Van Son Tack Reducer or Smooth Lith?

Hey guys.

I have noticed a variety of differences between many of my inks based on age and I’m sure many other factors. I am becoming a proficient enough printer that I am noticing the differences between tack levels etc… when I print.

My question is I am wanting to experiment with some sort of reducer to try and improve my printing even more, especially on papers like Lettra. I am curious what the difference is between Van Son’s Tack Reducer and their Smooth Lith products? Which do you prefer and why? Anything you can suggest on usage - proportions etc..?

I have a few different brands of ink, but everything I have purchased within the last year+ has been Van Son oil-Based inks and I have been very happy with it. All of my inks are oil-based.

Thanks in advance for your help.

- Woody

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When mixing to reduce ink tack, there are many options. I’m sure you will end up with a preference once you have tried a few different ways. Also the inherent hazards of doing so, strike through, haloing in time, mussy type etc.

Van sons tack reducer is one option. Aquiring a couple different tacks to use together is another good option, particularly where blacks are concerned. Using this method, you can maintain the color strength of the black even though you are alteriing the mix to your needs. I used to stock a tack #9 black (which is on the runny end) and tack 13 for a stiffer starting point of beginning. These can be used straight out of the can or mixed to suit. All the while maintaining the color strength of the black at maximum. Be aware that there are blue blacks and carbon blacks (that was my term for them not tech). Take a small bit of each on a piece of paper and mix a little solvent with it to see what hue bleeds out into the paper to determine.

Another item that is excellent for reducing ink is (#00 perfect print varnish) it is the consistency of water. Works super. Just mix throughly! ! ! ! !

When desperate to increase tack, having worked on a project for fuji a number of years ago trying to invent a waterless ink, I discovered that Dap brand of caulking (clear) would shoot the tack upward (when throughly mixed as a 50/50 mix. I maintaiined its drying and skinning capabilities in the can, and stayed open under the skin of the can. Black Dap caulking might do the same thing? I wouldn’t suggest leaving it on the press for overnight though. Unknown results, perhaps disaster! ! ! Good luck have fun with it.