Ink Coverage and Linoleum Blocks

Hey everyone! I’m having extreme problems getting enough ink to print evenly on my linoleum blocks. I have a Kelsey 5x8.

Here’s what I’ve tried:

1) adjustint the backing screws on the plate so they’re even
2) adding more ink—so much that it’s at the “orange peel” stage, and needs to be reapplied every couple of prints
3) adding more packing—up to 8 sheets of cardstock—to the tympan
4) adjusting rollers (they’re brand new)

I’m using Daniel Smith waterbased ink on brand new rollers from NA Graphics.

Any other ideas? It seems impossible! Here’s a pic of the typical print I’m getting.

You can see a couple other pics at my blog:

image: IMG_2062.JPG


Log in to reply   2 replies so far

Hi Beth. I like your Recipe Card Design. The combination of hand-carved border and letterpress type works well. The inking thing is not a big deal and can be corrected…. or at least improved. I’m not an expert, but I do print a LOT of lino-cuts on a Kelsey and here’s what I’ve learned.

1. Look at the paper stock you are printing upon. When I use 67lb Vellum Bristol from the office supply house, I often get a similar result… the stock is too hard to conform to the large cut with the pressure that is available. Try a softer paper.

2. Also try a softer/ more resiliant tympan for printing the lino-cut. I know, I know… this may seem like heresy to letterpressmen, but it’s common practice among printmakers. Just be sure to change it back to a normal tympan paper for printing the type.

3. Try an oil-based ink. I’ve never used the brand that you are using, but I have used Speedball waterbased and I don’t care for it. For some reason it’s either dry as bone on the press, or it’s over-inked.

4. Reduce the inked area, especially the vertical portions. Kelseys are not known for their ability to cover large areas with ink. The rollers are just too small. By reducing the overall inked area, you increase the amount of ink available per square inch, and also the amount of pressure available per square inch. Both will help considerably.

Like I said, I’m not an expert but maybe these suggestions will help. Keep us posted on how it works out for you.

Thanks Winking Cat! Hmmmm. I hadn’t thought of the paper, but this is definitely not nice stuff—-just a cheap ream of basic Office Depot cardstock. I’ll have to experiment with that.