Opinions on my rollers (pics)

Hey guys, I’ve attached some pics of my new press/close ups of the rollers. Just wondering if you think they need replacing? The press seems to be in working order as far as I can tell however it has been sitting dormant for several years, possibly decades.

I have read that people use vegetable oil to clean the rollers after printing but is there a way to give them a good clean up before printing? As you can see they look quite grubby! And the metal on the sides seems to be rusted slightly; I know replacing them would be somewhat expensive though :(

Also the ink disc could probably use a good clean (I think?) as you can see from the pics.. would a good wipeover with turps be enough?

image: rollers1.jpg


image: rollers2.jpg


image: rollers3.jpg


image: smaller.jpg


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We armchair wizards can look at pictures and give opinions. They may be as accurate as medical diagnosis from a long distance. Tell where you are and perhaps one of the wizards is close enough to be lured to visit the patient.
Turps isn’t a very good printing solvent. Paint thinner/mineral spirits is better and cheap. You can probably do a pretty good job on the ink disk with a Scotchbrite pad.
The proof of the condition of the rollers is in the printing. Clean them up with paint thinner and see how they work.
Get some ink on your shirt.

You may get extremely lucky and find that the previous owner did not leave the rollers on the ink disk and create flats on the rollers, but that’ll be darned lucky.

If you own the press, wash the rollers down with kerosene and mineral spirits. Lock up a form of four or five vertical rows of characters—say at least half the depth of chase (so 6” of a 12 x 18 chase. The idea is to have indicators spread across the bulk of the press sheet.

Ink up the press and make ready to run some junk stock (copier paper is great for this). Run at least 100 sheets through, keeping an eye out for characters that are inking, then stop, then start inking again. If there are non-inking areas, observe if they move up and down the form during the press run.

If this sort of activity is happening, you have at least one flat roller and there is lilltle to be done but to send the rollers (with a sample truck) for recovering.

The cost of a new/recovered set of rollers should be included in every press acquisition. You might get lucky and not need them, but you just might.

It should also be noted that the standards for roller concentricity (roundness) are less if you are running metal and kiss impression (not worrying about ink on the shoulders of your type). You can run the rollers heavier on the form (with a wider ink transfer stripe) than you can if you are going for heavy impression with metal or dealing with photopolymer plates (generally considered the most fussy).

Generally the ink disk, if not rusty, can be cleaned with the same solvents as used for roller clean up. I would not recommend vegetable oil for cleanup—especially for composition rollers. Vegetable oil creates an ink slurry that never dries or becomes stable in the land fill.

thanks for the replies :) inky - I live in Aus on the far north coast of NSW/Gold Coast area

mike - our plan is to test the rollers later this week, I just wanted to know if there was anything we can do to clean them up in advance :) chances are we’re gonna follow your exact instructions :p so thank you!

if rollers are uneven, you might be able to swell them up with MEK -if available, a light rubbing, also will help to remove light inking. Be careful to follow safety instructions.

From the look of them subject to where they were at rest you will probably find a litle white spirit and water will clean them well enough, they look damp dusted rather than print grime.

I feel you will have a much more enjoyable experience with this press if you devote the funds to starting out with fresh rubber.


Be careful with MEK - it’s been illegal in the UK for 20 years. It’ll put you on your back if you breathe it in…..!

Mek was outlawed in the mid eighties ,it is now sold under the names inksolve and Hard ink remover !!!!

Hunter Penrose Supplies uk still sell “MEK”-I would not be without it!They would not be selling it illegally I am sure……..it smells the same……
Naturally I have a correct solvent fume mask when using it extensively.