Specialist Printmaking Technician Kath Van Uytrecht shares the contents of one of her toolboxes with us. Kath is a toolbox super fan and has at least three different toolboxes. One might say this is over the top, but Kath claims that collecting and using tools gives the same enjoyment and satisfaction as it does collecting stationery.
Kath’s printmaking toolbox is small standard Stanley Hardware Toolbox, and contains most of the tools she would need in the printmaking area. It has two small compartments on the lid and and a low tray that sits in the inside compartment.
Kath’s toolbox has two top compartments. The left compartment contains various erasers and a loupe. The erasers are for ‘print aftercare’- cleaning up dirty boarders and marks. Kath uses the loupe to see how deep an aquatint is etching. The right compartment contains two squeegees for inking up plates. Kath uses the cream squeegees for inking up plates with pale coloured or transparent ink so that the rubber of the squeegee doesn’t affect the colour.
Sponges and brushes Permanent marker pens and compass Flat ended palette knives.
The main compartment holds clean sponges and brushes for printing lithographs as well as for dampening paper when there isn’t a paper sink. Clean sponges can also be used for cleaning up borders and paper after they have dried. The compartment also contains different sized flat ended palette knives for mixing inks. There are a range of permanent markers for making registration sheets and a compass for drawing circles. Additionally, there is a roll of masking tape and some very fine steel wool for polishing metal plates.
The removable tray holds a range of etching tools including various needles, burnishers and roulettes. All Kath’s cutting tools are housed here as well as a steel ruler, a pencil and a chinagraph marker.
Kath’s toolbox has been built up over many, many years and contains many specialist and some expensive tools. As much as she enjoys these tools, she stresses that the most important tools are high quality basic ones. Because we use these tools often, they affect your work flow as well as your enjoyment of working. A sharp pencil, steel ruler, fine marker pen, sharp cutting knife or good quality masking tape are all basic tools that can make a big difference when working.
We asked Kath:
What is the one must-have basic essential (most used) tool in your toolbox?
A clean, sharp pair of scissors.
What is your favourite tool?
A paint scraper for cleaning up ink slabs after printing.
It hugely reduces the amount of chemicals needed to clean as well as the clean up time. It’s the best!
What is the weirdest/quirkiest/most specialist tool you have?
Agate burnisher for burnishing creases out of paper.