Van Son Rubber Based Ink in Canada

Hi there,

I am a super new owner of a C&P Pilot Press in Toronto Canada and I was directed to NA Graphics to purchase the inks. I was told to buy Van Son Ink but they don’t carry that brand.

I am looking for Van Son rubber based inks. Does anyone knows where can I find this brand or if you can recommend a good brand to use that I can purchase in Canada? Or close.

Thanks so much!

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Try Don Black. if he don’t sell it they probably don’t make it. Shipping from the US to Canada will be more expensive than buying in Canada.

Also, keep in mind that despite what may have been recommended, most any offset printing ink should work well for you. While Van Son certainly makes quality inks, so do many other manufacturers. And although rubber based ink has some advantages (as well as some disadvantages) and some folks prefer it, oil based ink will do the job equally well (in some cases better), is more widely available, and comes in a wider variety of formulas and colors. In other words, don’t limit yourself. Find out what ink local (offset) printers are using and where to get it locally, and try some.

Ernest Green and Son distributes Van Son. I’m in Winnipeg and whenever I order rubber base from them they say it comes from Toronto, so you should be able to get it in short order.

I have gotten Van Son inks at XPEDX in Brampton, and what they don’t have in stock, they can order. They also have a store in Markham. They also have paper, and I have spent quite a bit of time strolling around and looking at all of it, which is interesting.

As mentioned above, you should be able to get it from Ernest Green & Son as well. They are in Mississauga.

We recently purchased some Van Son inks - we went directly to Van Son’s web site to find out what was available. You can order on-line or call their customer service department. We received the ink in 3 - 4 days and it included a special order by PMS color.

Dave is certainly correct regarding the advantages and disadvantages of rubber based and oil based inks. I believe I am remembering correctly that rubber base ink dries by absorption and oil based ink dries by oxidation (evaporation?). So if the paper you are using is coated stock, rubber based ink probably won’t absorb (dry) like you want it to dry. Same situation if you are printing a second color ink on top of an area already covered (sealed) by an initial color.

Hi Deborah,

I purchased my inks from Ernest Green and Son in Mississauga. I compared prices against XPEDX and EG&S were cheaper in most cases (e.g. ink A might have been slightly higher at XPEDX while ink B was higher at EG&S…but for the Pantone base colours I was ordering, EG&S was cheaper overall).

Shipping cost was low enough that I didn’t even consider driving from Kitchener to Mississauga to pick up my order of 16 ink cans. The catch is (if I recall correctly) a minimum order size.

Good luck,

Great!!! Thanks so much to everyone!!! I will look into these places for sure!!

I will probably use uncoated paper most of the time so I think rubber base will work well for me.

Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

Hi all,

I had a heck of a time finding oil based Vanson Ink on the Westcoast, but Focus Pre-press in Surrey can get it in.


Re the drying of Oil Based commercial trade Inks, in fact they almost always had a three part drying method, & would you credit - the recipe varied a trifle with the pigment properties!, remember oil inks were made from three components, pigment powder, vehicle and solvent.
From the treacly stiff stage in the duct, once onto the paper
in the layer a few microns thick, first the solvent component flashed off, evaporating to the atmosphere almost instantly, then a vehicle component partly absorbed into the paper stock, and finally what remained dried much more slowly by combining with oxygen in the air, this last ‘oxidation’ depending a bit on how warm the day was, and also a little by how much moisture the air was already holding. Any added driers ( often cobalt or lead pthalate) only affected this last. I know nothing whatever about rubber based.

Ernest Green is now Cansel. I buy my rubber base ink from them in Canada

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The “What is rubber base ink anyway?” question has been bothering me for a while. According the Van Son’s SDS:

Rubber Base Plus is a non-oxidizing ink, containing (by weight):

15-25% Pigment
20-40% Synthetic Resins
10-30% Petroleum Distillates
20-30% Linseed and Soy Oil
2-5% Polymeric Wax Blend

Percentage Volatiles By Weight: 14-20%

The inclusion of linseed oil is a bit in conflict with their categorization of non-oxidizing. By comparing to the SDS for one of Van Son’s oxidizing inks, part of the differentiating factor seems to be the inclusion of cobalt and manganese and driers in the oxidizing inks. Which is of course entirely logical.

I gargled on a bunch of patents, and it seems “rubber based” means that the ink contains a portion of either natural or synthetic latex; probably this material makes up a portion of the “synthetic resins” constituent. Maybe.

A more descriptive SDS for a different brand of “rubber base” ink makes no mention of any kind of “rubber” constituent, but does reference numerous vaguely titled “varnishes”. I suppose these days “rubber base” is just a euphemism for “synthetic” or “polymer” or “resin”.

Perhaps someone with more than a passing acquaintance on the subject can weigh in.

For Keelan above:

Here’s what I believe after being in the printing industry, including R&D, production, and teaching, for around 50 years.

The major conventional printing processes use two types of inks: paste inks which are used in letterpress and offset (litho), and fluid inks which are used in flexography and gravure.

Printing inks are made of 3 groups of components: colorant, vehicle and additives. The colorant can be pigments, dyes, or a combination. The vehicle is composed of resins dissolved in solvents. The resins and solvents are chosen for many reasons which include drying rate, printability (how well they print on a press), and many other reasons. (The vehicle is what some people call varnish). Additives are used to give the ink certain desired properties such as dryers, waxes (for rub resistance), substances to make the ink more or less slippery, etc..

Getting back to paste inks, they can dry by one of two processes. The first is absorption, where the inks “dry” by being absorbed into the sheet. The resins and additives in absorptive drying inks absorb into the sheet at different rates. When printed, the thinner, more fluid components in the ink absorb into the sheet first. This leaves the thicker, heavier components on the surface of the sheet, and because of this, the ink appears to be mostly dry. Over time, the heavier solvents and resins also mostly absorb, and the ink is as dry as it is going to get. With inks that ONLY dry by absorbtion, like newspaper inks, you can still rub it off long after the newspaper was printed.

The second paste ink drying process is oxidation-polymerization. In this process, the ink vehicle reacts with the oxygen in the air and forms a solid skin, which eventually goes down through the entire ink film and solidifies it. This is the polymerization process, where the smaller molecules in the ink, after printing, react with the oxygen in the air and link together into bigger and bigger and bigger molecules.

Now, referring to our inks, our inks are composed of both absorptive drying inks and oxidation-polymerization drying inks. What we call rubber base inks are mostly absorptive drying, but do have a small capability of oxidation-polymerization drying at the end of the drying process to finish. (This little bit of oxidation-polymerization drying is the principal reason why we can’t rub off rubber base inks as easily as we can rub the inks off a newspaper).

What we call oil base inks, principally dry by oxidation-polymerization. However, they also have some solvents and resins which absorb into the sheet when printed, like rubber base inks have. The absorption of some of the thinner solvents and resins helps to make the ink thicker right away, before the oxidation-polymerization process can harden the ink. This helps to keep the ink from off-setting on the backs of sheets in the delivery pile on the press.

If you have any other questions, I would be happy to try to answer them.

From my college class “Ink & Paper” at RIT, the rubber base ink is indeed denoted by the use of modified resins. Oil based inks use more traditional resins from linseed and other oils. The linseed oil in the Van Son formula might be there to provide some modicum if drying in air.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press