What equipment do I need to print linoleum on letterpress

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I recently purchased a smaller letterpress that I am trying to print my linoleum blocks with.
Basically I need some advice on the essential equipment needed for printing my lino. My research has led me to believe that quoins are essential to house the block and some backing underneath my lino is also necessary to reach the magic .918 inches making it type high but I wanted to see if any more experienced printers had some tips.
Also I prefer to use unmounted linoleum but it seems it must be mounted to use on a letter press so if anyone has a recommendation on the best material to mount my lino onto that would be greatly appreciated.


PS…I am on a Kelsey 6x10

PS…I am on a Kelsey 6x10

To clarify: the general

To clarify: the general consensus is that you can print with limo blocks in your regular chase (held in place with furniture and quoins) and just worry about the paper sticking to the ink? No worry about “type high” if the lino block is the only thing in the chase (as in no actual type, etc)? Do I necessarily need to use the old school linoleum that hardens and needs to be mounted or can I use the newer, softer pre-mounted blocks?

Another consideration is

Another consideration is that ink transfer can be considerably enhanced by printing with slightly dampened paper. Do a search for the technique of dampening — it can be pretty simple, like a misting spray bottle and placing the stacked dampened sheets in a sealed bag to let the moisture become uniformly distributed. Might be worth an experiment.


Thank you all for all the

Thank you all for all the advice!
I am located in San Francisco so if there are any printers near by I would love to pick their brains in person.

I have been running some tests (different packings, more or less underlay, rubber ink vs oil based ink, etc..) and have had varied results but it can be hard to know exactly what needs to be changed. I get the feeling a lot of my linoleum is too big for the press so I will be cutting some smaller blocks but I have 20+ blocks I don’t want to just forget about.
By the way if anyone wants to see the cards I’ve been making check out my website:

Thanks again everyone!

You know, some of the best

You know, some of the best equipment for printing linoleum on any press is tack reducer for the ink to aid in release and transfer of the ink from the plate/block to the substrate (paper).

Jake, would that be Fernwood

Jake, would that be Fernwood Drive in southern Ontario by any chance? If so, I am only about an hour from you.

I don’t think the paper

I don’t think the paper grippers on a 5x8 Kelsey will keep the paper from sticking to the linoleum block and ending up on your ink disc and creating quite a mess. I’ve used thick rubber bands as “extension fingers” across my grippers on occasion when using linoleum blocks. Also a hand ink brayer to add additional ink to the block might work well.

Usable furniture can be made

Usable furniture can be made with a good table saw and 5/8” MDF. 3/4” would work but 5/8” is closer to the traditional height of furniture. The sizes in my furniture cabinet are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 picas wide in 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50 ad 60 pica lengths. Mine has 10 copies of each combination but smaller cabinets have only 5 of each. You don’t need the longer lengths for the Kelsey, but you’ll likely move up to a better press after a while. Reglets in 1 pica and 1/2 pica widths are also very useful.

You don’t say where you are located, but if you did some local printers may introduce themselves. Hanging out with an experienced printer helps a lot.

Hoping that Stateside!

Hoping that Stateside! letterpress revival still has a few original Old Timers around, there should be (still) many many means to mount Plates/Cuts/Blocks, inc. LINO cuts, as (authors) above, BUT all compatible, all interchangeable, ALL possible to be made up to suit ANY size Chase/Forme.
NOT restricted to *one size fits all* especially when a lot of outlay has been involved.???

Actually, if your images

Actually, if your images have a lot of solid area, you’d be better off with a (cylinder style) proof press. Large solids are difficult to achieve on small platens.

You would learn a lot here.

You would learn a lot here. For the most part it’s all free. Unless they have special seminars.

Thanks for the responses. I

Thanks for the responses.
I am using a 5 x 8 table top kelsey press and should have said it before.
The one other issue I am finding is where to buy appropriately sized furniture for my small press.

Assuming it is a Table Top

Assuming it is a Table Top Press with the Image producing means at an angle, as opposed to a Flat Bed proof press style M/c. yes ideally a simple chase is required and any one of several methods to mount Your Lino cut,s on.
Dont get sucked into this *You have to have XXX XXX*, base etc.
Providing You can end up somewhere near .918 LINO is very forgiving at that level and You will not generate enough pressure, on impression, to harm anything, against the well published advice that Letterpress should not be expected (or designed) to reproduce more than, at best 60 -65% of total forme area.
Mounting up to .918 achieved via Multi-Ply (plywood), - M.D.F. - Elrod (hot metal) mounting base, - Monotype (hot metal) mounting quads, - Cornerstone (girder style) mounting material - Cornerstone (paxolin) style mounting material, + many more, all brought up to height with Acrylic Sheet, or redundant Ex litho machine plates, etc., all multiple laminates as make ready, with D.S.A. (double sided adhesive) Printers Graphic supplies ideally, but carpet fitters D,S.A. works perfectly and Cheap. ??

Type high gauge, useful but not essential, but easily made on a D.I.Y. basis,! i.e. 2 lengths of decently prepared hardwood 3/4” square X 3-4” long, with any redundant or surplus piece of type, preferably lead at 72 Point or poster type, (known prove-able height !) X,Z,Q. ffi, ffl, ae, oe, etc. the 3 pieces gripped in an ordinary workshop vice, distance piece at one end, drilled through, all 3, around 1/8” bolted as one, = deep throat, type high gauge, for a few cents, and as a D.I.Y. project, it is the easiest thing in the world to slacken off the through bolt ?? and introduce (as make ready in essence) tiny piece of onion skin, airmail, bible paper, tissue, etc., to give .001” - .002” - .003” more clearance, as in GO or NO GO, for your variations on Lino or W,H,Y, thickness,s.

As did underpaid apprentices!!! 50/60 Yrs. ago. Good Luck

Shimming the linoleum cut up

Shimming the linoleum cut up to type height is necessary for most presses to get proper inking. and impression A lot depends on the exact press you are using. Quoins may or may not be needed, again depending on the press. In general platen presses are able to print smaller cuts (say 1/3 to 1/2 of the chase dimensions) depending on the density of the image. Cylinder presses can print larger, denser images.
MDF is my normal mounting material. Usually 3/4”