Kelsey Ink


After a long winter of my work area being inaccessible due to remodeling, I am now beginning a project of making a small chapbook of a friend’s poetry as a birthday gift.

My C&P Pilot Press has new rollers and I have some type. Regarding ink, the only inks I currently have are some old tubes of Kelsey ink. I think they are probably still usable since the tubes are not hard. (though two of the black tubes have holes in them)

Should I use these inks for this chapbook project or should I get other ink and save these inks for something better suited or when I have more experience?

Are these inks oil-based? After using them, can I clean my type, ink disk and rollers with baby oil?

I am guessing these inks should be used as is and not mixed (not that I will want to mix them). Is that a correct assumption? The colors I have are Black, Green, Deep Red, Brown and Peacock Blue.

Any ideas on how to treat the tubes that have holes? Should I empty all the tubes into other containers?

Any advice will be appreciated.


Photo of the tubes:

image: i_2190.jpg


Log in to reply   3 replies so far

I think the tubes of ink, if you can get ink out of them through the regular openings, would be fine, but I would advise against using baby oil or any other similar stuff for cleanup — your best bet is still a modest application of mineral spirits for washup. The system I use, of sheets of newspaper, cut to size, on the ink disc with a bit of solvent, to dissolve the ink and mop up most of it, followed by wipe-down with a rag, can be done without coming in contact with the solvent, if that’s a concern, and does a fine job of getting things clean. I use 4 sheets of newsprint normally and almost never get any inky solvent on me.


I use old Kelsey ink from hole-ridden tubes all the time. Works quite well, mixes with more modern inks without a hitch. You can even mix rubber and oil without any real adverse effects. Kerosene or Mineral spirits - still work best for cleanup imho. You can use it on on both the form, rollers (composition, rubber, polyurethane), ink disk. Best of all, when it dries, you get a light coat that protects against rust and elements. One area where Kerosene might be be too good, is lino blocks (dries them up) so you might consider some kind of oil there.

Thank you both for your comments—this information is very helpful.