Kluge inking problems…rollers maybe?

I have a Kluge 12x18, use Van Son Rubber based inks and boxcar polymer plates for reference.

When I’m printing with my kluge, my plate inking is all over the place. I have four rubber rollers and I’ve adjusted my rail height using the plastic tape from Nagraph. I set the rail height slighly high and then build up my form.

I’ll get 30 wonderful prints, then the bottom half of my plate stops inking. I’ll slide a half sheet of paper under the form. Get another 20 prints, the top half stops printing. I remove the 1/2 sheet and add a full sheet, I get 20 great prints, then the rollers start inking the base of the plate (below the type). It’s all over the place!! What am I missing?

I just can’t get consistent inking on my plate….the low and high spots move!

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my only guess on this is a rollers issue….

To much packing under the form = too much roller pressure = ink on the base.

Is your image a large solid? Maybe you’re ghosting. Rider rollers will help if you have them.

Are your trucks in good condition and all the same diameter?

What condition is the press in? I once ran a worn Kluge that would periodically slip out of impression when die-cutting, leaving partially cut sheets. This could also happen when printing deep impression. Look at the parts that lock during impression. Check for grease or oil where it shouldn’t be. Also check for paper where it shouldn’t be. Try holding the throwout lever in impression and see if the problem goes away - that would indicate worn parts, like the compression spring on the throwout lever.

casmit, I started printing letterpress in 1980, I was taught
at trade school never ever put any thing behind the form.
Not even a tissue. It’s a bad habit and I have seen advice
given here at briarpress to put washers under a chase
that is to thin to be held in place??? I would suspect the trucks as sharecropper mentioned. The rail height should be set at type high, nothing behind the form, and trouble shoot from there. best james

seems like I was just starving the press of ink. I ran a few jobs today with a little heavier ink than usual and everything ran nice.

Thx for all the input.

James, “never put anything behind the form” is the sort of thing one tells a student, so they don’t get lazy, but it also assumes accurate material and equipment. The reality of makeup and presswork is much different, especially with the worn equipment now in use. Unless one is using photopolymer or other plates exclusively (and has full control of the processs), form variations are common. Underlays are sometimes a necessary part of makeready and have been for a long time, and the literature documents the practice.
A low form element needs to be underlaid; and sometimes when a specific element in a form needs a lot of extra packing for solid impression, on a cylinder press you may split the excess between packing and underlay (or interlay). And you protect the bed from cutting/creasing rule with an underlay or bedplate.
Of course, it must always be done carefully and in a way that doesn’t disturb the lockup or introduce other problems.

I run a commercial letterpress shop, 2 windmills a 12x18 kluge and a 10x15 c&p, i never tape the rails, i always tape the trucks, for a quick makeresdy i will pack behind the form. who’s to say what is right or wrong, everyone has a different take on makeready. Dick G.

You don’t want soft materials of any kind behind your type (this encourages work-up and shifting within the form), but if you have a worn sort you should do what is necessary to bring it’s surface into the same plane as the rest of the form at .918. I saw a good old-timer’s trick recently to do this which involved a gentle blow from a hammer to the lower side of the type body and a quick check with the type high gauge. A couple of taps and checks in the gauge and that low sort is as usable as it’s ever going to be.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY