Type won’t ink

I purchased some old foundry type from a shop that was pretty funky. I vacuumed the cases, but didn’t clean the type. I set some type, proofed it, it looked good, but needed some cleaning to print crisply. I used Bioshield solvent, a type brush, then isopropyl alcohol. After that, the type would no longer accept ink. I then tried a whole series of solvents on it (paint thinner, mineral spirits, simple green) and it still wouldn’t accept ink. I tried scrubbing the surface with some water/borax/baby shampoo; still didn’t work. The type looks clean and shiny. I ended up resetting the type, didn’t clean it, and it printed fine.

Any ideas on why this is happening or what I can do to the type to get it to accept ink? I supposed the best solution is the Dave Churchman method of soaking the whole lot of it in water/borax/baby shampoo. It’s more of time commitment than I want to do just now. Any suggestions are welcome!

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my first guess would be that the “bioshield” solvent has left a citrus / natural oil on or slightly into the surface of the type, rendering it ink-o-phobic. If it’s citrus oil based, it’s probably slightly acidic….. which is probably adding to the problem. Remember, Bioshield thinner was designed to thin paint, not for cleaning type.

Back when the misguided “veggie-oil-as-a-cleaner” movement first became popular I got a lot (like two or three a week) of e-mails from folks whose rollers would not ink correctly. In almost all of the cases, the culprit was a veggie-oil residue… which when properly removed solved the problem.

So…what to do with your type? I like the borax idea…. followed by a good washing with a proper solvent: mineral spirits or something similar. Then if that doesn’t work, I’d use something really environmentall unfriendly: lacquer thinner or xylene. Or maybe carburetter cleaner from the auto parts store. If that doesn’t do it, nothing will.

Then, one you’ve restored your type I’d swear-off using anythin marked “Bio safe” or “Earth loving” or anything like that. Most of them are no safer or Earthy than mineral spirits…. and some of them are actually worse.

0h yeah…. inky mentioned TSP in a semi related post. That’s tri-Sodium Phosphate, a common cleaning compound. that would also be a good thing to try…. before going to the carb-cleaner.

I use Bioshield constantly, both at my home shop and at the Shelburne Museum. I have never had any problem with it. Hmmmm….

Hhhmmmm …… you could test if that’s the culprit by cleaning a piece of metal with it, then trying to see if it will ink with a brayer. if it DOES ink, then it’s not the Bioshield…. it would be something else, then.

Another idea is to check the type height. maybe your new old type is a little low.

tro-sodium phosphate, used in zinc litho plate regraining, you know in those oscillating machines with glass, porcelain or wooden balls, to regrain what is engraving quality zinc.

It sounds like there is indeed a residue on the surface. Some cleaners have a silicone element which films over the surface when dry, making it harder for dirt and dust to accumulate. Silicone is definitely a compound which will reject ink.

John Henry

Blue Dawn should work. Or Purple Cleaner from the Auto Parts store.

Acetone will remove the residue on the surface.

Go to your local Paper house and buy some appropriate chemicals. Stop using all this odd ball stuff your just going to cause your self problems. Regular press wash for cleaning your press and type wash to clean your metal type.

In hospitals to clean the instuments of every thing; we used a machine called an ultra sonic washer. And it would use vibrations, that some how formed bubles on the instuments that would sort of explode. Like a bottle of carbonated sprite. This cleans everything including diamond rings! I see Harbor Freight has small ones for sale now.