3cg2.html

    Here's how Keith uses the solid backing :

    "Traditional methods used for producing three color gum prints begin with pre-shrinking a sheet of watercolor paper so that multiple washings will not change the paper’s size and throw the subsequent layers out of registration. The paper is dried and re-sized to keep the emulsion on top of the substrate, rather than sinking into the weave. Taylor, being a maverick, diverged from this accepted method and pursued instead a technique advocated by printing maven, Dick Sullivan. It required mounting the paper on a solid backing for the entire printing process – thus avoiding shrinkage and re-sizing. Sullivan had successfully practiced this concept with his own gum prints over four decades ago. He based it on a technique that he believes may have been first practiced by Pictorialist, Heinrich Kuhn. Following Sullivan’s lead, Keith had thin sheets of Aluminum cut and pierced to hold his paper and seat registration pins. The pins gave him a classic way of keeping all his negatives in perfect registration. He mounts his watercolor paper on its backing using a hot press and a single layer of Fusion 4000 tissue as its binder."


    I am wondering if there would be any other less expensive and easier method to mount the paper on some solid backing for the whole operation. The average beginner printer may not have a hot press and the money to glue every piece of paper using the special tissue, especially as many of the prints go to the trash bin at the beginning ...

  2. #2

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    Well, I don't know what to tell you about the hot press. Or the tissue. I suppose you could spring for the tissue and put something on it heavy enough to keep the tissue and the paper together, and then use an oven. I'm not sure that will work, and I hesitate to recommend it. So good luck with that.

    As to mounting on hard substrate, I use plexiglass in stead of aluminum. It seemed more readily available at my local hardware store. And I can cut it myself. now have no issues with shrinking or registration (unless I'm very careless).
    Thanks you Keith Taylor!

    Steve
    www.scdowellphoto.com

  3. #3

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    plexiglass seems fine. could you tell me a bit more about the way you mount the paper on it and keep it glued even through the several development baths ? Thanks !

  4. #4

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    Keith Taylor uses Fusion 4000. I use I use Dry-Lam ColorTac, from B&H Photo Video. These products allow removal by re-heating. A lot of the different types of tissue are permanent. You don't want that, unless you want your print to be permanently attached to plexiglass!
    A heat press is needed though. I suppose you could use a clothes iron as well.
    Good luck,
    Steve
    www.scdowellphoto.com

  5. #5

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    Ok thanks for the tip ! looks like this kind of tissue is the best way to go then ... does it peel off the paper back or just off the plexiglass?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xandros View Post
    Ok thanks for the tip ! looks like this kind of tissue is the best way to go then ... does it peel off the paper back or just off the plexiglass?
    You aren't going to get much advantage from using the plexi unless you can punch register that. IOW, you can print tri-color gum without fixing the paper to aluminum or other material, though a punch registered print will much sharper, especially in larger sizes. But if you are just starting out I would make small prints without the complication of dry mounting the paper.
    Don Bryant

  7. #7
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdivot View Post
    Keith Taylor uses Fusion 4000. I use I use Dry-Lam ColorTac, from B&H Photo Video. These products allow removal by re-heating. A lot of the different types of tissue are permanent. You don't want that, unless you want your print to be permanently attached to plexiglass!
    A heat press is needed though. I suppose you could use a clothes iron as well.
    Good luck,
    Steve
    www.scdowellphoto.com
    Steve,

    Thanks a lot for the tip about the Dry-Lam Color Tac and the plexiglass. What thickness of plexi are you using? I have a 4x8 foot sheet of very thin plexi that I think would work very well. Great tip!
    Don Bryant

  8. #8

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    Hi donbga !

    I'm printing A4 prints maximum and even though I pre-shrink the paper twice and use pins to register the negative, the thing is that after 2/3 layers, the paper gets about 1mm less in diagonal than the negative, so I am not able to punch my pin in the hole any more I've tried different watercolor 300g/m papers and all of them seem to have this issue. I'm not into tri-color really, but multi-layer monochrome gum with deep blacks so I can't really stop after 2/3 layers most of the time ... Maybe doing something wrong though.

  9. #9
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xandros View Post
    Hi donbga !

    I'm printing A4 prints maximum and even though I pre-shrink the paper twice and use pins to register the negative, the thing is that after 2/3 layers, the paper gets about 1mm less in diagonal than the negative, so I am not able to punch my pin in the hole any more I've tried different watercolor 300g/m papers and all of them seem to have this issue. I'm not into tri-color really, but multi-layer monochrome gum with deep blacks so I can't really stop after 2/3 layers most of the time ... Maybe doing something wrong though.
    What kind of paper are you using, and how are you pre-shrinking it?

    You can humidfy the paper by making the back of the print slight damp. See if this will expand the paper fiber. I've never had that much shrinkage after pre-shrinking paper, but I suppose anything is possible. BTW, I never punch holes in the paper and negative I simply register on the light box and tape the negative in palce on the paper.
    Don Bryant

  10. #10

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    I tried fabriano artistico, somerset, hahnemuhle, BFK Rives and finally set to Lanaquarelle cold press (all of them are 300g/m)
    I pre-shrink by putting sheets into hot water (about 40-50°C) for one hour (the water cools down to about 30°C by then), hang to dry, repeat.
    Then size using gelatin + hardener (2 layers with drying in-between, with single layer sizing the whites are not perfectly clear after a few layers of gum. maybe I should size once, print 2 layers of gum, then re-size ?).
    I don't have a light box, so punching works for now

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