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Re: Bitumen Query

Dear Robyn,

You know your plates are properly degreased if you can run water over them
and it makes a smooth sheet of water and does not pull away anywhere from the
surface of the zinc.

It is unnecessary to use ammonia to degrease; whiting by itself will do the
trick.  In a pinch you can use a degreasing detergent (dishwashing soap,
rinse it thoroughly.)

Bitumen (ashpaltum) never goes bad.  Even if it's dried solid, adding a bit
of mineral spirits revives it.

If you are finding it difficult to degrease, try polishing your plates (with
metal polish, or Putz Pomade if they have that where you are) and then try
again.  Sometimes you have to apply several doses of whiting (or French
chalk) before all the grease is gone.

Good luck,

Audrey Niffenegger

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