Since two of my recent posts dealt with beveling, I’ve had a couple of mail exchanges about how people like to bevel or not bevel their plates and stones. And as always, the wonderful thing about printmaking is that no two people do it the same way, and a “right” way there isn’t at all, just ways that work for you and other ways that don’t.
I dug out the litho files that I inherited from the printshop in Germany that I worked in, and, looking at them closer for probably the first time ever, discovered that they are from Viiala in Finland. How’s that for a coincidence?
Turns out that the town of Viiala was known for its file factory (viila = file in Finnish), and in 1955 had their coat of arms designed by Ahti Hammar, a Finnish artist and trained lithographer. Viiala’s coat of arms shows, you’ve guessed it, a file-inspired theme.
Alas, it was not meant to be - the file factory had to shut down in 1996, and in 2006 Viiala merged with Toijala to become the town of Akaa.
As for beveling, the curved-cut side of the files works great on softer, yellow stones, and not so good on the harder, gray stones, where the curved side tends to chip the stone.
When beveling a stone I start by establishing a 45°-ish angle all around the stone, using the file only from the corner downwards, away from the top. Once this is done I go back, angling the file much flatter to round out the upper edge. Sometimes I used fine sandpaper on a block of wood to really smoothen the edge, but nowadays I’m too lazy for that. Let’s all just wait for Emily to post about how it’s really done.
TL;DR - TWO PHOTOS OF FILES