inking on a poco

Hey All,

I know the subject of impression has come up quite a bit, and I have been reading over a lot of it before posting this… I’m sure there is a super simple solution to my problem, but I just can’t figure it out.

I’m hand-inking using a rubber brayer on a Poco Proof Press. The image is approx. 5x7 on a magnesium plate. I’m using Holyoke paper (which I haven’t used before) and Faust Ink (an ink I am trying out and haven’t used too many times).

The title is on the bottom of the plate. The top print was done with the text running perpendicular to the cylinder, the bottom print I flipped the plate so the text is running parallel. And yet the same problem is occurring of the ascenders and descenders inking differently from the rest.

I’ve tried backing of the packing, since I’m hand-inking I’ve alternated the direction in which I’m inking, I’ve tried different paper and a different brayer.

I haven’t tried roller bearers or changing the ink (has anyone tried adding magnesium carbonate to water-based inks?)…


image: vw2.jpg


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I would try regular printing ink, i think your problem is water based ink. Dick G.

You also have to remember that as with any press, the less printing area the more pressure applied to the area that is printing. With a cylinder the printing area is a narrow line where the cylinder contacts the printing surface, so your long ascenders are printing by themselves and getting a lot more pressure than the lc-x-height characters when they are printing. You can do a lot of makeready with this or print it on a platen with less of this problem but for deep impression with this kind of art you will need to underlay or overlay, or both.


It looks like you are inking not just the surface of the plate, but also some of the shoulder. I think that ink bearers and/or a harder durometer hand roller will be helpful.

Also make sure that you have just a thin film of ink on the brayer. If there is texture or it makes a lot of tacky noise when you roll it on your pallet then you have too much.

If you are looking for a good book I would suggest getting a copy of Printing On The Iron Handpress by Rummonds. You’d be surprised how much crosses over between a press like the Poco and the old hand presses. It’s incredibly cheap on right now.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

I think you will find more success with different ink. I have used the Faust colors for some large background printing, but when seeking to reproduce the fairly fine lines of your copy, the ink doesn’t have the viscosity or tack that is required. If you have or can borrow a dollop[ of standrad printing ink, I think you will fare better. The idea of some sort of roller bearer is a good one, however, and will keep you from applying too much pressure at the edges of the image, which can drive the ink off the image edges.

Thanks everyone for the responses.

I would LOVE to be printing these on my Pilot, but I’m still in the process of fixing my problem with the handle, and I need to get these printed.

I ordered some Vanson ink, and I’m going to look into the Rummonds book- it sure has dropped in price!

The faust ink was working great when my garage/basement was colder, but now that it’s warming up (I’m in Georgia) the ink has quite a different consistency.

I have a feeling this would require a painful amount of makeready, though I wouldn’t be against it accept that there are certain areas that will print fine one time and awful the very next time.

I’ll get close one of these times!