“tarry” ink

I just opened a tin of black ink that I haven’t used for a year and the top 1/8” has turned into a tar with a pocket of (probably) usable ink in the center of the tin. Is there a way to reconstitute that hard ink or has it polymerized beyond repair? It is 175 ml Gamblin relief ink (oil based) .

I see that Boxcar Press offers Van Son Anti-Skin Spray. Has anyone used it with success?

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That top layer of ink has skinned over and cannot be rejuvenated. Such is the nature of oil base inks.
Anti skin spray works but for an indefinite period; the more you spray the longer the protection. Think 30 days as being a long protection. I read recently the “Pam” / non-stick cooking spray is a lesser effective substitute.
I’ve been covering the top of the ink cans & cups with the foil we foil with. Cover the top layer with anything that removes well basically.

The ink will “Skin over” as stated above. The underling ink is fine. It is what it does. Sometimes the “Skin” is rather thick. It does seem like a waste but once it skins, just pull up the edge, get your ink and put the skin back down. it will last for years like that.

If you don’t like keeping the skin, a piece of wax paper will also work. (I’ve only seen the anti-skin spray used on presses, but no reason it wouldn’t work on a can of ink but wax paper is cheaper.)

We used to use a piece of oiled paper (scrap of tympan paper with oil, petroleum jelly or grease) evenly smeared around on the surface. this was usually placed over a card on which we had placed ink to be used for the run. This will keep the ink skin-free for an indefinite time. It will work on a can, too.

Thanks everyone. The can did have a thin disk of waxed paper but I’m liking the idea of a piece of cloth dampened with mineral spirits sealed back in the tin. I don’t think it will dilute the ink any but may deter / slow the skinning.

Two caveats to cloth

With practice whatever you place over the ink you want it to pull up and not fold onto itself. I pull it up, off and flip it ink side up. The ink stuck to it face up is frequently enough to do the job. Cloth or any thin covering tends to fold onto itself. Than it’s a mess to salvage that ink.

Cloth is porous. The idea behind covering the ink is to prevent its contact to air which cause it to dry; form the skin.

Think impermeable layer.