Where can I buy letterpress ink in Atlantic Canada?

Here on the Fundy Coast up to our @#$% in snow; stricken with cabin fever we suddenly find ourselves in dire need of (hopefully acrylic) ink to set up and test our ‘new’ Hohner.

Should we order in from, like, ‘Tron-a;’ or shovel out the dogs and sled on over to your place for a cup-a?


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G’day Jim;

Which Fundy Coast are you on? —- New Brunswick or Nova Scotia? Not that it makes much difference as far as ink goes. I’m in Fredericton. I, too, have been looking into inks. I know of nobody using acrylic based inks —- only traditional oil based, vegetable oil based, and rubber based, although the ‘Letterpress Gang’ at NSCAD in Halifax might be using something different. I’ve been using a bit of both —- traditional oil and rubber based —- with most of them not specifically ‘letterpress’ inks but also offset. What I am using I’ve acquired from various people getting rid of the odd can or two. However, the only local source for such things(and I am in the process of dealing with them)are Ariva in Dartmouth. The sales rep I was put onto(and met at the Wayzgoose at Gaspereau Press) is Lisa Mosher and the phone number at Ariva is 902-468-6323. Best of luck to you…..cheers…….David Brewer(Rabbittown Press)

Gee thanks, David!

We are over in Hillsborough watching the Tidal Bore go by the window. If you pass on your way to Fundy Park, look for the cedar shingle place on the riverside with the black iron fish as you top the hill. Come in for tea and share in the first of the Kubler-Ross letterpress life stages: the one where you ogle the thing and wonder what to do with it.


you do not need letterpress ink

most any offset ink will work fine

is there a offset job shop
within easy distance

most small job shops will be more
than willing to give, loan or sell
you some ink to get started

yours truly

Heh heh. There’s no great letterpress ink source in TO, either. I ended up ordering from the “Ink in Tubes” guy.

If you are truly desperate, check out the art stores’ printmaking sections and pay a premium. Or, as suggested, bum off someone with an offset rig (and, while you’re at it, ask about old presses. You’d be amazed at what is lurking around out there, especially away from the big cities.)

Hey, good tips guys!

So disappointing to have my ‘TO’ ink confidence bubble burst to smithereens. Out east we have revered Toronto as the source of all good ever since Johnny Bower was in net for the ‘Leafs’s.

If nothing acrylic surfaces, we will probably default to the ‘Tubes Guy’ to at least get ourselves going.

The wife makes one-off handmade books. I think we are attempting a crossover of print and hand illustration on short runs, under 10 copies. So the temptation to wash everything up with water and avoid oil and chemical smells in the existing art and paper space is strong.

thanks all,

I had similar thoughts at first, but have been pleasantly surprised by oil-based ink. All three of my kids have severe sensitivities to chemicals and volatiles, like perfumes and scents (and each of them reacts differently, and to different things, so we tend to be able to gauge the whole spectrum). Also, we print in our living space, and so have to be careful what we allow inside.

I have used oil-based ink for awhile, and have never had any issue with reactions, and the smells are minimal. For clean up I have successfully used crisco-and-newsprint-on-the-ink-table, followed up with odour-free mineral spirits (disposing of rags outside, obviously). Any inky smells are gone within a day or so.

Hi D, good tip on the oil based, but we may have just found what we were looking for. Niel at the Art Supply Store in HFX suggested Van Son Holland acrylic ink through Presstek in Mississauga (near Tron-a.) The number is 1-800-387-3143. ask for Roland (a real nice guy,) is shipping us some.
thanks all,