After thinking about the intaglio prints that I did last year and comparing it to the results of the prints this year I concluded that the root cause of the problem is trying to use the MDF.
I carved too deeply and expected the paper to be pushed into the deep grooves to pick up the ink. Instead it picked up the ink on the sides of the grooves, as per the diagram (it’s a wonder I think of myself as an artist).
The result is that the lines are doubled, and in some areas, very faint. You can still see some of the embossing along the edge though, which is nice. The final problem is working with wet pencils, wet paper and wet MDF, it all starts to blur a bit. The MDF is getting all frayed and so the block is likely to be put out to pasture, or get a hook on the back for hanging.
Back to shellac intaglio for me. But in the meantime, I’ve a bunch of small woodblocks that need printing. Stay tuned.