Extending the etching ground.

I prefer a solution of pure bees wax, drops of mastic varn ish and bitumen dissolved in a 60/40 solution of pure turpentine and ch- loroform. This solution dries quickly and leaves a dark thin elastic film quite sensitive to the etch ing point.  Smoking the plate is to be avoided, as it both heats the copper and covers defects in the ground. I have found that if you avoid heating the crude copper it is possible to print well over 500 copies so the limitation of the edition becomes ethical rather than practical.

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Etching the plate.

I use a dentist’s drill honed to a fine point.  There are many other fine steel points  available so it’s a question of choice or habit.

The plate can be many materials , crude copper, micro-zinc, brass, iron or steel. Each material reacts in a particular way to the acid so it should be chosen with the end result in mind.

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The first bite

Each material has a series of acids which function in a different way so again the acid should be chosen with the end result in mind. In this case I used ferric chloride in a weak solution so the etch was about an hour long. In all cases it’s better to do this outside or in a well ventilated cool place. I use a double basin to control the temperature of the acid so the bite is as controlled as possible

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