Inking with a brayer

Hi any tips on inking polymer plates with a brayer in a proof press? My first problem is I’m using a cheap speedball brayer. Second should you be using a small dab of ink? My impressions keep coming out splotchy and have bad halos. Thanks for any advice
Inking in Denver

Log in to reply   2 replies so far

Use a minimum amount of ink to get the image you need, and don’t let the brayer ink the edges of the images. In other words, don’t use too much pressure and be careful not to let the brayer drop off the outside edges of what you are inking. Some printers use strips of type-high wood or metal to support the roller while they ink, then remove the strips before printing. That supports the roller so it doesn’t slur off the edge of the images.

If the Speedball Brayer is still resilient, it should work OK.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Polymer suppliers like Boxcar often provide type-high bearing strips of polymer you can use in a manner similar to what John Henry describes in wood or metal. I printed for several years on a Vandercook no. 1—no inking apparatus and no grippers. If I was printing from polymer, I would ask my plate supplier to supply bearing strips with my plate. These would support the roller, and then I would either remove before printing, or (if the bearers were wider than my stock) simply ink the mylar/tympan as I printed. A key point is having a brayer wider than your image, so you can ink the full width of the image evenly along the bearing strips. A big plate with a small brayer is tough.