Why use 3 when only 2 are needed?

Looking on YouTube for a video to show a friend I found several videos of letterpress printers using 3 rollers for a small job when only 2 are required. Why?

They have a press such as a C&P with a roller saddle and a roller hook and and have loaded the hook. It is a waste of time, ink, cleaning materials and for some the covering of a stock, that makes not a jot of difference to the job.

The third roller only needs to go on the hook if there is a full form or large solid.

Could it be a bit of ‘my press is better than yours because it takes three rollers’?

Find out the limits of your press before you put the third roller on.

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I am guessing people just think “more is better” when it comes to rollers. Also many people don’t ever take their rollers off the press. Washup happens on the press and the rollers are stored midway down the rails.


Sometimes it’s just extra work to drop the third roller, when you really don’t have to (if you have roller height and ink load accurately set to the job.

The same reasoning is why many people don’t pull the rollers off the press for wash up or when idle, simpler to just park the rollers at mid-bed, where the spring tension is the least.

good morning, newbie question, which roller would you remove? (C&P OS 10x15)

thank you in advance

I always remove the roller by its self, the bottom roller.

On my 8x12 I use all three rollers, because I can use just a small amount of ink to get good cover on Linotype Slugs.

And if you have a single line of type why use two rollers when you can use one , just use the lower roller on the hooks.

So there you have it folks you can use 1, 2 or 3 rollers depending on the amout of type to be inked.

1 roller on the hooks
2 rollers on the saddles
3 on the saddles and the hooks

I have used all 3 rollers on my 10x15 C&P for the past 59 (fifty-nine) years with no adverse results and would not consider using only 2. I think it is false economy to use only 2 as three give better control over ink coverage and it is possible to run with a little less ink. I can see no difference in clean up as it is a pain in the rear for 2 or 3 rollers. Another pain is taking rollers on and off these presses—unless perfing, scoring or die cutting, my rollers stay in place. One current reason to run 2 rollers is the expense of buying a third roller, and that may be a telling point with many printers and one that I would consider as being somewhat legitimate. When C&P designed a press for better ink coverage, it was a 4 roller press.