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I recently experimented with etching zinc with copper sulphate with very little success. I have since heard that salt needs to be added to the solution (like when you etch aluminium) to make it work. Any tips/advice would be welcome. I also wondered if there are different types of zinc or coatings which might interfere with the process of etching. Regards, Gina

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HI Gina,

Many metal plates have a protective coating including zinc and aluminium. You have to give them a scrub, then a light polish to take out any scratches and degrease them well before applying the ground. Always a good idea to do a test stript in the etch first to see how aggressive the solution is and adjust your timing accordingly. Sandra

Hi Sandra,

I usually use different grades of sandpaper to prepare my aluminium and zinc plates with moving from coarse to finer grades.  So I am looking to find out if are there hybrid metals that might resist etching and if so do I need to be clearer about the zinc I order and from what type of company.  Thankyou for replying to my query.  Gina

You have posed an interesting question, Gina. I have used zinc purchased from art stores and off-cuts of zinc from a sheet metal merchant and have never had a problem etching the zinc. It sounds as though you might have something which may be a composite. I might ask our local sheet metal shop and see if they have an answer.

Thankyou Sandra, that would be greatly appreciated as I have not been able to get a straight answer as the merchants I have spoken with have little idea of what I am hoping to do.

Hi Gina, I thinking that you resolved this some time ago? But ...  I had a problem when I bought 'zinc' once and I think my problem was that it turned out to be a composite metal. Roofing Zinc I bought (from Booths in Sydney?) many years ago has always been fine. See you soon, Amanda

Hi Amanda,

Thanks for your reply and input.  It is good to know that other people have experienced a similar hiccup when finding the right metal to etch.  It reminds me that even very recently a very seasoned printmaker could not get her aluminium to etch and that was after sanding the metal with an electric sander.  She wondered if she had gone too far down into the metal so to speak.  See you soon too,

Gina

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