brayer durometer

Hello all. I hand ink, and I’ve been using a Speedball soft rubber brayer (~40 durometer). It works alright for the price, but has a low spot that’s a bit annoying.

Time to upgrade — I’m looking at the Takach hand brayers, but I can’t decide between the the 35 and the 60 durometer. I’m leaning towards 60, but any advice based on personal experience would be great as I don’t have much experience with the harder brayers… I think it may be easier to get clean type though. I use primarily K152 photopolymer plates, but I also do the occasional lino & wood cuts.


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I think you’ll be happier with the 35 durometer roller. I have an old Vandercook brayer that I had recovered with 25 durometer rubber and it serves quite well for the work I do.
I think you’d find you’d be pressing much harder to get full roller contact to a plate with any variation (wood & lino) if you use a harder roller covering. The lower durometer roller will conform a bit easier to such surfaces with better results.

John Henry

I tend to agree with John — the ink transfer will be better with the softer roller. If you have over inking issues you can add roller bearers outside the printing area, which aren’t’ a bad idea regardless of the hardness of the roller…

Thanks John & Jeff. Well, I’m glad I asked! 35 it is.


The harder rubber is for lithography, where the surface is generally supposed to be much flatter than your typical letterpress form, and you don’t want the roller deforming at all but want even, constant pressure. (Stone can have an un-even surface, but plates are generally very even. If you know what a stone is like and how it’s surfaced you’ll understand what I mean. Aluminum plates are generally really flat though.)

If you’re inking Polymer plates, it probably won’t be a big issue which durometer you go with, but you can’t go wrong with 35. If I know them well, the people at takach would also recommend the softer roller for the other wood/lino relief printing you do.