Letterpress Test 1

Julia Schirrmeister & Emma Warren
11/18/16
69 degrees, relatively dry
6 in. x 10 in. Kelsey press
4.5 in. x 5 in. French Paper
Ink: Caligo Carbon Black Letterpress

Chase Preparation

In our chase we prepared our design: “ZEA MAYS 11.18.16”. We used the larger metal type, wooden furniture, and quoins (two Top/Bottom, 1 lft/rt) to lock in the design. In order to keep the date from falling out of the chase, we inserted several small cut pieces of plastic slugs and we inserted copper thins, in between each number, to secure the date. With the quoins, wooden furniture and plastic slugs we were able to set up the chase successfully.

Setting up ZEA MAYS chase

Setting up ZEA MAYS chase

ZEA MAYS locked chase

ZEA MAYS locked chase

Press Preparation

  • Pressure: All of the bolts were loosened completely so that they were just touching the plate.
  • Had to realign the gripper bar spring (see conclusion).
  • Our packing consisted of 10 pieces of paper, one pressboard and the tympan.
  • We secured the gauges to the tympan to hold the paper.
  • Then secured the chase in the chase bed.
  • With palette knife, spread 1 tsp. of ink evenly onto the ink table.
Tympan, Blotter and packing secured with gauges to hold the paper

Tympan, blotter and packing secured with gauges to hold the paper

Plate inked up with palette knife

Plate inked up with palette knife

Printing

Charged rollers 2 or 3 times for each print.
Re-ink with ½ tsp every 7 prints.

# 1 – # 5  
Results:
              – Uneven pressure throughout all prints.
– Adjustments:
              – Tighten the middle top bolt ½ turn.
              – Added 2 more paper packings.
              – We created a small make ready (staggered pieces of paper held with tape).

Prints 1 - 5

Prints 1 – 5

# 6 – # 11
Results:
              – Pressure is better, “Z” is consistently uneven and spotty.
– Adjustments:
              – Added another make ready (this one was made of thicker paper).
              – Print # 7 we added ½ teaspoon ink. Adjusted make ready.
              – Added 2 sheets of thicker paper because the pressure was still inconsistent.

Prints 6 - 12

Prints 6 – 12

# 12 – #16
– Results:
              – The ink is weak and the results are still spotty.
              – “MAYS” was good and “ZEA” was poor.
– Adjustments:
              – We added square make ready strip under the “ZEAMAYS” section.
              – Took the entire make ready out.
              – Added two more pieces of packing.
              – We added ¼ tsp ink before

Prints 12 -16

Prints 12 -16

# 17 – # 19  
– Results:
              – Even pressure throughout.
              – Good results, still a problem with the Z.
– Adjustments:
              – We added ¼ tsp ink before  #17.
              – Charged up rollers 10 times.

Prints 17 -19

Prints 17 -19

Conclusion

The pressure was difficult to figure out on this experiment — we have to find a balance between the bolts and the packing. We believe this ink to be inconsistent due to its spottiness and the way the ink bleeds around the letters. We noticed that the gripper bar spring was not hooked into the gripper bar, which resulted in the grippers not standing upright.  We removed the spring and cleaned it with steel wool and 2000 grit sandpaper, which removed the rust more successfully. Once we reattached the gripper bar spring the grippers ran smoothly.  

The chase lock up was successful. Once aligning the gripper bar spring the grippers stood upright without hitting the rollers and the press was able to print smoothly. We were able to complete an edition of 19 prints.

When printing with the Caligo Carbon Black Letterpress ink you will need to put on more ink and charge the roller multiple times for each print. We want to figure out if our problem is the pressure or the ink. Therefore for the next experiment we plan on calibrating the pressure — and if there are still inconsistencies in the results then we will switch inks.  

 

Next Experiment –>