Carborundum Printmaking is a collagraph platemaking process in which the image is created on the plate by painting carborundum (an abrasive grit) mixed with an acrylic medium. Once dried, the plate is inked, wiped and printed with an etching press in the same manner as other intaglio plates. Since the carborundum mixture is built up on the plate, the paper embosses when going through the press creating a rich velvety surface. The plates are strong and can be printed many times
Three Great Advantages to using Aluminum Oxide instead of Silicon Carbide
Carborundum is the trade name for Silicon Carbide (bluish black grit). Aluminum Oxide (brownish black grit) is recommended as an alternative.
- Silicon Carbide is harder but it will fracture and break down quicker than Aluminum Oxide.
- Aluminum Oxide is rounder in grain while Silicon Carbide is sharper in grain. When wiping the ink off the surface of the plate, the jagged grain of the Silicon Carbide may tear the Akua Wiping Fabric or tarlatan leaving behind small pieces of lint on the surface of the plate. Aluminum Oxide’s rounded grain offers a smoother wiping process and decreases the problem of shredded Akua Wiping Fabric or tarlatan.
- Aluminum Oxide is more economical. They are both available in the same grades ranging from fine powders to medium and coarse grits. Print results look the same.
This carborundum print by David Jay Reed, was produced with two plates. First a monotype plate was printed using Ultramarine Blue Akua Liquid Pigment. Then Carbon Black Akua Intaglio ink was applied to the Carborundum Plate and printed on top of the blue print. The thin quality of Akua Liquid Pigment offered a nice tint of color for the overprinting of the heavier application of Akua Intaglio ink.