Letterpress Test 7

Julia Schirrmeister & Emma Warren
69 degrees, relatively dry
Showcard Press
12.5 in. x 19 in. French Paper
Ink: Caligo Relief Ink in Phthalo Green

Chase Preparation
For this experiment we were testing metal type on the Showcard press. This chase was prepared with wooden furniture, metal type, slugs, spacers and locked in with 4 quoins and keys.

Metal chase lock up

Metal chase lock up

Press Preparation

  • