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How to freehand asphaltum resist

Hi all,

I am experimenting with using asphaltum resist to electro etch copper and silver. Etching is new to me. I would like someone with experience to give me suggestions as to what type of tool is best to use use to scratch/scribe into the asphaltum. In reading and watching videos on printmaking intaglio, most artists seem to use a metal (steel?) scribe, but I’m seeing many plastic scribes for sale too. I notice that it is pretty easy to scribe into the metal if I’m not very careful which isn’t ideal. I also read somewhere on Orchid that the asphaltum should only be dry to the touch and not dried out or it can chip.

Opinions as to the type of scribe to use and how long to allow the asphaltum to dry will really be appreciated!

I realize there are many ways to etch, pnp, sharpie, vinyl, etc. I’m not interested in experimenting with those right now and there is a lot of info to be had on that online.

Thanks so much,