(Closed) Letterpress Ink – Bleeds or Clumps – help!

posted 7 years ago in Paper
Post # 5
Member
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@CrystalBlackheart: oops … maybe I should have actually read the previous post.

Can you post a close-up of one of the bad prints so we can see what the problem is?

I was thinking about what your problem could be and it really sounds like an over inking issue – it isn’t necessarily the hardness of the brayer that matters it’s how you ink the plates and how much ink is on them.  I highly highly suggest reading the Boxcar Blog post and using the “type high” inking rails that they suggest — platen and flat-bed letterpresses already have those rails built in. 

Essentially the L Letterpress mimics a proof press not really intended for large runs and since you are applying ink yourself the inking consistency will vary a lot … Once you get your set-up correct try cleaning the plates every 2 or 3 rounds.

 

Post # 6
Member
5 posts
Newbee

I have not used this product but have a lot of experience in general printmaking.  I agree with the other post-ers that this sounds like an ink issue – you always want to make sure you are appling the ink to the plate in multiple, very thin layers. 

This is really hard to explain but I will try my best.  Do you have other brayers?  A soft one will hold more ink and it sounds like you want less.  If your brayer is making a “squish-squish” noise when you are rolling it through your ink you definately have too much on your brayer.  The rolled out ink should appear satiny, not puckered.  This will give you a nice even layer to then apply to your plate.

Your plate will be ready to print when the surface is evenly coated, but again, not “puckered”.  The ink should not appear wet – it should just have an even sheen.  Hold it up to the light to get a good look. 

I think once you have success with inking up the plate it will be easy to find the right pressure.  Just remember your formula to get consistant results (ex: I rolled my brayer 7 times through the ink, I applied 6 layers to my plate, I used pressure “soft”).

In my experience, speedball is a fine ink to use and will dry much faster than any oil ink.  Oil is tough to use, clean, and may not be archival depending on what kind of paper you are using.

Also, sorry to keep going on and on and on but what kind of paper are you using?  Your ink could be running because your paper is not actually absorbing the ink as much as it should.  You should only be using 100% cotton rag papers for this project.  Anything artificial or plasticy will reject the ink.

Post # 7
Member
14 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Hi, what kind of paper are you using?  You should try to use letterpress paper that is usually 100% cotton rag like Crane Lettra, Somerset or Crest.  When I use harder paper like watercolor paper, it’s a hit or miss in terms of how clean the print comes out if i’m trying to go for a deep impression.  And I’m using a letterpress press, not a hobby press. 

You should also stick with letterpress ink or at least offset ink if possible.  Speedball ink will definitely not work (too thin), and i’ve never tried lifestyle ink before.  I’m usually using Vanson or Gan’s ink. 

Do you have any pictures of what’s happening?

Post # 9
Member
43 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: February 2012

Did you try the brayer in the box yet? 🙂 

Post # 9
Member
43 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: February 2012

Did you try the brayer in the box yet? 🙂 

Post # 11
Member
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

The speedball ink is not a letterpress ink … I highly recommend that you hit up NA Graphics get some tubes and mix to get your desired color.

You’re not going to need a load of ink.

Here is the link to NA Graphics Ink page: http://order.nagraph.com/ink.html

Also – Can you post a picture of the results so we can see what’s going wrong?

Post # 12
Member
14 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Be careful when you try to fold cotton paper, it can tear at the fold.  You’ll want to score it first.  You can get something like this which will help you score thicker 110#+ paper like the Lettra:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002FW6BSQ

If you don’t have something to score with, then you’ll want to make sure you fold with the grain, not against the grain. 

And I agree with CrystalBlackheart, speedball isn’t letterpress ink. 

Post # 13
Member
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I just read this closer … but this quote – “But even the cleanest ones I’ve made have ink irregularities.  For example, one line seems to be thicker than the other, when they should be the same width.”

still tells me you are over inking … the ink needs to be very very  thin when you roll it on

Post # 15
Member
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I agree with previous posters – probably too much ink! (if you are using roller guides) 

Use a viscous (ie. sticky) ink – Caligo Safe Wash Relief ink is great and has a much easier cleanup compared to many other inks. You literally only need to roll out a dime sized amount of ink with a soft rubber brayer. 

Cotton paper is a must. If you want folded, try Holyoke Press – note that the thicker stock is literally half sliced, not scored (because it is so thick it will not fold.) Paper Source has some cotton options now too in their note card section. 

 

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