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Making labels

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Printers ink was once made from boiling down onions and mixing the reduction with linseed oil.

A good resource for learning about historic printing methods is to visit "letpress" the letterpress

forum. For you folks who live/visit NYC check out the "Armory" there is an art  center that will rent out

a letter press by the  hour. I heard about this a few years ago. Hope it's still good info.

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Would I be correct in assuming that before laser/inkjet printers and DIY techniques of various kinds, labels would have been printed professionally (i.e. not by the instrument maker) using an intaglio rather than a relief method?

 

Andrew

 

Intaglio (copperplate, etc.), moveable type, including type ornament borders, and wood blocks.  

 

This one is a wood block, added to a printed label:

post-35343-0-34174800-1371074686_thumb.jpg

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Hi Addie, I like that. What kind of ink was used? Hardwood for stamp I'm assuming?

MountainLuthier, is there a recipe floating around for the linseed/varnish/lampblack ink?

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Hi Addie, I like that. What kind of ink was used? Hardwood for stamp I'm assuming?

 

Label: Antonio Stradivari, 1704, the “Betts.” Library of Congress.  NPR photo.   ;)

 

It is a wood block stamp, which is in the Museo Stradivariano.  I have a photo of the stamp, but I can’t find it.

 

It is possibly common lamp black, oil, and turpentine printer’s ink.

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Label: Antonio Stradivari, 1704, the “Betts.” Library of Congress.  NPR photo.   ;)

 

It is a wood block stamp, which is in the Museo Stradivariano.  I have a photo of the stamp, but I can’t find it.

 

It is possibly common lamp black, oil, and turpentine printer’s ink.

Ha!

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It is possibly common lamp black, oil, and turpentine printer’s ink.

 

In other words basically the same as black oil paint, which would make a good printing ink and last for hundreds of years.

 

Andrew

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Ink for the rolling-press is made of linseed-oil, burnt just as for common printing-ink, and is then mixed with Frankfort black, finely ground. There are no certain proportions, every workman adding oil or black to suit. Good ink depends most on the purity of the oil, and on its being thoroughly burned. Test it occasionally by cooling a drop on the inside of an oyster-shell; feel it between the thumb and finger, and if it draws out into threads, it is burnt enough. Weak oil well charged with black is called stiff ink. Oil fully burned and charged with as much black as it will take in, is termed strong ink. The character of the engraving to be printed determines which is suitable. It is cleaned out with spirits of turpentine.

_Another Method._ 

Instead of Frankfort, or other kinds of black commonly used, the following composition may be substituted, and will form a much deeper and more beautiful black than can be obtained by any other method. Take of the deepest Prussian blue, 5 parts, and of the deepest colored lake and brown pink, each 1 part. Grind them well with oil of turpentine, and afterwards with the strong and weak oils in the manner and proportion above directed. The colors need not be bright for this purpose, but they should be the deepest of the kind, and perfectly transparent in oil, as the whole effect depends on that quality. 

_PRINTERS' INK._ 

Ten or 12 galls. of nut or linseed-oil are set over the fire in a large iron pot, and brought to boil. It is then stirred with an iron ladle; and whilst boiling, the inflammable vapor arising from it either takes fire of itself or is kindled, and is suffered to burn in this way for about 1/2 hour; the pot being partially covered so as to regulate the body of the flame, and consequently the heat communicated to the oil. It is frequently stirred during this time that the whole may be heated equally; otherwise a part would be charred, and the rest left imperfect. The flame is then extinguished by entirely covering the pot. The oil, by this process, has much of its unctuous quality destroyed; and when cold is of the consistence of soft turpentine; it is then called varnish. After this, it is made into ink by mixture with the requisite quantity of lampblack, of which about 2 1/2 oz. are sufficient for 16 oz. of the prepared oil. The oil loses by the boiling about 1/8 of its weight, and emits very offensive fumes. Several other additions are made to the oil during the boiling, such as crusts of bread, onions, and sometimes turpentine. These are kept secret by the preparers. The intention of them is more effectually to destroy part of the unctuous quality of oil, to give it more body, to enable it to adhere better to the wetted paper, and to spread on the types neatly and uniformly. 

Besides these additions, others are made by the printers, of which the most important is a little fine indigo in powder, to improve the beauty of the color. 

_Another Method._ 

One pound of lampblack ground very fine or run through a lawn sieve; 2 oz. of Prussian blue ground very fine; 4 oz. of linseed oil, well boiled and skimmed; 4 oz. of spirit of turpentine, very clear; 4 oz. of soft varnish, or neat's-foot oil. To be well boiled and skimmed; and while boiling the top burned off by several times applying lighted paper. Let these be well mixed; then put the whole in a jug, place that in a pan, and boil them very carefully 1 hour. 

_A Fine Black Printing ink._ 

Less turpentine and oil, without Prussian blue, for common ink. 

_Best Printing-Ink._ 

In a secured iron pot (fire outside when possible), boil 12 galls. of nut or linseed-oil; stir with iron ladle, long handle; while boiling put an iron cover partly over; set the vapor on fire by lighted paper often applied; keep stirring well, and on the fire 1 hour at least (or till the oily particles are burnt); then add 1 lb. of onions cut in pieces, and a few crusts of bread, to get out the residue of oil; also varnish, 16 oz.; fine lampblack, 3 oz., ground indigo, 1/2 oz. Boil well 1 hour. 

