This is a triple experiment, really. I used a sheet of Japanese carving vinyl rather than the wood or lino previous pieces were done on – it’s extremely nice to work with, except that I occasionally find myself carving too deeply and going right through. Not by accident, it’s a lot like the softwood panels I used for others, but without a grain.
Secondly, I used pre-moistened paper (not soggy, just moist – I used a plant mister) to see what effect that has. The answer is basically that it doesn’t, apart from making the paper a bit more tractable and less inclined to curl.
The third experiment was in using a proper (if cheap) baren, rather than rubbing it with the back of a spoon as before. It’s physically easier and less painful to use, and has a nicer tactile quality – though when the guides say to rub with the grain of the baren covering, not against it, they really mean that.