Your advice requested

Hello everyone, I’m printing these business cards, the back is a complete solid.
I’m finding myself needing huge amounts of ink, at least compared to what I’m used to. Actually I can hear the ink hissing, and I am having to ink 3 or 4 times before I can print, plus requiring a huge amount of pressure I can feel the strain on my press.
What can I do?
I’ve only printed like 10 or 15 so far. This is really tiresome.
Am I just going way beyond the capabilities of the press?
It’s a Craftsman 10x15 and I’m printing on crane’s Lettra 220lb.

I mean, the result is wonderful, but i’m worried for the press and the amount of time it takes. I wish there was a way to not need triple or quadruple inking and such amount of pressure.

Here are some photos.

image: plate.jpg


image: printing.jpg


image: result.jpg


image: result2.jpg


Log in to reply   13 replies so far

You’ll strain your press less if you move the form to the bottom half of the chase. The higher in the chase the impressional load is, the harder it is on the locking cam and the press in general.

Lettra is not really a paper for solid color printing—though the reverse does pop out really nice. If you have access to a cylinder proof press for this project (Vandercook, Challenge, etc.), that would be the most efficient route to getting the job done.

Surprised you’re not having problems of the stock sticking to the form!

With a C&P you want to run it in the center of your chase to get the most even pressure. You don’t want to be reaching all the way inside the platen to set and pull your cards, that’s a great way to hurt yourself. A 10 x 15 Craftsman should have no trouble with the impression. I’m curious as to why you are only running 2 rollers?


I’ll try the form in the center..
I’m printing this on the reverse side, the smoother side, that is.
It has stuck to the form but I’m running the press super slow.
And as to why I’m only running two rollers… well I only have two. And that’s how the press came, with only two.
I actually don’t love my press anymore, it’s given me many headaches.

Thanks for your input, guys. I’ll get back when I try these suggestions.

It has been said before that the platen jobbers were the least loved and highest earning presses in a shop. Use these presses to do what they want to do and they will treat you well. I suspect you will always find a use for this machine in printing from type, scoring, perforating, numbering and die cutting if those are things which interest you. It should complement your Vandercooks quite well.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Too bad my Vandys are not printing yet..
I just wish I could find someone to actually teach me and look at my press and tell me what’s wrong.

Thanks, Dan!

Do you have a copy of Elementary Platen Presswork or Platen Press Operation? Those books will really help!


Start here.

The George Mills book seems a little harder to find right now.


I’ve read books in spanish I have like two or three and I’ve learned a lot on this forum. But still I’m always unsure if the press itself is broken or its my ineptitude.

I just want to say that the advice of moving the form to the center worked great.
And on another note, using some ink conditioner (I don’t know what it’s called in English, but it’s used for giving the ink more flow), worked great to use less ink and make it last longer without drying on the disk.
I’m still fiddling with this press, but I’m definitely giving her another chance in my heart.
Thanks for your advice guys, I’ll make sure to post photos once I’m done to get some feedback.
Pulling an all-nighter right now.

maybe random question but was re-reading some old threads, are you still using a wooden base?

Enrique- good luck with your project, I hope it turned out well.

Motorized platen presses are superb.
When you finally learn all the tricks and things you need to know in order to set one up efficiently and expertly, it makes a great deal of work turn into a lot less effort than it could have been with manual means.
Working through problems like this may be one of the best ways a person in your position can learn. Troubleshooting is probably most of the setup when you’re still getting used to printing, and I think probably is the most frustrating part.

Keep your chin up and your head cool and you’ll do well with this press.

I’m curious, where are you located? Aren’t you in Mexico? Forgive my ignorance.

Ok, so I pulled said all-nighter and today was pretty intense too. So before I go to bed I’d like to give you guys some answers.

Widmark: I am no longer using a wooden base, I’m using an aluminum base, made by my local machinist, and KF95 photopolymer plates. (the base is .875, I believe)

HavenPress: Thanks a lot, I do realize that there are many things to figure out yet to work efficiently on my press, you are right.
Thanks for your encouragement words. I am in Monterrey, México. :)