Setting up the Etching Press

Well its about time I bit the bullet. The Rollaco Gem etching press arrived a couple of weekends ago. I ordered a load of inks and bits n pieces from IntaglioPrintmakers and that arrived last week.


I’m mostly interested in Photopolymer and Drypoint printing but also combining that with an “undercoating” of historical photographic processes like cyanotype and Van Dyke Brown.

Steph is interested in woodcut and wood engraving, so we can both get use out of the press.

This is a brand new press and needed some setting up before it was good to go. The rollers needed cleaning with white spirit and the correct pressures need setting for each plate type.

We started with a previously made photopolymer plate which was made for my Lux Darkroom workshop that seems like an age ago.


Bone Black ink.


Lets just say we were a little too tentative at the beginning, probably worried we’d break something!! This press is built like a tank I think we’d break before it did.

Its also been a long while since I’d wiped an inked plate. So there was a combination of not enough roller pressure and maybe overinking/overwiping on our part!

You can see some of the details achievable with this process even with a poorly pulled print.


And tea always helps.


Getting there…


This was after I remembered that Keith Taylor had offered some advice on FB, to leave out the middle blanket and just use the Sizing catcher and the “pusher”. This helped greatly. Thank you.

It’s a good start. We think?

Just trying to get the courage to start some Drypoint plates…