I have finally begun printing on my Hiedelberg T Platen with mixed results. I have learnt so much about this press in the last few weeks. I have been troubleshooting most things ok - but this one has got me. The problem is, I do a print that comes out really well, good amount of ink and pressure, then the very next print comes out with very little or no ink in one corner and it’s the same corner. Can anyone help on what this problem might be?? See pictured, the print in the foreground is the good one and the one in the background is the one that looses the ink. Are the roller tracks moving? is it my form rollers? In the meantime I will keep troubleshooting.

Thank you in advance,


image: troubleshoot letterpress.jpg

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Maybe it’s just me, but it looks like your “good” print is also light in that corner.

Yes in this photo it looks like the impression is light in this corner, but the print in real life looks ok, but perhaps this is a problem that does start on the first print. What are some solutions for troubleshooting this inking problem??

Thank you for your comment.

Oh also the line work is much finer in detail in that top corner but the keyline that bounds the artwork does appear to be a bit light on ink in that top left hand corner.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

Meaghan :).

Meaghan -

It looks like you’ve got either a flat spot or oil contamination on an ink roller or on the form. A flat spot would be overcome partially as the second roller crosses the form, but oil contamination would leave some oil on the form so that when the second roller passes over it, the oil on the form would ‘protect’ the form from being inked by the second roller.

Take a close look at the rollers as they pass over the form. See if there’s some oil on the roller where it contacts the form.

Try reversing the form to see if the problem is indeed caused by a bad spot on one of the rollers or if it has something to do with the form itself. We can see from the embossing that impression is not the issue.

Another thing to try is a larger form - anything that will let you see a ‘repeat pattern’ as the rollers move over the form. If the repeat is exactly the same distance as the diameter of one of the rollers, that’s where the problem comes from.

Another way to solve the problem may be to simply remove and reverse the rollers. The Windmill likes to print on the right side all of the time. For a small form like this, simply reversing the rollers could solve the problem.

Of course, if you were printing on an 10x15 C&P, there would be other options… ;)


Thanks Alan.

This is all very facinating. I have been reading through the archive on Slurs that you passed me onto - and now I have a few things to try when I get home tonight. Thank you.

I did think about turning the form around so it is good to hear I am on the right track to troubleshooting this little one.

I was too thinking how this problem would look on a C&P :).

There should be no oil on my rollers or anywhere near the area. I read how important it is to keep these areas free of such contaminants. I have been using a roller wash and been keeping the area clean and dry.

I will try something larger tonight and post the results.

Could this have anything to do with packing?
I found that the area with the detailed flowers was not getting enough of the detail in the impression so I prepared a small makeready for the area to pack it up.

I think the tip about the strip of ink that should appear on the height gauge is a good one too! That will be first on my list of things to do tonight.

Thank you heaps.

m :).

Hi Meaghan,
Great to see you are up and running.
For most inking problems we would first try using a small dab of ink reducer/conditioner. It reduces tack and especially with colored inks seemed to allow evener distribution. I’m not sure that is you problem. Check your roller track settings as described on page 85 of the manual. Also the tracks shouldn’t be oily.
Your impression looks pretty even, but a bit heavy; although that’s not your problem. Try a 16 or 20lb sheet less of packing.
I notice you have very professionally given yourself a nice right and top margin, and with your left and bottom trim, will have a nice looking, centered card.
I’m very impressed how far you have come on your own in a very short time.
Best wishes,


It amazes me the details you noticed that I had just taken for granted. This helps me to see things differently and hopefully make me a better printer.

Thank you everybody for your help :).

This letterpress game is addictive :O.

Hi Meaghan

I’m so excited for you! To add to the other good advice you have received, try lowering your rollers just a hair. You have plenty of impression, but the ink isn’t getting from your rollers to the cut. You may also want to measure the cut with a micrometer or a type high gauge. I have seen many substandard cuts lately. It might be possible that the corner in question is slightly lower than the rest. If that is the case, you will have to make it ready.

Thank you everyone for your encouragement :).
This is very helpful especially when most of my learning is done in isolation in my garage.

I will be sure to post some clearer photos in the future as my confidence grows and my prints get better. I will have some more prints up again soon.

Hi Meaghan

I was having very similar problems on my Adana eight-five with one of my first print jobs. In the end, I borrowed a micrometre (get one if you can, it’s invaluable) and discovered my base was completely uneven - by “completely” I mean about 0.85mm difference. Plates can do the same thing too, so it’s good to have a micrometre handy to check. I’ve just bought one off ebay for AU$25 and it should arrive this week, will let you know if it’s worth getting.

Not that I’m an expert by any means, but Alan’s suggestions of reversing the forme and/or flipping the rollers sound like a good start.

A month or so ago, I started a blog to record my progress right from when my first press arrived. There’s a lot of American blogs like this, but no-one else had done an Aussie one, so I’m giving it a go. Hopefully it will help someone in Australia later down the track if they want to get started. It won’t help you much because you probably know more than me, but here’s the post on the uneven ink problems I was having:

Let us know how you go and what solves the problem.