How about an updated ink discussion?

I am just getting started and have read the ink discussion, but found that it is quite dated- does anyone have any new opinions on the topic.
Any new favorite inks??
I really don’t know which one to try first.

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Anybody use magnesium carbonate? A lot or a little or never?

I’ve been using it with Gans soy based for printing on cotton papers with much better results then straight ink from the can.

Hi Darcie,

I would refer you to the ink discussion:

For the past forty years there really hasn’t been anything new in ink (except for the fact that printing and ink are becoming obsolete). As I have advised before, it is best if you can find a local ink maker who can make you what you want. There are lots of inks to buy off the shelf from dozens of sources, with varying degrees of success.


I would recommend using calcium carbonate (whiting) as an extender for ink, as it is what is used by the industry. It will make your ink thicker, in large amounts can lighten the color, and tends to give ink a more matte finish. In my experience, off the shelf inks are much thinner than letterpress inks of old, and vegetable starches also can be used to increase the viscosity and coverage of your inks. It is also possible to add powdered colors to your inks, but the resulting mix should be re-ground before using.


Thanks- in my research I found an ink thread, but not this one. This one is great.
I am also wondering if anyone is using the watersoluable ink mentioned in the other thread. Akua Intaglio inks?

If you are printing intaglio then you would want inks that are specifically made for that kind of printing. I wouldn’t use them for letterpress printing.


I ordered the Akua Intaglio trial set from McClain’s - have used it for several projects on my 5x8 Kelsey. I like the colors and consistency of the ink, and especially appreciate the soap-and-water cleanup. Don’t know if this ink would be suitable for bigger presses and bigger jobs.

I also got Savvy Soap from McClain’s - superior for cleaning hands and rollers.