Hey all! thanks in advance for any help. this might be a no-brainer but here goes.
So far I’ve only printed using light-ish colored inks ( medium grey, light blue, warm red, gold). my press has printed them beautifully.tonight I tried to print something with a very large area of ink, with black ink, photopolymer plates. the print was not what I was expecting. it printed evenly and crisply, but it was sort of blotchy and not as dark/rich as I would have liked. I have a c&p new style 10x15. is this quality of print to be expected when printing such large areas? I was bummed.
I’ve printed in black once before, but it was a very tiny amount of text. came out just fine.
I will also mention that it’s probably 50 degrees or less in my garage where I’m printing. not sure if that affects how the plates grab the ink?
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How even is the ink distributed on your Ink disk?
We responding wizards would like to give you the one step magic solution, but do not have electronic vision to see your press. Thus we are best guessing. Please either show a photo or give us the dimensions of the solid you are trying to print. Unless it is huge, your press should print it well.
Ink gets less happy the lower the temperature gets below about 58. Some keep ink and rollers in the house in winter. May help some. Some put electric heater on ink disk.
Is there adequate ink on the disk? If your hearing is good (mine isn’t) you should just be able to hear it sing. It is a light hiss. Are the rollers good and taking the ink evenly?
Ink the form with several passes of the rollers. Stop press and remove chase to the stone. Examine form with a magnifying glass. Is it well and evenly inked? You can go no further until you get proper inking. Cursing, waving of arms and messing with the packing will do no good.
You may wish to try double inking and/or double hitting. At least the double inking. A solid will strip a lot of ink from the rollers. A single pass across the ink disk may not replenish it enough.
As one of the best guessing, NON wizards I am not in a position to even best guess, but having been lectured over a long time period, by our indigenous equivalent on B.P. to The Jeremy Clarkson, it has been made abundantly clear that genuine letterpress ink virtually requires a mortgage, so litho ink seems to be the norm, (up to a point) could asking this question help? If our man on the spot can be summoned, He will shoot from the hip, with the real deal. Should the type of ink being used be the actual problem????? or is my train of thought too mundane and basic, newbies are obviously keen to go to it and dont always get all of the relevant info, needed to produce the goods, and (possibly) until this situation arises, they dont have to look into the vagaries of which ink they are dealing with. If I have assessed this incorrectly, PLEASE put me right constructively, it will filter down to our up and coming letterpress newbies!!! A lot of whom are not up to speed with B.P. YET?
I am going to guess you are seeing the mottled/salty look of letterpress. Solids are hard to print with out using lots of ink or double rolling. What paper are you printing on?
Temperature and humidity can play a big role in good inking. If possible, heat up the room (or at least, as was suggested, the ink disk area of the press) to a temperature comfortable for you and your ink will respond more favorably.
Anything suggested would be a guess, but you certainly are not giving the ink a fair chance at 50 degrees F.
Hi all, attached is a pic. The size of that image is probably about 4x6. The “salty” look as its called.
-I’m printing on cranes lettra.
-I have tried double inking, even triple inking with no success. I did do a double hit with some success.
-It appears that I have enough ink on my disc, but I will add more and see how it does.
-I’m only using two rollers. I’m missing a saddle on one side so I’m unable to use three. Maybe that’s another contributing factor.
Gonna try to heat the room up as best I can. Forced the hubby to insulate our garage this fall to keep the press warm. I think he hates me now :)
I don’t see that you mentioned what type of ink you are using but you might want to try an additive that increases surface flow.
I use stone litho inks on my Vandercook and that doesn’t really equate with a C&P but Setswell Compound is often used by printmakers to increase the flow of ink across the printing surface of solids without having to reduce the tack (useful on a Vandercook). Though you might want to reduce your viscosity first (especially on a platen).
There is a concurrent thread dealing with this issue.
I keep my Kelsey in the unheated (Canadian) workshop, and haul it inside to print. Temperature makes a huge difference on ink consistency (I’ve been using Caligo oil-based). Sometimes even a few degrees will allow the ink to pass the threshold from stiff to smooth-spreading.
And, as another option to throw in the pot, dampening the paper can make a big difference. Not quite the same as solving the problem, but every little bit helps.
It is difficult to tell from the photo, but are you getting adequate impression on the image? The Lettra paper is so “toothy” that is requires a good deal of impression, particularly when printing such a large solid area. What might work fine for packing for a smallish image must be increased for a larger one.
Dampenign the sheets will also assist with more even inking as D Armstrong indicates.
Photo helps. 4 x 6” is a pretty big solid. Trying that with two rollers is pushing the capabilities of the press, but you should be able to do better than that. Again, I stress that you cannot go any further until you get good inking. Ink the form with several passes and then remove the chase to the stone to examine the inking closely. It must be adequate and uniform. You can go no further until it is.
Does your ink sing on the disk? You don’t want it to sizzle, just a light hiss. I also look for a light texture on the disk and rollers. I call it velvet. Just light velvet.
If you do not get adequate and uniform coverage on the form, you may try one sheet of copy paper under the base.
Place paper under the base. Unlock and relock. Back on the press this will bring the form one paper thickness closer to the rollers. Ink form again with several passes. Remove chase and examine to see if there is any improvement.
Other suggestions about increasing the packing and dampening the stock are good. Lettra is hard to print large solids. See other thread about poor printing on Lettra. That was probably due to picking of fiber from the stock due to the adhesive ink. You may wish to try a harder finish stock.
Frustrating perhaps, but a part of the learning.