Drafting linen

Discussion in 'The Break Room' started by rickhann, Feb 13, 2018.

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  1. Feb 13, 2018 #1

    rickhann

    rickhann

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    Back in my young days as a civil engineer, I often worked with plan sheets drafted with ink on linen (starched). That was over 50 years ago before mylar took over. The linen had a glossy side and a matte finish side. I cannot for the life of me remember which side was used for the drawing ink. Intuitively I would think the matte side, but I remember preparing the surface prior to inking by rubbing it with pounce to take the sheen off. Does anyone know which side is used for the inking? Rick
     
  2. Feb 13, 2018 #2

    TonyM

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    If I remember correctly you draw on the matt side.
     
  3. Feb 13, 2018 #3

    BaronJ

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    Hi Rick,

    That is my recollection as well. Though I don't remember the "pounce" you refer to.
     
  4. Feb 13, 2018 #4

    bazmak

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    I remember the linen but using it was before my time.We drew on paper the Mylar was used to produce a new original and the matt side was scraped off with a scalpel so you could alter the drawing with ink or pencil.I remember using a chalk filled bag to remove pencil dust and grease when using ink
     
  5. Feb 13, 2018 #5

    Brian Rupnow

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    I started in 1965 and I am pretty sure that you inked on the matt side. The pounce bags I remember were full of finely ground rubber and were used to clean the surface you were working on after it became smudged from arm sweat. You didn't dare actually "rub" the surface of the drawing or it would smear something fierce. The old drafting office was up in the very top of the machine shop, and with 35 designers and draftsmen working in there on 85 degree days in the summer it got pretty damned muggy, right on the north shore of Lake Ontario.---We had hundreds and hundreds of "legacy files" that were all done on drafting paper. The drafting paper would start to suffer from being put through the blueprint machine so many times. In about '66 or '67 a salesman came around with a wonderful new drafting medium called "Kronaflex". It was a clear mylar with a matt finish on one side and would make gorgeous drawings. Every time work got slack. all the junior and intermediate draftsmen would be put to work tracing the old paper legacy files onto "Kronaflex". Thousands of hours went into this work over a ten year period. Then in the mid 1970's it was noticed that the matt finish was beginning to separate from the mylar backing. It came off in flakes and took whatever was drawn on it with the flakes. Talk about a disaster!! Then everything that had been traced onto Kronaflex had to be done again on proper drafting paper.
     
  6. Feb 14, 2018 #6

    rickhann

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    Thanks to all whom replied. I was a bit surprised as to what little information there is about drafting on linen when I did some googling. There is a difference between the pounce I referred to and the cleaning pads mentioned above. It is my understanding that pounce is a fine abrasive powder similar to chalk dust used to prepare the linen cloth for inking whereas the ground rubber cleaning pads were used during the drafting process to keep the drawing clean. A moot point as drafting linen is no longer being made and NOS is practically non-existent. Rick
     
  7. Feb 14, 2018 #7

    gbritnell

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    I started in the Ford Motor pattern design department in 73. Our pattern and core box drawings were done with pencil on frosted Mylar. For making quick changes we would print out a Sepia copy. Our blueprint machine would print these and paper copies depending on what was loaded. For working on the Sepias there was an eradicater fluid that smelled like a combination of vinegar and ammonia. When applied it would take off the print and bleach the Sepia white. The changes could then be drawn with pencil.
    Some of our original Mylars were 42" x whatever length, sometimes up to 8' long.
    When they closed the foundry and pattern shop they were clearing out all the old drawings and throwing them away. I got one of my old drawings from the early 80's and rescued it from the trash. The Mylar is still intact although it's showing its age.
    I also have some new pieces of Mylar that I sometimes use when doing my artwork.
    gbritnell
     
  8. Feb 14, 2018 #8

    rlukens

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    I have to smile at this post... brings back memories. My first job out of high school (1964) was as a surveyor. The office did all their work on linen. I would take the mistakes home and my mom would wash the starch out and make my handkerchiefs. As I recall, it took several washings to eliminate all the ink lines.
     
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  9. Feb 14, 2018 #9

    rickhann

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    My experience with linen was very similar yours. In 1964, I was a young engineer just out of college. Went to work for the Illinois Highway Dept. At that time, interstate system construction was at it's peak so you can imagine the thousands of plan sheets each district office had. Some of the design engineers would do as you did and take home the old plan sheets and their wives would make handkerchiefs, blouses, etc. The resulting linen cloth was of the best quality! A couple of the engineers were into muzzle loading guns and they would use the linen for patching the balls. Rick
     
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  10. Feb 16, 2018 #10

    oilmac

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    I still have some linen cloths made from boiled drawing sheets, They were from dozens of discarded drawings also from where I worked, I certainly did not boil anything whiich was useful, interesting or historical, I always used to ponder over the money that must have been spent on these lovely articles of engineering art.

    The craftsmanship of these old draughtsmen was painstaking and of a high artistic merit, I also thought that the draughtsmanship of the American draughtsmen, was most particular & pleasant to the eye, The old boys I worked with over this side of the pond would beat the modern art people any day How the computer has cut down manpower & changed the skill set.
     
  11. Feb 17, 2018 #11

    rlukens

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    It's a different world now. I fully understand (and appreciate) the evolution of technology but I have to mourn so many aspects of the lost past. Manual machining being one of them. Oh well...
     
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