_Good Common Printing Ink._ 

Take 16 oz. of varnish, 4 oz. of linseed-oil well boiled, 4 oz. of clear oil of turpentine, 16 oz. of fine lampblack, 2 oz. of Prussian blue, fine, 1 oz. of indigo, fine. Boil 1 hour. 

 

 

 

Or, you know, just click... printing ink lamp black oil turpentine   :P  :lol:

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Look, if you are not too fussy, just buy printing inks for lino block printing. A tube will last a lifetime. I have 'lamp black' and 'burt umber brown'. If I am making a Stad lable copy, I mix a little brown with the black for the actual label and then I use pure black for the extra small stamp, which was always a little darker. BUT I don't recomend the water based inks, they dry fast, but they can cause problems when you glue them in. Use oil based inks and alow a little time to dry.   

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Roger, thank you. what do you think of the lady blunt label?

The print seems very black and the rest (hand writing and seal) brown, on the tarisio pictures.

The hill books also says the opposite of what I see on these pictures.

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Roger, thank you. what do you think of the lady blunt label?

The print seems very black and the rest (hand writing and seal) brown, on the tarisio pictures.

The hill books also says the opposite of what I see on these pictures.

 

Sorry can't help you. I saw it yesterday at the Strad exhibition, but the label was not easily seen. The exhibition is an absolute must but take a torch.

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Sorry can't help you. I saw it yesterday at the Strad exhibition, but the label was not easily seen. The exhibition is an absolute must but take a torch.

Do you think they'll let me in with this?

post-23651-0-18579800-1371231790_thumb.jpg

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Sorry can't help you. I saw it yesterday at the Strad exhibition, but the label was not easily seen. The exhibition is an absolute must but take a torch.

I Will ,thank you!

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Just ran into this, I thought a quick translation may seem interesting for someone.

 

From an italian book printed in 1596.

 

The manner to make black ink to print books and other things.

 

The black ink, which is used in the Print houses to print Books, is made in the following manner, that is.

Take vernice liquida from the kind, which is commonly sold to varnish several types of labors, in it place one ounce of lamp black di rasa [from rosin] for each pound of varnish, and make it boil a little in a slow fire, until it is well incorporated and has become very black, and it will be made. This is the ink with which many and diverse matters of paper are printed, & I have wished to reveal it to the people of the world, so that each one can use it in his commodity.

 

Another from 1698

 

The printing ink is called in latin atramentum librarium, it is made with turpentine [sap], walnut or linseed oil, and with lampblack.

 

edit - Speaking of atramentum has anyone tried this one from Kremer?, I'm curious, the words uncomparable depth and luster attract my attention...

Edited by carlobartolini

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Ben, I use a laserjet and love the flexibility to incorporate graphics and text from so many great apps. (Look at Addie's example on post #5.) I looked for studies on longevity of the toner and found little information years ago (2004). However, the few investigations I did find said that toner was probably more stable than most papers. Anyone have any current information?

 

Nevertheless, I am sure the candle-burning purists will demand wood block printing. Have at it.  :)

 

Mike

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Only for the strad seal, the rest is definitely no wood;-)

I use electric light,routers and arbortec,bandsaw and electric drill, but when it comes to things that make a copy look authentic or not I think one needs to pay attention to the details.

I plane the shavings for my purfling,stain them,I cook my varnish,make my madder lake, I avoid touching sandpaper as much as I can, so yes,I would like my labels to look like the real thing too!

Actually this is all just for fun, otherwise violin making can get quite boring sometimes!

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I suggested using lino block printing inks. I am fairly sure that the comercial ones are mostly if not all linseed oil based; probably not cold pressed, but certainly with added driers. Today the color is usually lamp black sometimes bone black (formally ivory black). However, most of these black pigments are highly transparent. This means that if you wish to make your own, you need to keep them rich in pigment and or add another non transparent color to make the ink a little more opaque. You don't need to worry about the color changing. The black pigment will swallow up most other colors even in quite large doses. To tone the black as I suggested earlier, you need to add quite a lot of burnt umber. You can also use varnishes such as copal or whatever oil varnish you are currently using. These were previously used in the printing industry. Today inks that dry in seconds are the preferred thing. However, a too liberal use of varnishes will make the letters shine. 

 

Just to say that I have a really cheap hobby band saw and a small grinding machine. I don't have any other power tools. I don't even have a drill press. Almost everything is cut by hand. I even cut my outlines by hand and what surprises people most; I cut 1,5 mm ribs off one piece backs with a hand saw. I learned this trick from Jacob Saunders dad. I do have electric lighting, even expensive daylight lighting. But this is mainly to make me feel better in our north German climate. That bestselling book 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is about the weather in North Germany. 

 

Finally I sometimes get frustrated, but I have never found violin making boring, which is a good thing, because since I have never sold instruments other than my own and never written certificates, I don't have a pension and will need to work until I drop. 

 

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 That bestselling book 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is about the weather in North Germany. 

 

 

 

Hi Roger

I spent almost two years in West Germany in the early eighties and traveled around a bit but never made it to Bremen. I've been doing some research on ancestry.com and come to find out my maternal great grandfather sailed from Bremer-Haven to New York in 1881 on the SS Salier. That's all I know of him because most records were lost due to the bombimg of Bremen in the war. I'll look around for the book. Thanks.

 

 

 

Sorry to steer off track...

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