Smudged Ink and overall un evening printing

Hi everyone, I am printing on a new style C&P Platen. And I am having a ton of smudging on the outside’s of a copy block. I tried re-taping for the roller height. changed the packing, Tried everything related to make ready, and I still cant get it right. Everything looks very un-even, and I have never had this happen before.

The other thing thats not working well is that the ink isn’t staying on each impression, I find that I have to re-roll the ink back on to the plate a couple of times, without paper, otherwise the black is too thin and white spots appear. You can see in the picture the difference between one print and the next without re-inking several times. I’m wondering if it could be because I am using rubber ink? I’m printing on crane’s cover fluorescent white 179. Which I didn’t think was coated? but now I kinda think it may be. Could that be causing this problem?

Please take a look at the pictures and see if you can help! Thank you all in advance!

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image: Ink Problem.jpg

Ink Problem.jpg

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Lettra? You might want to put some reducer in your ink. Also—rubber or oil base ink? They perform differently. Presuming photo-polymer, which have more curious issues about it that others know much more about (I stick with metal myself).

Keep at it, others will give much better advice, but the key is to keep at it.


There are a couple things you might try. To rule out the paper as a cause, print on some plain copy paper you might have lying around and see if that does any better.

I notice that at the ends of the the lines the ink is very heavy (the sample with the text). If this is being printed with the lines vertical on the press, this could be a sign that the rollers are set too tight against the image, and the ink is being scraped off the rollers as they traverse the form from top to bottom. I don’t see that as much in the illustration, but it could be happening as well.

If it’s not inking, you might be having a problem with the packing in the tympan being too “spongey” and has compressed in certain areas. You might take a piece of carbon paper with the working face against the paper and take an impression without ink to see if that gives you a good image. If good, that also would point to the ink being the problem.

Sometimes temperature and humidity in the print shop can be an issue as well.

In troubleshooting some of these things “you just have to be there”, but these are a few ideas you can follow up to see if things improve.

John Henry

Are you working in an unheated space? It has been unusually cold in the Bay Area, and rubber-base ink is more sensitive to cold than oil-base. A cold press won’t ink properly.

Thanks for the replays. I am printing on Magnesium plates. It was rather cold in the studio last night, I am going to bring in a few heaters to see if that helps a bit. I think my main concern is with the Type, because I know I can work with the image inking problem. There is more type on the invitation that is bigger that is printing beautifully which I think is the most confusing part of this. I am going to check today to make sure the rollers are rolling over the type and not sliding. If it is sliding, how does one fix that?

Thanks for much for the help.

Which C&P New Style press are you using?

A few initial thoughts.

Do you have a roller height gauge to measure the height and evenness of the rollers?

Cold press. You may consider also running a candle (or several) under the ink disk. In my cold garage, I also place the ink can in use on a very very mild heat to keep it usable.

You’ll definitely want to make sure you are printing on an uncoated. Not sure what results you’ll get on coated.

Rollers can slide if the tracks are not clean (rosin has been recommended as a solution if trucks are slipping) or the saddles not lubricated; if the trucks are not the same diameter as the rollers, the roller can slip relative to the form (roller-slur). With worn tracks there is a balance between adjustments to track height and truck diameter, and positive contact with the form. With a good mag plate things aren’t quite as critical as with photopolymer plates, but some mag plates have a broad slope that inks easily when rollers are low.

I’d agree with parallel_imp. The edges of your text work looks really over-inked, while the center inking is splotchy. You are probably striking your plate with low rollers, which is wiping the ink from the plate as it travels. Then, if you try to correct it with more or less ink, your results will never look as good as they would with rollers at the correct height…

I experienced similar “picking” (uneven printing with white spots) and ended up breaking an arm on my Kelsey trying to get a good impression. It did indeed turn out to be the temperature. I agree with keeping the ink table nice and warm and being sure the ink can or tube has been at room temperature at least a day ahead of time.

“Picking” is when fibers or coating are pulled off the sheet onto the form and rollers by tacky ink, leaving voids.