Author Topic: Smudging from Drafting Board Slider Bar  (Read 1469 times)


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Smudging from Drafting Board Slider Bar
« on: November 17, 2014, 03:12:40 pm »
Are there any tricks to reduce or eliminate smudging that occurs when you move the sliding bar of the drafting board back and forth over the paper?


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Re: Smudging from Drafting Board Slider Bar
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2014, 12:33:16 pm »
Hi hjohannes!

This is a good question about keeping your work clean as you draft. Your parallel bar is always moving up and down as you work, and naturally there is friction there and transfer of lead on the underside. I do have some suggestions for you, but I also want to say that it is ok to have a little bit of "background" lead on your vellum. When your sheets are either photocopied, or in the "old method" blueprinted, much of the lighter smudges will not show up much or at you do not need to worry about keeping the vellum absolutely pristine...a little bit of background can actually look nice and give a richness to the plots or prints! After all, we are not machines and the hand has a quality that is expressive, where uneveness and variations in tone as a natural result.
So, don't worry too much if there is a smudge or two! This is normal and it's ok!

With the parallel bar, you can keep a cloth handy to wipe the underside periodically as you go along...that can help pick up lead dust as you work.

You can also try out drafting powders that you sprinkle (comes in a little "salt shaker" box) or tap (comes in a pad form, like a little pillow) onto your vellum as you work. The sprinkles are like little eraser beads that roll underneath your triangle and your parallel bar as you work and they pick up smudges.  A quick google search will get you to resources where you can order them online, or you can find them in a drafting supply store.

You can also use tracing paper, which is a technique that works well. You can take your tracing paper and place it over areas that you are not currently working on. Move it as you work so it will mask out areas that your hand might otherwise swipe over....

Another source of smudges can be your hand itself....Being a left handed drafter,  I always have had that blackened underside of my hand as I write...even with writing letters in pen or pencil! With drafting, what I do is place my hand directly on top of my triangle as I work, with the straight edge to my right....and "scoot" it along as I letter and create my lines....If you are right handed, you can also use this technique by just flipping your triangle over so that the straight edge is to your left...allowing your hand to sit on top of the angled part of the triangle.

An erasing shield is also a helpful "clean up" tool! You most likely have one already from your prior Basic Drafting course! It is a silver metal piece with a variety of small holes in it to help erase specific areas where you  may have a smudge or line to remove. Placing it over your drawing and erasing through the holes, you can get a precise area to be removed.

I hope these ideas help!