Palette of Choice

Throughout my long and fruitful career as a pressman I have used many surfaces to mix ink on. Some come to mind which I had a most intense relationship with.

Some of the best inks I mixed have come from a marble slab veined with hot water pipes to maintain a heated surface. This sultry stone served me well in loosening stiff inks, keeping me warm on cold printing nights and providing a j’ ne se qua of marble’s molecular structure to the ink which cannot be overlooked.

Tempered plate glass or as some rascals call it safety glass. I find this to be good but not great. I tend to drop weights, knives, fists, and my antique bottles of solvent on my palette and even though some glass is 36 agate thick it tends to scratch or even crack.

Other surfaces I’ve used but not with much success are, formica, tile, redwood planks, compressed antler, hardened leather (used for armored brestplates), faux finish marble(this actually worked quite well), plexi glass, and a piece of an old tin ceiling.


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I always thought marble was the best. Having one warmed would be nice. I’ve used plastic feed boards and glass for the most part. Well aside from mixing on a piece of mylar on top of the digital ink scale’s metal table. The most unique thing I mixed ink on was a piece of carved soap stone. Couldn’t really see what the carving was anymore though as the metal ink knives scratched it up good.

Does ink stain the marble at all? Marble seems so porous to me. Maybe your marble is highly polished? I use a piece of tempered plate glass set on a white towel. It used to be a fireplace door. I’ve heard of people using compressed antler, but not lately. Maybe some environmental issue.


I use a piece of Corian countertop leftover from a kitchen remodel. It works well, very similar to marble.

Bob Walp

all the marble I’ve ever used was polished.