Water based inks on a Vandercook?

Anyone have experience using water based inks on a vandercook? I’ve used oil based for my prints for over 20 years now but am curious about water based mainly to speed up my dry times between colors. Ive ordered some sample sizes of Graphic Chemicals water soluble relief ink line to experiment with myself but if anyone has any info or recommendations Id love to hear them. Thanks

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Just spoke with the *Van Son* Agents in the U.K.
There advice is basically, that Water Based Inks are for use with Flexographic orientated Machines.?? and far too thin for letterpress use, did ask were (from a long time ago) *paste driers* as an option, apparently not… Apologies, we tried.!!

Have seen water based ink used on heidelberg cylinders for packaging. Cannot leave as long as oil based ink before it dries on the rollers. Take care when cleaning up to get rollers dry or steels will go rusty !!

I should think the Graphic Chemical or Calico inks will work fine, and also will clean up with EITHER solvent OR a soapy water mixture- but I would not recommend getting a soapy water mixture on your press. Metal rusts, and also the rollers will be difficult to get clean. Rubber doesn’t love soap, and you’ll have to basically wipe everything down with oil after you’re done (or at the least, Kerosene). Even drying it out all the way will not prevent rust FYI, you need an oily coating otherwise you’re just degreasing the whole system.

I also want to point something out- There is an important distinction to be made:

is not
Water BASED.

Some people are assuming you’d be using an ink that might contain water; the brand you’re pointing out is actually an oil based ink which is water soluble. If you were to use speedball’s original line of water soluble block printing ink, that’d be more similar to what they’re talking about with packaging ink and flexo ink.

From a water soluble ink company’s FAQ, “The term water-soluble is used to describe substances that dissolve in water. The term water-based implies that water is amongst the ingredients.”

Water Soluble ink can still be made from the same vehicle it was produced with before- oil based, namely linseed oil or vegetable oil. However, the binder of the ink- the oil- has been chosen for it’s water soluble properties.
Caligo- for example- uses “Flax Oil” in their inks, which gives the ink a water soluble property.
Akua, on the other hand, uses a non-water soluble ink in their intaglio inks- but one which WILL break down with soap.
If you plan to ever print with dampened paper, a water soluble ink would be a poor choice, and is why Akua- which makes ink designed to print etchings and intaglio prints VIA dampened paper/etching press- makes their ink as such.

Thanks for the responses everyone! Ive received my sample inks from graphic chemical and will be running some tests in the studio. Ill report back with my findings for anyone interested.