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Increase in matte black prints?

K.Murphy

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Jan 28, 2020
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Ignoring the two-month closure for Covid, I'v noticed an appearance and uptick of what I can only lamely describe as ultra matte, majority black ink, prints on smooth, but semi-thick paper. Had a woman bring in a 36x36 print she bought off Instagram for $800 USD :rolleyes: and it scuffed immediately as the customer and I were getting it out of the tube. It was an absolute nightmare to work with and I had no clue of what I was getting into while unrolling it. Thankfully we were able to hide most of the scuffs, but we had to work with nitrile gloves and the care of a surgeon during the whole process.

Fast forward to opening and we've already taken two more prints (smaller thankfully) that are the same horrid paper. Has there been some bass-ackwards advancement in printing that's made this stuff more commercially available? Anyone have any tips for working with it?
 

wvframer

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I have been seeing them for a while. If it is smearing, the ink is not fully dried. It is thick and has a sandpapery feel. It will act as its own abrasive and scuff easily.

I think it is the ink. I have not been able to find anything about the process.
 

framah

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It's not about smearing. All inks from large format printers have ink that is dry within an hour of so at most.

Scuffing is what the OP was having a problem with.
That is most likely the paper. Certain papers take the ink well and don't scuff while others scuff if you just look at it.

Many years ago, when this was just starting out, I got in a print that had some tiny dust bits on it and I took my brush to brush them off and the hairs scratched it!! Not like I was heavy handed, I was very lightly sweeping it. The worst ever!
 

bruce papier

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Preach Brother! As long as they are thinking of passing new laws, they should look into this! We have had some that had almost a rubbery feel to them. Dust shows like crazy and you can't get it off. I've had customers unroll prints and the ink chipped right off the paper. Satan lives and is the printing business.
 

wpfay

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Not just scuffs but burnish marks too. Had a couple 30" X 40" photo images come in with a warning letter in the packaging about the fragility of the pigments. These were to be dry mounted to ACM and we were sweating bullets the whole time.
 
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wvframer

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The paper not matched to the specs of the ink?
 

wpfay

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The paper not matched to the specs of the ink?
That's what I was thinking. We tried a brand of matte white paper when we first started printing and the blacks were just like this. It was like the paper was too porous and just soaked up the inks, but black in particular. It was like they were over-saturated. We did not try the "photo black" ink because of the waste of ink in switching back and forth. We switched to another brand and have stuck with that exclusively ever since with no issues.
 

wvframer

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I remember that the alternate black ink was supposed to provide true black and white prints. And I can't find any documentation, but I remember someone at Epson telling me that there were differences in the chemistry of the black inks and that it had something to do with the way if mixed with the other colors before printing.

I am a slave to convention and have always used Epson inks and papers. I also read all of the instruction manuals. :)
 

Joe B

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I've been getting them too - Air works real good to blow off the dust but you really have to turn down the pressure. canned air also seems to work but don't shake the can because you may blow out some moisture.
 
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shayla

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The first shop where I worked used an air compressor for cleaning glass and fitting. Then, I spent fifteen years working for someone who only used brushes. After we bought the shop in 2014, it took me awhile to realize I could make changes. We added an air compressor and hose, and it's been very helpful. Can't say what it would do with this, but as long as the ink is well-attached, blown air works well on such things. And unlike at the first shop, I wear a mask when I do it. Don't want all that high pressure dust finding a home in my lungs. That said, these prints sound like nightmares. Sticky, flaky and fluffy. It's sounds like the names of extras on the set of 'Snow White'.

Your thread also shows the value of opening the art with the customer present. Was the print covered with another piece of paper, or just rolled by itself?
 

Joe B

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Oh, and another tip, roll the art out of the tube, don't just grab hold and drag it out. Find the inside corner and roll it inward so that the art slides out easily, that does help to keep it from scuffing.

That said, these prints sound like nightmares.
If you are careful they aren't that much of a problem. If you turn your air pressure way down you can blow any dust away - I have a inline air adjustment, I use air for blowing off glass and all prints before installing the glass. I have never had a problem with low pressure.
 
Last edited:

framah

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...or just hold the air gun further away. :beer:
 

nikodeumus

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Anyone else dread getting these personalized start charts.... 😖
make-personalised-star-maps-for-you.jpg
They come from various online ordering sources, but almost always they are a poor-quality print.
With so much black coverage and an ink/paper combo that scuffs easily and holds dust like a greedy Scrooge McDuck.
I like the idea, but because of the consistently low-quality printing, they are one of my least favourite mass production items to frame.
 

nikodeumus

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Apr 21, 2015
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Anyone else dread getting these personalized start charts.... 😖
View attachment 34525
They come from various online ordering sources, but almost always they are a poor-quality print.
With so much black coverage and an ink/paper combo that scuffs easily and holds dust like a greedy Scrooge McDuck.
I like the idea, but because of the consistently low-quality printing, they are one of my least favourite mass production items to frame.
On further reflection, I would like to say that it is unfair for me to say all of these kinds of prints are "low quality".
I'm sure many of the places that print them use quality paper and inks.
However, there does seem to be a preponderance of very delicate and difficult to handle materials.
Which is just handing a headache to those of us who have to deal with the items after it gets shipped from the printer.
 
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tedh

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Anyone else dread getting these personalized start charts.... 😖
View attachment 34525
They come from various online ordering sources, but almost always they are a poor-quality print.
With so much black coverage and an ink/paper combo that scuffs easily and holds dust like a greedy Scrooge McDuck.
I like the idea, but because of the consistently low-quality printing, they are one of my least favourite mass production items to frame.
Ya we get a few of those. We plaque-mount through a wholesaler in Ottawa. It's like sub-contracting your problems to someone else. But we're still getting tbose horrible scuff-worthy black prints. Geez I hate those. As nasty as pastels.
 

framah

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Actually, pastels are easier. At least if there is a scuff, you can touch it up.

I have gotten pretty good at smoothing out pastel scuffs.
 

nikodeumus

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Are there any printers on the G who might know exactly what type of print method we are Grumbling about on this thread?
What's the print technique called?
Is it the ink, the paper, or both, that makes this method so unpleasant to handle.
Who shall take responsibility for this abomination?!!? 😠
😄
 

artfolio

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Feb 16, 2007
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Sadly this is nothing new.

I remember all those Bob Talbot prints with whales tails, dolphins etc back in the mid to late eighties. Flimsy paper, poor quality ink and, of course, a matt black border which most times was scuffed or finger-daubed soon after purchase.

Then there were the early prints and photographs on canvas which would smudge if you looked at them too hard.

The forces of darkness never sleep.
 

wvframer

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It is like rodents. The problem is the same, but it is spread over several species. The only constant seems to be cheap printing.
 
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Ylva

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Anyone else dread getting these personalized start charts.... 😖
View attachment 34525
They come from various online ordering sources, but almost always they are a poor-quality print.
With so much black coverage and an ink/paper combo that scuffs easily and holds dust like a greedy Scrooge McDuck.
I like the idea, but because of the consistently low-quality printing, they are one of my least favourite mass production items to frame.
Yup, I had one a few weeks back. Dark blue and white. Had some dust when it came in. I told the guy I would not remove that.
Still had some scuffs
 

wvframer

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I am often surprised by how little concern most customers have about scuffs, dimples, and creases.
 

framah

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They're used to having those crescent shaped creases in all of their photos from holding them with their thumb pressing into the paper.

As for the OP, I think the main problem is wrong paper for the ink and image. Some images just don't work on certain papers.
 
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