Muddy Impression

Hey all I’m having a problem with my C & P Old style. I’m printing from photopolymer on a boxcar base and the impression is just not as “crisp” as it needs to be. I have experience on a C & P Pilot and no matter what I do I can’t seem to fix this problem. I taped the rails and peeled it off piece by piece until the photopolymer plate looked properly inked.

The rollers came with the press but to be honest they look to be in great shape. I will say that it doesn’t look like my top roller is inking the photopolymer plate. That could have something to do with it but honestly I just don’t know. I’ve been fiddling with this thing for 2 days with various levels of packing behind the tympan and various levels of ink.

Any ideas?

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In my opinion, there is either too much ink or the rollers are set too low. Either one will result in about the same effect.

If they’re too low, they’re pressing against your plate too hard, and are driving the ink onto the shoulders of the letters.

Tape drives me mad, and, while I know I have seen it recommended here, I don’t think it does anything. It just conforms to the warped roller rails. The real trick is roller bearers, which have been discussed here in great detail.

As to the rollers not quite acting in unison, this could be a sign of a misalignment of your machine, or a lack of lubrication.

The first test is to pull up on the roller hooks when the rollers are off of the press. Do they resist pull out with a medium resistance (not too easy, not too hard), and easily spring back into place? If so, they’re working correctly. If not, you need to make sure they are very well lubricated.

And if lubrication doesn’t work, it’s time to look at the mechanics of the thing. The roller bearings could be bent, or the springs could be worn out. I had a similar problem, which I solved by replacing the springs. It was hard to find a spring of that length, so we simply ganged up a few 4” springs from the Crazy Hardware Surplus Store.

If everything works well with the roller arms, the whole roller assembly may be out-of-square. The solution is to loosen the four bolts on the very back of the press, on the piece that says “Chandler and Price.” Then, place a board under the ink disc, and behind the chase lever. It should be long enough to stick out to reach both of the big arms that hold the three roller hooks. With the board in place, gently turn the press by hand so that both arms rest gently on the board.

With a friend providing positive pressure on the flywheel, tighten the four bolts, remove the board, and give the press a turn. It should work smoothly!

I have done both of these things on presses that were abused, and they both worked.

Roller bearers again suggested…It seems they are becoming necessary as the presses wear.

I will post this again next year when I have time to actually do it, but I know a good machinist who could make a batch of roller bearers to various lengths if there were enough interest. I might be able to coordinate a group commission.

I would try a different can of ink, just to see what happens. Depending on a host of different things, the ink may to liquidy (is that a word?).