Friday, 24 August 2012

Re-covering that *+%* Baren

I was long overdue recovering my baren. So long overdue in fact that I had bought three more of them to avoid having to recover each one as it wore out. So I am now the proud owner of four worn out barens.
I did have a first go a while ago and it took me over three hours and about 6 replacement skins to end up with, well it wasn't pretty but it did the job.

With thanks to Andy Bull from his website The Barenforum for the notes on how to recover your baren and other general print related info.

This is halfway through the attempt;

Cut, trimmed and wrapped each side, folded the edges over, twisted the two arms tight and then knotted it together.

Not particularly too neat on the back but looks okay on the business side:

Well it did look okay until it mans up with one of the original Barens. Then it is painfully obvious just how shoddy my wrapping and tying off really is. The important thing though is that it does the job.

But even that one, as it was a bit loose on the tying off, hasn't lasted that long. So time for attempt number two.

I have a selection of bamboo skins which have to be sorted out to find one lacking any rips, making sure it's not too thin or too thick. This has to then be soaked under a running tap until it is soft and pliable. Then wrapped in a towel and, I kid you not, huffed over. Apparently the warm breath huffing down the tube of wrapped skin and towel further warms and softens the skin. Which allows you, apparently, to lay it on your board and stretch it. This is the bit where it is really easy to rip it. I lost about four the first time round. This time only the one went. Then it's trim one of the arms out and start the really hard bit;

I found I didn't have enough fingers to fold, pinch, hold and twist at the same time as keeping the pressure on the whole thing.

I did manage to pull the arms tight and tie them both off. Last time I didn't get this far and just knotted the two strands together. Doesn't look to hard but is one of the most dexterously difficult things I have attempted. The little Japanese fella who knocks these out must have fingers like steel bars.

Tidied up by cutting off the excess from the arms. The idea then is that as it dries out it pulls taut like a drum Again doesn't look to bad, especially when it is compared to my first attempt. Again though it starts looking a bit shoddy when you put one of the original 'properly' done barens in there. Still the important thing is that it works and I have printed with it since the end of May, which includes two courses and another four or five of my own prints. It may of helped that as I went to put a small  amount of camellia oil on the face of the baren, the whole lid came off and nearly half the pot glurped over the baren, the wooden board and the table. Did the chopping board a world of good as well.

Now I have a new-ish baren time to get on with the next print. Here goes.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian

    I suppose the little Japanese fella with the steel bars for fingers has been doing this sort of thing all his life. Where did you get your barens and bamboo skins from. I have been looking for a real baren but can't find a supplier in the uk.