BLTC Press Titles

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Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller

The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

A treatise on etching

by Maxime Lalanne


2. Requisites. — The following tools and materials are the only ones which are absolutely necessary for a first experiment: —

1. A Copper Plate on which to execute your etching. Do not waste your money on a large plate. A visiting-card plate is sufficiently large. If you happen to have an engraved plate of that kind, you can use the back of it. If you have none, get one at a card-engraver's. The price ought not to be over fifteen cents. If you do not live in any of the large cities named above, or cannot find a card-engraver, send fifteen cents in stamps to Mr. Geo. B. Sharp, 45 Gold St., New York, N. Y., who will forward a plate to you by mail. Be very particular in giving your full and correct post-office address. These plates only need cleaning to fit them for use.

2. Benzine, used for cleaning the plate, sold by grocers or druggists at about five cents a pint for common quality.

3. Whiting or Spanish White, also for cleaning the plate. A very small quantity will do.

4. Clean Cotton Rags. — Some pieces of soft old shirting are just the thing.

5. Etching-ground, with which to protect the plate against the action of the acid. This ground is sold in balls about the size of a walnut. If you do not live in a city where you can buy the ground, you may as well make it yourself. Here is a recipe for a very cheap and at the same time very good ground. It is the ground used by Mr. Peter Moran, one of the most experienced of our American etchers. Buy at a drug-shop (not an apothecary's) or painter's supply-store: —

Two ounces best natural asphaltum (also called Egyptian asphaltum), worth about ten cents.

One and a half ounces best white virgin wax, worth about six cents. One ounce Burgundy pitch, worth say five cents.

Break the wax into small pieces, and reduce the Burgundy pitch to fine powder in a mortar, or have it powdered at the drug-shop. Take a clean earthenware pot glazed on the inside, with a handle to it (in Boston you can buy one for fifteen cents at G. A. Miller & Co.'s, 101 Shawmut Avenue), and in this pot melt your asphaltum over a slow fire, taking very good care not to let it boil over, or otherwise you might possibly set the house afire. When the asphaltum has melted add the wax gradually, stirring all the while with a clean glass or metal rod. Then add the Burgundy pitch in the same way. Keep stirring the fluid mass, and let it boil up two or three times, always taking care to prevent boiling over! Then pour the whole into a pan full of tepid water, and while it is still soft and pliant, form into balls of the required size, working all the while under the water. If you touch the mass while it is still too hot, you may possibly burn your fingers, but a true enthusiast does not care for such small things. You will thus get about eight or nine balls of very good ground at an outlay of about thirty-six cents in cash, and some little time. Nearly all recipes order the wax to be melted first, but as the asphaltum requires a greater heat to reduce it to a fluid condition, it is best to commence with the least tractable substance. For use, wrap a ball of the ground in a piece of fine and close silk (taffeta), and tie this together with a string.

6. Means Of Heating The Plate. — Any source of heat emitting no smoke will do, such as a kitchen stove, a spirit lamp, or a small quantity of alcohol poured on a plate and ignited (when the time arrives).

7. A Hand Vice with a wooden handle, for holding the plate while heating it; price about seventy-five cents at the hardwarestores. But a small monkey-wrench will do as well, and for this experiment you can even get along with a pair of pincers.

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