Ink on edges of ornaments…

hi, i am new to letterpess. i have a kelsey excelsior tabletop press. i normally only ever press text, but lately have been trying to use some ornaments as well, and am finding that the edges are getting ink on them and its all looking very, very messy. on some, i stopped every second press and wiped the ink of the edges, but as you can imagine, this is very boring…i thought it was just this one specific ornament, so today i tried all the other ones, and it seems to be a consistent problem. is there any way that the ornaments are too high?! any help would be GREATLY appreciated! (i am using oil based ink)

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If the Ornaments are European in origin, it may well be that they are higher than your text type (if it is American or English). Is everything else set up as it was for printing the text images?

Another thing to consider is whether the rollers are turning before they hit the ornament. Kelsey rollers may not be keyed to the trucks, so they may not turn until they hit the type form. If you had a larger form of text and just a single ornament line, it could be the rollers are stalling just a bit when they hit the ornament and overinking the edge they hit first. With the type form, you may have had a similar thing happening, but only at the very edge of the form, with most of it inked properly.

It might be good to see a photo to compare your results on the type form and the ornaments.

John Henry

thank you so much, john henry! i am pretty certain (though not 100%) that the ornaments are american. everything is set up just as it was for text based printing (i did not know it should be adjusted- should it be adjusted?!)). i think you might have hit the nail on the head with the rollers hitting the edge and over inking - they are not keyed to the trucks. does this mean that the problem is the actual press itself? (in that, its not a very good one?!). i will certainly upload a couple of photos of the problem in the next day or two - real work schedule permitting!. until then, thank you SO very much for the speedy answer…

Sounds like slurring and your rails might need to be taped to bring up the rollers?


I have one press with the trucks not keyed to the roller shafts, and I run a wide wood or metal rule (type-high) locked up along one edge of the chase to keep the rollers turning at the proper rate so they won’t slur at the edge of the form. Of course, that would not work if the rule falls in an area where the printing sheet would be as it will leave a very big mark.

cmcgarr is correct in pointing out that it is critical to have the rollers set at the proper height as well.

thank you all for the answers and help/suggestions! so sorry i have been so late in responding- i think i have fixed the issue by getting some roller bearers…im also going to tape the trucks…
thank you all again, i really appreciate it!