Printing from Wood Type

I need to pick someone’s brain. I have been doing letterpress a lot of years, but I seem to be making something more difficult that it should be. I am printing a poster (political sign) on 24 pt board. I set the type, making the poster pretty full. A 11 x 17 sheet, set pretty solid. I made-ready on the 12x18 c&p for this. The problem I am having is that it trys to pull off into the rollers, or picks. I used some van son tack reducer and it ran a little better, but I am still not real happy with it. Any ideas?

Log in to reply   4 replies so far

From your descript is appears to be a case of too much impression area. At best, 65% coverage is all a platen will adequately handle. Yes, I know there are others who claim edge-to-edge coverage - and good on them. But now the horse is in the field, so to speak, so here are some suggestions to corral the beast:
1) reduce the ink tack;
2) increase the dwell time;
3) utilize more fingers - string fishing line from gripper to gripper
both vertically and horizontaly if need be;
4) open the press slowly;
5) choose another board having harder surface (reduces picks)
6) re-think type face (bold rather than black)
6) take the forme and beg a cylinder press operator’s time. (good luck if he’s on the other side of the political fence)

I think I will put that form on the SP-15. Take out most of the packing, and see if that little cylinder will do the trick. I will have to reset one line into something not quite as long, but that is no problem. What do you think?

Updated. I did a poster on my Vandercook # 4 several years ago and I printed 4 colors on a 15pt coated one side paper stock (C1S). I covered the entire area yellow on the first run, then a kind of star burst for the second color, third color was type (wood and metal), forth color Black linocut. When I got to the third and forth color the inks were picking the 2nd color off. Now I consulted with Jim Sherraden at Hatch Show Print because he does allot of overlays of color in his really large prints. He said it was the 3rd & 4th color was picking because there is nothing much holding it on the paper except the ink and I was using a coated stock.

One problem was it was a coated paper so the ink lays on top of the sheet and was not absorbed like it would have on an uncoated sheet.

Hope this helps your question,


I really do appreciate the suggestions and comments. I also appreciate the forum that we now have to express our thoughts and ideas. I work by myself, but it is nice to realize that I am not alone.
Thanks again. —James Carpenter