Re: Polymergravure plate tone
Jon - Interesting point about Boxcar having to break open larger quantities and the effect it could possibly have on a plate. I recently had an order arrive from A&V where the colour of the plates was distinctly different from other batches I'd received in the past. Normally I order full box quantities - 20 plates - but in this instance I only needed 6, so who knows how these had been stored.Smaller quantities have varied a bit from box car (they would typically arrive dented too), so I started buying the big pack and storing them in a steel darkroom safe I picked up cheap many years ago. (One of those kinds of things the spouse tries to make you get rid of when you move....) Fresh plates tend to be the artichoke, light green color. I have seen them where they're a more emerald color too, which indicates to me they've probably been around a while. I've also gotten them where the mylar was actually stuck so hard to the plate that it's torn. Box Car recommended under those circumstances to remove the mylar with a little heat from a hairdrier....which worked like a charm.
But yes, plates will vary from batch to batch unless you buy them in/directly from the factory. If you get a batch of, say 8, that vary in color, they may very well have different characteristics. Dropping $600 for a batch of 20, A2 plates isn't what I'd like to be doing, but I consider it an investment in plates I won't have to reburn due to variations, not to mention the longevity of my sanity.