Advice using a Vandercook 099 Proof Press

Hey all.
I just purchased a Vandercook 099 Proofpress ( It is in great working condition and has been well taken care of. I have experience with a Vandercook press but not this one. I have to ink the plate by hand and then place the paper on the form (it did not come with the optional paper loader). Does anyone have any advice or technique they could hare? . I started with rubber based ink and quickly realized I should be using oil based, but I am not getting a good impression at all.

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When you say you are not getting a good impression, do you mean the print is not sufficiently clear, or do you mean you are not getting the deep impression that is common these days.
On the models that are not geared, but rather rely on gravity, etc for the impression, it is not likely you will be able to achieve a great amount of deep impression.
you could also try posting on:
to see if anyone has specific advice for those models.
good luck

This press was designed to proof type matter tied up in a galley, so in order to get a good impression, you will have to build up the typeform by either putting it on a galley, or by putting .050” of material behind the form. Ideally this would be cold rolled steel of that thickness, but aluminum would work or even hard-finish cardboard which may have to be replaced occasionally as it becomes dented from use.

Thanks for the advice. So, to clarify, I am using either felt (as recommended) or a stack of paper on top of the paper to increase the pressure of the roller as it glides over the form. I have tried this with out inking and I do get a good even, deep impression. But when I actually ink it the impression is not clear. Either it is spotty or uneven or does not come out at all. Could it be my inking technique?

Thanks again, this has been very helpful!

Inking technique is critical; without a good brayer or roller, and roller supports, you won’t get crisp inking. Felt is just for rough proofing on rolling pin presses. But putting all that material over the form instead of under it is also a problem. As jhenry says, it is a galley height press. Putting .050” plus your extra packing for impression over the form will result in a sliding mass that will slur the impression. Just piling that stuf on top will cause slur, and then the cylinder movement may compound the problem.

The roller itself will provide a good surface for impression. Using felt, you will be making a far too soft surface, which will deform too much to get good sharp printing of detail. Use cardboard under the form to bring it up to the proper height if metal sheeting is not available to you. I didn’t see anyone recommend felt.

As parallel says, ink carefully. If you can just ink the face of the type form, the image will be sharper and more distinct.