Last week I bought a print drying rack for my studio in Margate. As far as printmaking equipment goes, this is one of the most useful things you can get and I’m not sure how I’ve managed so long without one! When I was printing an edition before, my studio would quickly be covered with drying prints on every surface. Now they can be neatly stacked on the drying rack shelves. Here are before and after shots of the studio:
|Before – prints drying on every surface|
|After – prints drying neatly on the drying rack|
Part of the reason I put off getting one for so long was the expense. New print drying racks can cost £1000 and even second-hand ones are usually several hundred pounds. I’d been looking on ebay for a while and even bid on a few but I didn’t want to pay more than £200. Then I found a supplier based near me who was selling them for £175 new. I couldn’t believe my luck! They are called it-marketing and are based near Maidstone in Kent.
It-marketing are mainly a supplier of balloons, which is why I have this beauty attached to the rack (I had to ask for one didn’t I?!) They will deliver the rack for an extra £45 (ready assembled) but I picked one up and assembled it myself to save on costs. It only just fit in the back of my estate car though!
The rack has 50 shelves and will take paper up to around A1 size. The actual size of the usable area of each shelf is 60 x 100cm (23.5 x 39.5 inches) but you could have longer prints sticking out of the sides. Each shelf is supported at the front corners and in the front centre by a little metal separator. This does mean you can’t remove large prints from the shelves unless you lift them up and also you can’t have prints sticking out of the front unless they are less than half the width of the shelf.
Generally I am pretty happy with the rack. I don’t think it would last very long in a college print room but for my purposes it is perfect. It’s perhaps not as well built as the ones I used at East London Printmakers but it doesn’t squeak and it’s not full of random unclaimed prints! One nice feature is that each spring (which holds the shelf in the up position) can be attached through one of three holes, so as the springs get old and loose you can tighten them.
|Detail of the springs|
The rack also has wheels so you can move it around the studio. This is very useful as you can put it out of the way when you’re not using it and position it next to you when you’re printing.
|Drying rack wheels|
There is one design flaw to the rack. At the back centre of each shelf there is a spine that holds the shelf in position. This means the print can be trapped in the gap when the shelf is lifted, damaging the paper. I think this can easily be over overcome with a little addition of a piece of thread or tape over each gap.