I have recently aquired a C&P press and it came with 8 extra rollers. Some of them cannot be rescued but a few of them are still in good shape except they have a build up of ink and dirt on them. I am looking for suggestions on cleaning the rollers. The junk that is built up on them is pretty thick but it is soft enough that I can scrape some off with a fingernail. I have used some degreaser and that got a lot of the stuff off but there are still some pretty thick areas. Any suggestions are appreciated.
The Dog House Press
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Yes…. use mineral spirits.
For older ink, and yours seems like it is rubber-based, I would use Lacquer Thinner, which is a quick evaporating solvent with very good cutting strength. It is nasty stuff, so I would encourage you to use it outdoors. As a regular cleaner the quick evaporation will dry rubber rollers and make them crack, but using it for an initial cleaning would be safe. Without knowing the composition of your rollers, I would advise trying a little bit to make sure that it doesn’t react with the roller itself. As a regular roller wash I use Kerosene if I am finished printing for the day. If I need to use the press again, I will wash with Kerosene and give the rollers and ink plate a final wash with Naptha, which evaporates quickly (but is not as strong as Lacquer Thinner).
Do you know if the rollers are rubber or composition? This is a big factor in what to use to clean them. If you have a roller that cannot be used (saved by cleaning because of cuts, bumbs etc.) Then try the solvents on them first. But as above anything that you use that is strong should be followed by a safer wash like Kerosene or California Wash.