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Q&A Doug Back, Dubbo Printing Works
64 ProPrint October 2014
It was a really good trade, I wasn’t so
keen on it when I started because I was
wearing a boiler suit and it was dirty,
but it was so varied, you did about sixteen
You’d make the mould by putting the
flong through a cylinder press. At Tech I’d
also learned how to do it the old way
beating it with a hammer. Then you’d cast
the plate, rout out any unwanted metal
and either mount it on a block or make it
into a curved plate for a rotary press.
Another thing we learned at Tech in
those days was how to make flong. It’s just
papier-mache really but I can’t remember
Sets of colour stereos were very tricky.
You probably had to throw out the first
three or four you made because the mould
would shrink, after three or four it would
stabilize and you needed it to be absolutely
right for colour work.
You’d probably get about 12 stereos out
of each mould. You had to have the metal
the right temperature. If it was too hot it’d
burn the mould, the stuff it’s made of
called flong is just paper really, so if it was
too hot it’d go brittle and you’d only get
two or three. Then you had to be careful of
cold spots. You’d get these if the mould was
damp or the metal too cool. They’d really
show up on a reverse plate. You’d just have
to throw it out and start again.
One thing you could do was rub the
mould with graphite. The high bit on the
mould is the low bit on the plate and it’s
the bit that sticks and gets pulled off. So if
you rubbed graphite powder over it that
would extend the life of the mould a bit.
Print’s Past excerpts are drawn from interviews
by Benjamin Thorn, curator of the Armidale
Museum of Printing, and are due to be
published in a forthcoming book.
Doug Back of Dubbo Printing Works
enjoys nothing more than getting
outdoors in the Australian bush. Add a
little gold prospecting and he’s even
Why did you get into printing?
I got into printing in 1966 because all the
government jobs were full.
What is your favourite phrase?
They call that ar twork supplied.
What would be your dream job?
Trip leader on a Western Australian
goldf ields expedition.
What T V show are you watching at the
Friday night football (NRL) with a few
What is your greatest luxur y in life?
To be able to travel anywhere in this
Who or what makes you laugh?
The things my six-year-old grandson
says and does.
If you didn’t work in print, what
would you be doing?
I would be a professional gold
If your house was on fire, what three
things would you rescue (apart from
Metal detector, Engel fridge and Bundy,
DVDs with all our photos on them.
Who would you like to be stuck
on a desert island with?
My wife Chris or Sharon Stone
(big decision, this).
What really makes your blood
People that treat you like an idiot.
How do you like to unwind?
A campfire and a few ales work
for me. Can’t beat the great
Gain value from waste
InDesign, DPS and Acrobat
Western Australia PIC As
Future Print Business
Sustainable Green Print
Graphic Arts Golf Society of
SA golf day
Creative Cloud Services
Victoria Park Golf Complex, Brisbane
Hyatt Hotel, Perth
PIA A Queensland, Newmarket
Kooyonga Golf Course, Lockleys
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