Clean Up

Ok, I am just wondering if anyone has any tips to make clean up a little easier. This was my first time and the first run I got way too much ink so that was a big mess. So I fully cleaned up and started over - think I got the right amount of ink that time around.

Anyway, I am using the boxcar wash, lint free towels, paper towels for the lighter stuff and there was just ink all over everything.

It was super difficult to keep ink off my hands so everything I touched got in on it.

It was still super fun but wow, there has to be an easier way.


Log in to reply   4 replies so far

Yes there is an easier way. First, you want to sheet off all that extra ink. The easiet way is to put a little (I use a spray bottle for this) of solvent (kerosene or your favorite “green” wash) works good here. Let the press run and work in the solvent, then use larger sheets of uncoated paper (11 x 17 say, for a 10 x 15), place on the ink disk and let the rollers run up on it. Flip the sheet over and get the other side of the disk. Add a little more solvent and do it again after the disk has worked around (or spin the disk if you’re in a hurry). You can do this with the press under power (use larger sheets of paper and be ready to let them go if need be) but I would hand wheel the press to start (obviously not a problem on a tabletop). Run the rollers off the disk and finish clean with your favorite finish solvent, water miscible wash etc. If you do this right, it will take only three sheets of paper and two rags to do everything. Wearing rubber gloves will keep your hands clean, but may foster getting ink elsewhere if you are not vigilant.

I’ve found I can clean most platen presses in about five minutes using this method, and it uses far less solvent than the traditional scrubbing with rags routine.

Oh, and I’m sure this is obvious, the form is removed from the press and cleaned seperately (with rags), otherwise the form will be transferring ink back onto the rollers/ink disk all the time.

Happy printing

Mike said it close enough to correctly that I won’t rewrite what he wrote. The idea is to remove as much of the ink as possible with blotters (aka uncoated paper), and then finish up using rags. It’s not rocket science.

One thing I’d like to advise you though, is to not to go down the wrong path of using Crisco / Simple Green (which may not be so green) and/or other non-standard roller-cleaning concoctions. I get at least a half-dozen e-mails per week from folks who use such goops thinking that they are saving the planet, only to discover that their rollers won’t take ink properly or are deteriorating. I would recommend that you save youself the trouble and use either mineral spirits or a good grade roller wash.

If you are concerned with VOC’s then you can use some of the water-miscible roller washes on the market. However, you should not think that you are helping the environment by doing so. According to the EPA, the use of mineral spirits in letterpress shops poses an “insignificant point source” for pollutants while water-miscible solvents “…has the potential to serious environmental harm if dumped into municpal water systems.” Also, there have been numerous articles written about how Earth-UNfriendly Simple Green is. Being green is not nearly as easy as most folks think….. and Crisco is not the answer.

Mike - thanks so much for the tips - I will give this a try on my next clean up tonight as I am going for another round with my press today ;-)

Winking - Dont worry, I am using Boxcar Wash! I don’t mess around with trying to mix up/create my own stuff. I figure they have been doing this a long time and it works - why try to reinvent the wheel!

It is a little stinky in my entire house but it was totally my fault - last night I left the lid off the wash container!

Mike - clean up went perfect today - thank you! Much faster and much cleaner! Ended a little early as printing did not go as well - pretty sure I took a step backwards today.

Oh well, at least clean up went well!

Thanks again,