Cleaning old ink off rollers

Hi everyone,

I’ve recently acquired a new addition to my little print studio in Australia - a John Kay and Co. Diadem 10x15 platen press. See pic attached - it’s an absolutely beautiful press and in great working condition.

My only issue is with the rollers. For a start, the top roller is on slightly larger trucks than the other 3, so it doesn’t seem to come into contact with the form at all. I can’t work out why the previous owner would do this, but he was an old school professional printer and I am a relative newbie to this (I’ve only been printing for 2 years) so I’m open to suggestion. Can someone tell me whether I should just buy two more trucks, or whether it is like this for a reason?

My other issue is that the rollers weren’t thoroughly cleaned before I got the press. I clean and I clean and I clean, but black ink just keeps coming off these rollers. I’m nervous to do a light coloured print run until they’re completely clean.

Can anyone suggest a method or a solvent for cleaning off stubborn old ink? I’m currently using Dissolve to loosen the ink, followed by pure gum turpentine. I have absolutely no idea what kind of ink the previous owner used.

I’d rather get them clean than spend $500 on 4 new rollers, so any help would be appreciated.

Cheers guys!

Log in to reply   3 replies so far

There was no picture attached. I don’t know what a John Kay and Co. Diadem press looks like, so I am guessing here. Usually the reason for the top roller to have larger trucks is to contact the ink fountain and add ink to the disk during the run. The additional ink does not clog up the form

Try picking up some putz pomeade or similar product. You can run the rollers on the press with it to wick out the ink.

If the ink has been there for a long time, it may take several cleanings and still not come off. Ink transfer may be problematic with these rollers as well, since the dried ink may cause the surface to lose its tack. And you’ll need to check their diameter and compare it to your trucks’ diameter.

On some presses it is easy enough to get by with less than the maximum number of rollers. You should begin saving up to replace the foremost set of rollers, but you may have roller height issues if you run rollers of differing diameters.

James Beard
Vrooooom Press

Thanks guys - not sure why the picture didn’t upload… I’ll try again.

The Diadem is a (somewhat) similar design to a Chandler & Price Old Style. The ink duct theory makes sense because it does have one, but I’m not doing particularly long runs so it’s not totally necessary. Presumably, the machine is made to work without the top roller needing to come into contact with the forme? If that’s the case, all is well.

James - thanks for the tip on trying it out on the press. Dissolve is a pretty simiilar product to pomeade so applying it to the press might do the trick.

image: Gordon.JPG