Letterpress Test 4

Julia Schirrmeister & Emma Warren
70 degrees, relatively dry
6 in. x 10 in. Kelsey press
4.5 in. x 7.5 in. French Paper
Ink: Graphic Chemical & Ink Co 1 Lb Graphic Oil Based Block Print Black

Chase Preparation

This experiment is the beginning of our ink investigation. We must keep all variables the same, other than the ink, to see which ink is the most successful for letterpress printing — so we kept the same chase lock up from the previous two experiments (#2 + #3)

Chase lock up

Chase lock up

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 1/2 tsp. of ink evenly onto the ink table.
Inking up with palette knife

Inking up with palette knife


Charged rollers 1 times for each print.
Re-ink with ½ tsp every 20 prints.

# 1
– Results:
              – Spotty results in the upper middle section (“Love”).
– Adjustments:
– Charged roller 3 times.
              – “Kissed” the print.

Print 1

Print 1

# 2 – # 20  
– Results:
              – Consistently great results! (Occasional spots in the “V” “O” “E” Letters).
              – Reink every 20 prints.
– Adjustments:
– “Bite” the print and charged 3 roller three times.

Prints 2 - 20

Prints 2 – 20

# 21
– Results:
              – Spotty in the middle area of the print
– Adjustments:
– Charged roller one time

Print 21

Print 21

# 22 – #31
– Results:
– Consistently great results with one charge on the roller!
– Adjustments:
– Reinked with ½ Tsp ink.
              – Charged roller once.

Prints 22 - 31

Prints 22 – 31


We achieved consistently successful results with this Graphic Chemicals Oil Based Block ink. All that was required was to reink the ink plate every 20 prints with ½ Tsp ink. “Biting” the print resulted in solid even inking along the print. The clean up went more quickly and we used less rags, estisol and crisco. Next time we plan on changing the ink variable again and trying the Century Color Inc. 1.2# Letterpress Opaque Jewel  Blue WB-764 T-14.


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