Heavy ink coverage on a Vandercook

Anyone have any good strategies of how to ink large coverage on a Vandercook?

We were doing an 11” x 17” calendar with an image that was about 10.5” x 10.5”. Each month’s image had a background color that would vary between needing to cover 50% of the area to about 80% of the area.

The way we ended up doing it was having some stand at the press and between each print would add ink. We were doing this with a 4” brayer that was constantly being replenished. Generally speaking, that worked fairly well. You could see where the print was a bit lighter and you could hit that part of the rollers first and then spread over the rest of it.

The problem was that it was a lot of prints because it was a calendar.

Is the only really good option to do it on something like a Heidelberg cylinder?

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Or a Miehle Vertical with the skip-feed attachment.

What model of Vandercook are you printing this calendar on? Are you combining text and large areas of image together on the same print run? It’s my experience to separate the two runs when text and image are combined with the same color ink. Large image areas need more ink coverage than small typography. Type will tend to plug up with too much ink but if you add less ink then the image area will be light.

Check your roller height to insure proper contact of rollers with form and check your packing depth to insure proper sheet lift off cylinder.

Casey McGarr
Inky Lips Letterpress
Jonesboro, Arkansas