Letterpress Test 2

Julia Schirrmeister & Emma Warren
69 degrees, relatively dry
6 in. x 10 in. Kelsey press
4.5 in. x 7.5 in. French Paper
Ink: Caligo Carbon Black Letterpress

Chase Preparation

A: This chase’s purpose was to help us calibrate the pressure on the 6 in. x 10 in. Kelsey press. We placed the four ornaments in the four corners of the chase to determine where pressure is needed. We filled the chase with the four ornaments, wooden and metal furniture and quoins (two Top/Bottom, 1 lft/rt). We were able to set up the chase successfully.

Chase A

Chase A

B: In our chase we prepared our design: “LOVE trumps hate”. We used the larger metal type, four ornaments, wooden and metal furniture, and quoins (two Top/Bottom, 1 lft/rt) to lock in the design. We were able to lock the chase successfully.

Chase B

Chase B

Press Preparation

  • Pressure: All of the bolts were loosened completely so that they were just touching the plate.
  • 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.

    Inking up with palette knife

    Inking up with palette knife


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

Chase A:

# 1 – # 7  
             – After recalibrating our pressure, our 7th pull had perfect even pressure on all four sides
– Adjustments:
              – Tightened Top bolts by 2.5 full rotations, bottom bolts by 1 rotation

Adjusting pressure via bolts

Adjusting pressure via bolts

Prints 1 - 7

Prints 1 – 7

Chase B:

 # 8 – # 10
– Adjustments:
              – Added ½ Tsp ink to the ink table. Added ¼ turn to the top right bolt (aka impression screw). Charged the roller four times and pulled good print.


Prints 8 - 10

Prints 8 – 10

# 11 – #16
–  Results:
              – Three charges of the chase resulted in a successful even layer of ink on the print.
– Adjustments:
              – Experimented with number of charges to see which number pulled the most even proof.

Prints 11 - 16

Prints 11 – 16

# 17 – # 21
             – Should re-ink every 7 prints with a 1/4 Tsp.
– Adjustments:
              – Ran into ink inconsistencies on the “P”. Used different charges which didn’t change results. Reinked with ½ Tsp on #19. Type bled slightly. #20 looks improved and #21 is perfect.


Prints 17 - 21

Prints 17 – 21

# 22 – # 24   
– Results:
–  Adjustments:
              – Noticed inconsistencies in certain letters. Charged three times and got good results.

Prints 22 -24

Prints 22 -24

# 25 – # 30
– Results:
              –  One charge of the roller was too little, two charges while “kissing” the print had good results.
– Adjustments:
              –  Started noticing small lines of ink around letters starting with #25. Decided to “kiss” print instead of bite while adjusting number of charges.


Prints 25 - 30

Prints 25 – 30



In order to get solid results it would be best to charge the plate three times and re ink the ink table every 7 prints. The Caligo Carbon Black Letterpress proved to be too sticky. We noticed a visible peel on the ink table.  We concluded that it would be inadvisable to continue with this particular ink. In our next test we will use a different ink. We did produce a pretty solid edition of 30 prints. For experiment 3 we plan on only changing the variable of the ink.


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