Heatset letterpress inks?

I have just acquired a few tins of what is labelled as a “Heatset letterpress ink”.
The brand is Citoketta from Sweden but I have had no luck tracing them.
Has anyone use a heatset L/P ink, and if so how is the heat applied?

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Heatset inks were used on web presses with ovens for drying the ink. Thus, heat set. I’ve seen some neat fires when the web breaks.

I use some heatset inks, but find I need to add a bit of drier to the inks if printing on Index or coated stock. The inks will dry on absorbant stock fairly well without added drier.

Test it out on the stock you intend to use, and let it dry overnight. Then do a rub test with you thumb and see the the ink has properly set. If it has not, add a small amount of drier to the ink. I just noticed someone selling cobalt drier on eBay, or if you can find it locally a paste drier works very well.

I can remember some sheetfed cylinder presses having flames underneath them to help dry the ink. That has been decades ago. I imagine OSHA put the kybosh on that. Those were offset presses. Don’t know that I have ever seen a letterpress set up with a heating unit to dry the ink.

There are also inks that dry under ultraviolet light.


When I was a kid delivering newspapers, the web-fed flatbed cylinder press that the paper was printed on had a gas open-flame dryer section on it. I can remember several times when they had to stop the press because of a tear in the web or something and the paper in the dryer would immediately go up in flames — one person was stationed there to grab the paper out of the dryer before it set fire to something bigger! That was always kind of exciting!


i remember a shop near my home had a meihle horizontal, it was huge and it had the gas flame the sheet was dragged thru to dry it. My meihle vertical v-50 had the pipe for the gas dryer, never hooked it up, fire and paper scares me. Dick G.

I currently run two V-50s and a Miller simplex that all have gas flame driers. sometimes we feed a job printed offset through to get them dry for rush orders. and you have to be very alert when running them and watch for misfeeds or things get exciting fast.

Wow, its sounds like these inks are a bit of a handfull. I was hoping it was something as simple as passing them under a UV light, which I have for polymer plates. I’ll give them a try and see what heating option works best. Thanks all for your replies.