We are now an official Hahnemühle paper dealer. We will primarily stock Hahnemühle Platinum Rag and a small selection of the printmaking papers that cannot be sourced from larger online retailers such as Dick Blick and Talas. Because we are a small online-only retailer, our philosophy has been to sell only a small line of curated products that are difficult to find other places or require prohibitively large order quantities.
We are now hosting workshops!
Now that we have a physical location, we are hosting workshops in alternative photographic printing techniques, printmaking and book arts. Currently scheduled workshops are located here.
New polymer plate materials now in stock:
Torelief WS73 HX4 and Toyobo AM83 JTS
For over two years, we have been dealing with the fallout from Kodak’s decision to close their Osaka photopolymer manufacturing plant. Jet Corporation contracted with this Kodak plant to manufacture their proprietary formula polymer plates. When Kodak closed their plant, Jet made one last huge run of material.
Jet has been in the process of finding another contract manufacturer to make their plates ever since then. They have been having difficulty sourcing some of the constituent materials for the plates due to Covid-related supply chain and geopolitical issues. The net result of these factors is that we still do not have any idea when Jet plates will be available again.
We bought a large supply of the Jet plate material before the factory closed and still have plenty of LSL43SM material on hand. This product has been working very well for our users, but we realize that we must accept the possibility that Jet will not be able to resume manufacturing and selling their plates.
Over a year ago, we began a process of trying to find a comparable steel-backed polymer material that had the same desirable characteristics as the Jet plates, namely easy plate washout in water, lack of mottling defects in the slip coat and no weird chemical odor, which were all maddening problems in some other plates being sold. We investigated three other manufacturer’s offerings. One of them turned out to have consistency issues for use in intaglio printing. Thankfully, the other two plate materials turned out to be similar to the original LSL73SP plate we started selling 4 years ago.
Toray Torelief WS73HX4
Toray Torelief WS73HX4 is a plate material we are now selling in addition to the Jet plate material. It has the same 0.73mm thickness as our original LSL73SP plate material. It washes out in water without any weird chemical smell, and is easily dried without frantically avoiding water drops continuing to etch the plate. And we have seen no evidence of slip coat mottling on these plates.
The Torelief WS73HS4 material has a hardness of 65 Shore-D which is slightly less than our Jet LSL73 plates. We have seen no printing performance impact of this difference. For direct-to-plate techniques, we are using almost the same exposure time as we used for the Jet LSL73 material. The only downside is that it is slightly more expensive.
Toyobo AM83 JTS
It may seem strange that we are selling Toyobo material because the genesis of Mountain Intaglio was our frustration in dealing with inconsistent quality and results from the Toyobo KM73 material that was the most commonly used polymer photogravure plate material for some time.
Thanks to the efforts of Sherry Hudson, one of our Canadian customers, we determined that a cause of many of the issues was a slip coat material that is on top of the polymer that allows the protective plastic to release easily. Unfortunately, this layer is sensitive to environmental variables that can eventually cause mottling in the finished plate. Toyobo make a plate with the same polymer material that does not contain this slip coat and our tests show that we can get good results with this material. It also does not have the same weird chemical smell that is noticeable with the the KM73 material.
The material we stock is slightly thicker than the KM73 plates and is 0.83mm thick. The absence of the slipcoat means that removing the plastic protective covering will require a little more effort than other materials, but it will come off with a little patience!
The polymer intaglio workflow
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