Composition Rollers

Tarheel Roller of North Carolina no longer makes composition rollers. (retired) Unfortunately I hear that no one else in the U.S.A. makes composition rollers. Does anyone know if anyone in Great Britain that makes them?

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Somebody should take up making them. It is not that complicated. I think these days a slow cooker would work too.

I have been using a small plant to recoat rollers, mainly brayers, for own use, and have great difficulty extracting the rollers intact from the moulds and more to the point, getting good resilient surface. One recent hint is not to use water in ‘melting” the glue. Quality animal glue is hard to find, and you have to buy in large qty. Davis Glue (Gelita, NZ based) advise it only has a shelf life of 12 months! I would really like to sort this matter out.

Instead of composition rollers, hsve you thought of using polyurathane rollers? If you are in the UK you could contact Allmake Rollers in South Wales.

this discussion i will follow closely. the rollers on my 12 x 18 kluge are becoming woefully inadequate for numbering. They seem “case hardened” in that where the roller is pushed in by the plunger, the roller surface is pushed away around the plunger enough that, the first and 1/2 of second digits are not inked. there is pressure on the sheet. The carbon less forms show that. i am sure these need to be re covered.
I am very “Green” to the inking side of my presses abilities.

What has worked for me is to use a knife and score the roller between the plunger and 1st number contact points. The lessens the digit portion of the roller being dragged down by the plunger. The best is to use softer rollers. I have a dozen Leibinger model 20s with low plungers but they are like gold now.

As to extracting the rollers from the molds; Dave Houser of Tar Heel Roller says, they used automatic transmission fluid thinned with kerosene to pre coat the molds to insure release of the rollers.


Searching for something else, I found this:

The last supplier in the UK that I knew of of what we called ‘composition’ rollers were Messrs Usher, Walker at Startford-Atte-Bower, London E. Principally an ink makers. On their office wall were literally hundreds of little paper slips with the roller details for umpteen different presses, if only that info had been saved. Their moulds were tubes bundled together all different diameters. into a thing they called the ‘gatling gun’.
Once cast and cooled they were allowed to slide out very slowly under gravity, as the g.g. had been tipped over from the fill position. The sold the composition in slabs like vast chocolate bars. There was a tropical harder grade.
The same stuff was used in a wooden crate labelling system used by our Military Ordnance stores\depots. One
had letter moulds of a large sans face cast into these, and then placed them into a sort of rocker with handles inked that and printed on the rough wooden sides of the crates -
for zero dropping and other happy systems
UW were nice folks and darn fine inks, but only a modest range of colours

great idea with the “score the roller. what am i looking for in a good all around roller composition and durometer?

I remember back in the late 60’s when I was running a quad Demy British Miehle(45 inch sheet) on hot day when the one composition roller in the ink train melted all over the type forme. It took quite a while to remove and extremely messy.
The roller was replaced with a polyurathane roller which was just as efficient at picking up dust.

Before I retired the company I worked for used polyurethane rollers on the windmills and small offset presses. They came from a company called Rollers and Liners in Brisbane in Australia

The chemical composition of the rollers are not a top secret. Regular white cooking sugar (sucrose) Glycerin, and Woodworkers glue. The more difficult problem is producing tubes, perfectly round, in the exact diameter and length as the roller. Any ideas?

Time to re-explore the delightful discussion of gummy bear rollers of a few years ago.
There are a number of brands of woodworker’s glue available. I am not sure of what would work.
The old glue of the composition rollers was horsehide glue. Not likely available today with all the new glues.
Roller forms can be made from rolled tympan sheet right on the cores with trucks in place. Inside of tympan sheet which will contact roller to be sprayed with frying pan spray such as Pam.
Roller will have a seam line where tympan sheet has first overlap. With the gummy bear roller this was smoothed with a hot iron.
When tympan paper form is removed, roller can be trimmed back to free the trucks.

Get some ik on your shirt.

Years ago I had a go at making rollers for a 8x5 Pearl I used copper plumbing pipe from hardware store, you might be lucky to find the right size, this was when it was imperial sizes but now of course it is mostly metric,


Thanks for the suggestions!!