Vandercook 2 cylinder recover

I have a Vandercook 2 proof press and I want to recover the cylinder. I purchased a rubber offset blanket at auction. My question is my press currently has what appears to be a rubber cover with a felt under it. My new matt doesn’t have a felt base. Do I have the wrong rubber cover?

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I haven’t seen a rubber offset blanket used at a cover for a Vandy. You might quire Paul Moxon on the practice.

But I recently replaced my packing with a mylar wrap (plastic cover in lieu of tympan) and a product from NA Graphics that Fritz recommended. Both are available from at a very reasonable cost and work great.

“Paratex, Compressible Blanket, 15”x22” “
Paratex is a compressible press packing material that is designed to replace the now discontinued Kimlon. We stock the 2 basic sizes that fit most Vandercooks, other sizes are available on special order. Paratex is used as an underpacking meaning that a top sheet, either Mylar or tympan paper has to be used as well, and other packing to bring everything up to type high. Packing plus the top sheet should approximate the cylinder undercut, which on most Vandercooks is .040”.
Steve V

Is this the Paratex? I bought this from Fritz. But it feels hard compared to the rubber that is on the press. That’s what came on the press. What do I put on top of the Paratex? Tympan? I have attached a picture.

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As far as I know vandercook made those blankets.

An offset blanket has been suggested to replace it by others in the past so your good there.

I would recommend getting a dial caliper and checking the thicknesss of both new and old before proceeding.

The felt should. It matter but it is possible you may we’d to add more packing to the cylinder than it had before if the offset blanket is thinner.

If it’s thicker, you going to loose range in your make ready

Chances are that most offset blankets are in the .065” thickness range and the cylinder undercut dictates if you can use that. The #2 probably has a .040” undercut. The Paratex has received a good reception since we introduced it a couple of years ago as a replacement for the Kimlon which is no longer made. A tympan sheet or Mylar should cover it.

Don’t assume that what is on a press cylinder when you get the press is right for your use. The last 40 or 50 years have seen all sorts of well intended but ill informed decisions made on the use of these presses. It all depends on your intended use, and what you intend on printing. And once I knew that I could make some suggestions. Fritz

This model was originally intended for proofing newspaper pages (the earliest with canvas draw-sheets), and many such Vandercooks have an .070” cylinder undercut. This might account for the felt under-blanket. News forms were generally mixed forms, needing a softer packing so every element printed, and it’s also packing that won’t need to be replaced frequently in normal use. It’d be good today for forms like wood type and linoleum blocks, but photopolymer forms would probably want a harder packing.

This press is galley bed height (.968”) so it may have a .070” undercut as Eric suggested. Look for the number stamped in the channel between the cylinder bearer and the impression surface. Besides 040” and 070”, there’s .105” standard on the No. 14. I have seen seemingly odd numbers which were customed ordered.
As to rubber blankets. I’ve seen quite a few of various thicknesses. See this info from the 1964 and 1968 price lists.

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I have a related question to this. We have a Challenge 15MP that needs new packing and tympan. The tympan I have, but not the rubber under-blanket. What durometer is the traditional blanket? McMaster-Carr has some 0.030” and 0.0313” sheet materials that might work but I’m not sure what would be best.


Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

You can simply use standard packing paper to bring the thickness up to the proper height for the press. The undercut on that press is .040” Generally the packing should be thick enough so that after all is added to the thickness of the sheet being printed, the thickness should be .043”. If you are seeking deeper impression, that can be increased as needed to give you the proper impression.

The packing can then be removed or added as the thickness of the paper being printed varies. The blanket was an option which could be requested on order.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Thank you, John! As I understand it, the rubber blanket was to help take up differences in height between cuts and type, yes? I do have a fair number of older cuts that are slightly lower than usual type height; probably due to wood shrinkage. I usually wind up dealing with this with underlays and spot make-ready, but it would be nice not to have to do all that every time. I’ll see what I can come up with and report back.

Thanks again!

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN