Inking issues, cold weather?

The weather was pretty good for a while and just the other day dropped considerably into normal winter fare. I went to do some printing and was surprised at how cold the machine was and how it affected the way it handled.

When I inked up to print some Christmas cards, the roller only picked up half of the ink - the two inches closest to the edge of the barrel remained untouched, while the next two inches in picked up fine. I turned the press off and rolled the flywheel until the rollers reached the ink barrel and this time, for some reason, they picked up the ink all the way through.

I decided that the color I had used wasn’t good, though, so I cleaned everything up and used different ink. This time, the rollers didn’t pick up any of the ink at all.

I assumed it had something to do with the cold weather - had the rubber in the rollers condensed? Had a setting been slightly distorted somewhere? It seems like either the rollers have been altered or the ink drum has fallen slightly too low on one side, which may not even be possible, I don’t have any idea. Does anyone have any insight? If I have given a lousy description I would be happy to clarify however I could.


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Ink rollers and ink don’t do well in the cold. When you wash a press if there is any wash left on the press it will not ink up. Some of the older printers told me they would put a candle under the ink disk on their c&p’s to keep it warm. i try to keep my shop at around 60 degrees, if it gets any colder i always have problems printing.

I’m a newbie, but I have been keeping my ink and rollers inside the house, my press is in the garage. I think this helps some. I have thought of keeping a blow dryer to warm up the ink disc.

Not sure what you mean by the “edge of the barrel” (ink drum on a Windmill)? One thing that can be done on a regular C&P is to have candle burning under the ink disk, right behind the chase clamp. Light it before hand to warm the disk and make sure to not leave the inked disk in one spot too long, to prevent the ink from scorching/burning.

On a Windmill, I have a heat lamp (clip on light—or a hanging one would work) over the ink drum. This is one that has to be turned on a few hours beforehand to warm up the drum. A metal tin of ink left under the lamp will warm up quite nicely with this but there is a bigger chance of overheating the ink on the drum if left unattended—do NOT leave you rollers near the lamp (don’t ask).

I have printed with shop air temperatures at freezing and not had too much trouble with printing—drying on the other hand…..

Yes, I’m sorry, I meant the end of the ink drum, not “barrel” - I knew barrel wasn’t the right term when I used it. I will begin by keeping my rollers and ink inside the house, and seeing if that helps. If I am still having problems I will invest in a heat lamp and install it over the drum.

Thank you for the advice.

Keeping the rollers and ink disk in the house is a great idea. I’ve done it myself before I moved the Kelsey into the basement. Putting a heatsource near the press also works well. However, be careful in doing this. My brother put a space heater near his press one time but had it too close or too high and it melted the composition rollers off the cores.