roller bearers

am getting a cylinder proofing press soonish, also use Albion/Columbian. re 18 pt brass ruling to support inking rollers on the machine and by hand, should it be dome headed to avoid damaging machine rollers , and bar for hand inking in the form in the hand presses?? Cheers folks.

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The face of the rule should be flat (full face of 18pts). If you wish, you could bevel the very end of the rule face so the rollers don’t hit a hard edge there, but that should not be necessary unless the rollers are very much out of adjustment.

On the Albion or Columbian, you would be hand inking, and the same 18pt rule will work well as roller supports outside your image area.

Some people cut away the packing in the area where the roller supports would print so they do not bear off impression. I have also added some plastic sheeting or tape on the frisket where the bearers hit so ink can be wiped off and not soak into the frisket covering. I have noticed some folks using tapes on the frisket frame, but I was taught to stretch and glue dampened paper to the frame and cut out the image areas.

The inking bearers can be removed after inking if they slip into the form slightly loosely, but that is a lot of extra fumbling and would dirty the fingers if there is only one operator during printing.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Very much appreciated John Henry, I will discover( as I’m learning more and more letterpress from a veey basic level) whether all these things will make printing more easy/straightforward/foolproof/guaranteed/more complicated, all these kinds of things…!
At the moment tympan is faced with acetate/mylar to easily wipe off ink, it isn’t not easy compromising what I really want to do and coping with students printing, I’ll have to seriously practice in their holidays, unless of course anyone wants to donate a small Hoe or Albion for my own personal use in Uk…….hmmm, wishful thinking or spend the pension funds………oops, better not….!
Thanks again for your reply and I always enjoy reading your posts..

Hello Jonathan - Here is a simple suggestion. It is a trick I use when using roller bearers. Get a piece of 3/4 inch plywood about 3 inches longer than the covering on your roller and about the length of the top platen on your albion (handpress, whatever) rip two strips of 3/4 inch wood plank so that you have two pieces about 3/4 x 1 inch that are exactly the length of your plywood (top platen). center your roller on the plywood (1 1/2 in. each side. Place one strip parallel with the plywood and about 1/2 inch from the edge and nail it in place. Move your roller over until there is a 1/16 in. gap between the covering and the strip you nailed down. Now place the other strip parallel with the other edge of the plywood and 1/16 from your roller covering and nail it down. You now have a guide for your roller. Cut a piece of 1/4 in.plexiglass that is the lenth of the plywood and the width of the gap between the roller bearers minus about 3/4 of an inch. Glue the plexiglass down in the exact middle of the plywood. Let it dry. Take a smaller roller and distribute the ink evenly on the plexiglass. Now take the long roller, fit it inside your two guides and gently take up the ink and center the inked roller on your bearers. There will be no ink on the roller where the bearers are…only ink where your form is locked up. Keep charging your inking pleiglass form as you print and you never have to wipe the ink off of the bearers….I, personally, use a lift-off cover on each of my roller bearers. When the covers are in place the top of the cover is type-high. When I remove the covers the bearers are below type-high and do not emboss the paper. I can print a bigger sheet/border by doing that.

that is very very interesting Ke, thank you very much indeed I will certainly give that a go.