Ink Recommendations

I’m starting to purchase my needed materials to get started with my Golding Jobber. Previously I printed on a 6x10 C&P Pilot with small amounts of ink that were given to me. I BELIEVE they were Van Son rubber based. I prefer to stick with rubber based ink but given that Van Son is not selling their 1lb tins anymore, I am wondering what my other options are? Has anyone used any of the inks offered by They have both oil and rubber based pro packs available in most of the basic colors. I was just wondering if anyone had any experience with these and know if they print well?

Thanks :)

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Look into Gans Ink; they sell in 1 lb cans and it is decent prices. You have to deal with the company directly, they do not retail through other outlets- plus side is you get a person on the phone and you can explain that you are going to use it on a letterpress.

They also sell a reducer for their ink which works very well.

I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for years.

rubber base and not rubber based…

I use Southern Ink Company, Inc.
They sell 5 oz tubes.

You should contact Fritz at NAGraphics ( Fritz can help you with an ink purchase.


You should contact Fritz at NAGraphics ( Fritz can help you with an ink purchase.


I second Haven Press’ Gans recommendation. We’ve been slowing phasing out VanSon and are quite happy with Gans ink – it is less expensive and as a bonus, they are local to us.

Thomas, how perfectly condescending of you to correct someone’s terminology!


Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Southern Ink has an 18 pack of 1lb cans for $270 - this seems to be a good deal. Does anyone else recommend Southern Ink? Just looking for feedback on a good ink at a good price.

Thanks :)

For comparison, I think the same thing from Gans ran around… 390 plus shipping…. I’d love to hear your feedback after use if you try southern ink. Price point seems pretty good.

HavenPress, that is what I thought. The next best cost was with 14 colors, then NA Graphics with 12 colors. I’m wondering if I should do the 8oz tins, if I would even come close to needing a pound of ink for each color, but for the cost - $234 for 8 oz tins vs $279 for 1 lb cans, it kind of seemed to be a no brainer to go with the $279 for double the ink, I might place my order today. Only saw one recommendation for Southern Ink on Instagram from a printer, but she only tested black and while she recommended it, I like to hear from others as well.

In the UK the best answer for start-ups is to try T N Lawrences original Linseed Oil based range. Comes in tubes as well as tins. Both my Grandfather and my Father used this stuff as print makers, and i too, startig with Adana hand presses and moving on to art platens. Ain’t cheap, but by gosh its good, Whats more its ”fully finished” unlike whats sold for trade use. Washes up with turps sub. Once have loads of experience with that , one can can experiment with trade stuff, water based, rubber based and so forth.

I purchased the big set of Southern Ink tubes. I like it. It mixes differently than Vanson rubber base; I use more transparent white. It’s oil base, but stays open on the press. I can use it on coated stock. I also mix it with the Vanson and it’s fine.

Gans Ink’s “Bengal” oil-base line is an oil-base ink with very good open times (nearly a week before a can thinks about skinning). It’s what I use—somewhat more waste than rubber base—but the ink keeps forever, whereas rubber-based may, or may not.

I do agree with Harrildplaten, the Lawrence inks are great to work with. They really are letterpress quality inks and I love their deep black.

Hi! Does anyone know how to get in touch with Dan Robison in San Jose, CA- he is the “Orchid Ink” (Letterpress Ink in a Tube) guy…I have tried multiple times but to no avail. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Hi Jen!
It’s Orchid show season for Dave right now, he may be hard to get ahold of
Whistle Pig Press

Thanks, Steve. I followed the link and it went to his order form, which I already sent in…but I thought the link more recently brought you to NA Graphics…I just saw they have tubes!!!! But that triggered me to remember NA Graphics. Also, this Southern Ink Company will do custom colors in tubes, but do you or anyone out there understand the Pantone chart if you don’t have the samples? :/
Thanks, Steve! jen :)

Oh, Steve, I was just being nosey, but “showtime” for what? Just out of curiosity…

Orchids. Dave raises and markets orchids, and the ink-in-tubes is a sideline.


VERY cool!