Oil-based ink with high metallic content

I am currently in the process of doing an independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology. I am trying to mimic Gutenberg’s oil-based ink. Now research has shown that he had high contents of lead, copper, and sulfur in his carbon black ink. Is there any ink out there that might suit this? If not, I might have to resort to Van Son black ink (not a bad thing).

Thanks, Dan

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From what I’ve read in the past, Gutenberg’s ink was primarily a boiled linseed / carbon black mixture, with a few additives to help speed up the drying. I’ve never seen a listing of what those admixtures might have been, but a good guess would be something similar to “Japan Drier” that was in common use by painters of the day. It contains lead and/or copper oxides. It is still available, if you wanted to formulate your own.

The only ink I know of that might have similar components is Charbonnell’s black etching ink. They use a very old formulation for most of their products.

Do you have a website or product description for the Charbonnell’s black etching ink?

Hi Dan, I work at Brockport 20 min from you. I have been making intaglio prints for 30 yrs. We use traditional processes and alternative processes in the printshop at the college. When I was in graduate school, we ground our own etching ink with oil and pigment. We add pigment to commercial inks in classes now. If you want some pointers , I can certainly share with you the ink grinding process. Give me an email if interested or you have any other questions.
debra fisher

Thanks Debra. I actually just recently took a class at RIT in which we created a pigment and did the grind process. I understand you do intaglio prints. Are you doing relief work or is it on a hand press? Thanks!