Oil getting on my C & P 10x15 rollers

I am very new to letterpress and hope I am posting this in the correct category.
Yesterday I had my very first print run with my C & P NS. I am using a boxcar deep relief base and boxcar plates. The press runs smoothly and the rollers seem to ink the plate nice and evenly. However after about 20 prints the color (oil based ink from NA graphics) gets much darker, almost muddy looking.
After I cleaned the rollers, the tracks, the ink disk and the plate twice I realized that it appears as if there is oil getting onto the rollers or ink disk. I wiped off all the running oil I could see on the press but can not explain why/how it could get onto the rollers or disk.
If it is of any help, this only seemed to have started once I used the throw-off lever.
Any help is appreciated as I am a bloody beginner!

Also if there is anybody in the tristate area who owns a C&P 10x15 and would be willing to spend a few hours with me and my husband to give us some one on one lessons that would be great (we are willing to pay and travel to your place).


Log in to reply   3 replies so far

Okay, you just have to be a detective. So oil or something is getting into your ink, and your task at the moment is to find out where the contamination is coming from. (Until you solve this, trying to get printing done is more-or-less pointless.)

Set up you press just like you’re going to print, but without ink. Go ahead and go through the motions of printing “dry” with scrap paper, and instead of looking at the impression on your (unprinted) paper, watch the ink disk and rollers for any sign of oil (or whatever) showing up. If you don’t see anything after your 20 impressions or so, wipe the disk & rollers with a clean white rag to see if they’re really still clean.

If you don’t find a trace of anything, then ink up with opaque white or the lightest color ink you have and try again, still watching the rollers, ink disk, and anywhere else, to find where & when that contamination shows up.

Let us know what you find!


If you have oiled the connection where the inking plate pivots check the bottom of the inking plate. All you need is a drop of oil. I don’t oil mine every time I print, but watch it closely. If it is over oiled the ink will creep down the bottom of the inking plate and get picked up by the rollers.

Thanks Dave and Fancy for taking your time in posting! the letterpress community amazes me again and again with all its helpful people.

Dave ;) what you were really saying was: welcome to the wonderful and full of suprises world of letterpress, right!?

Fancy - oh I think that is exactly the problem. I will try another printrun this weekend and will let you both know how it goes.