Ink modifiers for Van Son Classic Plus Ink


I recently bought some Van Son Classic Plus Ink (their new replacement for Rubber Based Plus) and I was wondering if the following ink modifiers are compatible to mix with Classic Plus:

- Van Son Aqua Flow Vanish #30
- Van Son Body Builder Varnish
- Van Son Tack Reducer

I wasn’t sure if they were only meant to be used with their oil based line of inks. I’ve reached out to the company, but I haven’t received a reply yet.

Also, is it possible to use linseed oil varnishes with Van Son Classic Plus, as a means to increase viscosity?

I’m kinda new to rubber-based inks, so I’m not sure what one can and cannot mix with them.


Log in to reply   3 replies so far

Since no one else has replied to you, let me make some general comments, which I have made before on here.
Some of this I am simplifying.

Inks have 3 components: vehicle, pigment and additives.
The vehicle is there to surround the pigment and protect it and bind it to the sheet. The pigment, of course, provides the color. The additives give the ink properties which it might not have otherwise, such as the tack reducer you mention, driers to speed up drying, and wax to increase rub resistance.

Oil base and rubber base inks are actually quite similar. (Rubber base inks don’t have rubber in them, by the way). Both inks have various types of resins and oils in them, some of which “dry” by being absorbed into the sheet, and some of which are “drying oils” which dry by reacting with the oxygen in the air (oxidation) to form a solid film.

Rubber base inks have more oils which absorb into the sheet and less oils which oxidation. Oil base inks have more oils which dry by oxidation and less oils which absorb into the sheet. But both inks have both types.

So, you should be able to use just about any of your additives with just about any of your inks, oil base or rubber base. And in a pinch, you should be able to mix oil base and rubber base inks, although you will change the drying characteristics. If you do any of these things, be sure to do a print test to make sure the ink dries satisfactorily and has all the other characteristics which you desire like gloss, rub resistance, adhesion to the sheet, etc. You don’t want to print a job and then find that it doesn’t dry for a month, for instance.

P.S. Don’t mix water base inks with any of these

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, you can send me an email through Briar Press..

Hey Geoffrey,

Thanks for breaking that down for me. If I have anymore questions, I’ll be sure to e-mail you directly.


PS: I’m actually not using the rubber base ink for letterpress, but rather for hand lithography. Since Van Son’s rubber base ink is rather low on body, I’ll need to increase its viscosity quite a bit to make it work for hand lithography, especially with Van Son’s new Classic Plus formula which is a bit runnier than the older Rubber Base formula. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

Although I have never done hand lithography, I think there are additives which will increase viscosity, such as:

Scroll down to 30205 calcium carbonate