onion skin (onionskin) paper & ink drying

I recently came upon some old stationery (envelope) that appears to be made of onionskin paper.
I have attempted to duplicate the envelope with Southworth 9lb. paper with a plain cockle finish.
The paper was printed on both a C&P and Damon&Peets press with very nice impressions.
However, after a day the ink is still slightly tacky to the touch. This is the same with all three dozen prints that were made with type ranging in size from 18pt. to 24.pt.
The ink seems to be getting drier slowly but surely, but not as fast as with other cotton paper I have used. I could smear with a finger if I applied some pressure.
Is this normal? Might it have something to do with the paper itself?….low cotton fiber content?
The packing was adjusted so that a full “kiss” impression was made…no indent.
Thanks in advance for any and all observations and advice.

Log in to reply   9 replies so far

Are you printing with rubber base ink?
Rubber base ink dries mostly by absorption and some by oxidation.
Oil base ink dries mostly by oxidation and some by absorption.
Oil base ink is best when printing on coated stock. Your stock is not coated, but may be slick enough to resist absorption.

I agree with Inky. The Southworth paper may well have a fair amount of internal sizing, which would cut down on absorption. Does the Southworth box or wrapping say anything else about the paper, like if it is bond? Bond paper has a hard surface suitable for writing (with an old style fountain pen). When using that type of pen which has liquid ink, the surface of bond paper keeps the liquid from absorbing into the paper, and feathering out from the pen lines.

Many moons ago when I was an apprentice I used to run onion skin and airmail paper through verticals and Thompson platens, cobolt drier was always used because of oxidation on hard paper

Inky and Geoffrey….
The Southworth paper is no longer made…a found a box of 500 sheets on Ebay.
The box says 25% cotton fiber, cockle finish. Ideal for typewriters, offset printing, fountain pens.
I no nothing about offset printing. Would this help in choosing a better ink such as “oil base” as you have recommended?
The ink that I used was “rubber base”. It remains a bit tacky, but only slightly less than yesterday.
I will secure some oil base ink and proceed from there.
Thanks for your recommendations.

“know nothing”….duh

Corroborating the good buddy above, (Rroddi) with a little additional snippet, i.e. it would have been *Paste Driers* presumably the fore-runner of Cobolt drier(s)

Our Art suppliers, Sussex, U.K. in business for a long long time!! are well up to speed with most aspects of Letterpress problems.

One brief E mail may well prove very fruitful.

[email protected]

Rroddi, Yes we found that the Thomson was/still is the best bar none, in auto feed form, for Onion Skin and Air Mail, (as opposed to Heidelberg,s) because of the action for feeding I.E. it (the stock) was picked up by the sucker bar and fed straight down the Platen and then gripped out, meaning there was no draught following, to fold the Onion skin up.

Might be of use to any new Devotees.!!

Cobalt driers is the answer to getting the ink to dry on onion skin type stocks but take care if you wish to overprint, too much driers and the overprint will not take. Paste driers was always the general preference as this was less likely to cause the ink to rub off where as it could with cobalt driers.

Cobalt drier needs to be stirred/mixed thoroughly,
before being mixed into the ink. best james

You can also buy special inks with driers already mixed into them for just such specialty papers. Used to print labels on a polypropelene stock and used inks labeled as “Oxi-Bind”.