black ink prints gray please help

Hi I am new to letterpress and am working on a heidelberg windmill. I have printed an image that is about 2”x2” line drawing using black ink, unfortunately when printed it comes out gray. I have looked at the machine and everything looks good the only thing that is new is that the inks have been in my garage in very cold weather and has gotten quiet thick. Any help would be appreciated please help me this is driving me crazy. Just to let you know I have tried printing red and it is a much lighter red than it should be when I look at the pantone color on the jar than what is shows in the swatch. .

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cold ink don’t work very well, is the press in the cold too? rollers could shrink, try adjusting the rollers to hit the type a little harder. also bring your ink into the warm house for a while. my shop has heat that comes from above, the floor never gets warm enough, so i run an electric heater close to my wndmill to keep it warm, works pretty good. dick g.

Standard printing inks should be OK after being stored in a cold environment, once they are re-warmed, but you haven’t said exactly what kind of ink you are using. When you say “jar” are you speaking of the can the ink came in?

I used to have my shop in an unheated space, and made certain I kept my inks in the house so they would be ready to run. When they hit the cold iron of the inking system, they didn’t always distribute evenly until the press had also warmed up quite a bit, so Dick is right, the inks work best when at standard room temps or above.

Thank you for all of your input. . I have brought all the inks in form the cold and will test print in a few days again to see if there is any difference.

Are there any large solid on the line drawings or is it all thin lines?

I ran into the same problem just this morning. I printed line art last night with no problems, left the ink in the press and switched plates this morning to a plate with more solids and couldn’t get good coverage. It was about 50 degrees in my shop when I started printing this morning. I warmed the ink and added some to the ink already in the press but as soon as it hit the cold stainless steel and cold rubber rollers it balled up like bubble gum on the sidewalk. Luckily, I was running freebie stuff for the wife so it wasn’t that critical. When I run for a paying customer, I will make sure that my ink AND MY PRESS are room temperature (65+ degrees). Hope this helps.

I have the same problem, ink don’t like the cold, i run a small electric heater on the floor near the press i’m going to run, after it warms up then i print. Some printers used to put a candle under the ink disk to keep the disc warm. Good Luck Dick G.

For printing in the cold, I rigged a hair dryer to a frame with a magnet on the base.

It lives on the flopped-open ink fountain lid of my Windmill. It gets the ink and distribution rollers nice and warm, which seems to facilitate very nice inking in cold weather.

A little space heater on some kind of bracket would probably work better. The hair dryer lacks temperature control, and gets too hot to be aimed directly at the ink.

This would be a Very Bad Idea to use while you’re cleaning the press with a flammable solvent, by the way.