Adana 8x5 What am I doing wrong?

DISCLAIMER: I’m a newbie

I would really appreciate it if anyone could offer some advice. I don’t know if this is normally how its supposed to work or if my setup is wrong.

I am printing with ppp and my base size is 4x7. When I use a small plate (a single word or small image), I get an even impression no matter where I place the small plate on the base. If I add another similar size plate to the base without tuning the pressure screws, the impression is uneven. And if I use a large plate, there’s no impression at all. I haven’t inked up yet since it’ll get too messy right now trying to figure this out.

I’ve been able to figure out alot of things on my own, but this thing has got me waving my white flag. Can anyone offer any advice? I ran the larger and multiple plates through the L Letterpress and that impression was better than what I was getting from my Adana.

Thuy (Twee)

Log in to reply   9 replies so far

Here are pictures of my current setup.

image: IMG_0633.JPG


image: IMG_0631.JPG


image: IMG_0630.JPG


How can you tell that you don’t get an impression without putting ink on your press? What are you trying to obtain? Deep letterpress? My advice, ink your press up, but remove the roller of your ink duct, get some paper to print on and start experimenting. It looks to me that your gauge pin might be hitting the base as well. Start with taking the pressure off on four screws, close the platen, adjust the screws visually as much as you can, use a blank sheet of paper as a gauge, ink up and print. BTW Is this the first time you print on your Adana? Good luck!

It looks to me like you are asking too much of your press. This press wasn’t designed to produce heavy impression printing so you will have to keep the form rather small if that is what you are after. Anything more than that will stress the mechanism causing it to flex and produce an uneven impression or possibly even break.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

As Daniel said, 8 x 5 doesn’t mean printing a surface of 8 x 5 inch. On average half the size of your chase will give you an acceptable result. This has been discussed many times here. I use an Adana 8 x 5 for printing business cards and small labels.

As Thomas indicated, it does appear in one of the photos that you may have the lower paper guide in an area where it might be bearing off against the base you are using. Try an impression after lowering the paper guide to its lowest point, or removing it.

I have the same problem with my adana, but do not have either the pins or the paper guide in the way. I am able to get a fairly deep impression at business card size, but that is not what I am after. I want an impression yes, but just enough to be seen as a ‘letterpress print’ and not a ‘potato print’… an even impression on a somewhat larger area, i.e. 8cm or so for wedding invitations would be super. If i am getting just a tiny indent in the paper, that is great but on only one side of the image then this means i have to just release impression screws and just work on getting a good ink coverage instead.

Hi all, I cannot believe what I am reading here. Why don’t you guys send an e-mail or call me up? What I would ask though is, has anyone who has letterpress experience ever shown or helped you to set up your presses properly? It’s all really simple stuff and common sense. If you purchased the press from us (as certainly the one in the above photo was) the press would have arrived with the platen dressed and a copy of a test print that had been produced on that press prior to shipping - so it worked ok then!! We are here to help you, especially if we supplied the machine and we have been making them since 1933, so there is not a lot that we do not know about them! And there are litterally thousands of them out there.

Hello Roy,
good to hear from you, finally! I have 2 Adanas on which I teach my students along with a larger press. One is the standard 5x8 as per the pics and a slightly larger older style HS3. Too many people invest in presses based on lack of practical letterpress experience and stumble around at some expense to themselves. Nothing can really beat a sound “hands-on” practical experience, the kind I offer here at Rockley, NSW, Australia.
Regards to the venerable firm of Caslon.
William Amer, Rockley NSW

The screws on the bed are for levelling the bed in relation to the platen. Once set they should never be touched. Adjustments are then made in the packing and by makeready of individual parts of the formes. Roy Caslon is quite right. Once you set the bed up by test printing five reasonably large elements (each corner and centre) they should not be touched. These are beautiful little presses. Set well means the bed closes parallel with the platen. Inking rollers will be automatically be correct. They are set in the factory and the press comes with a test print.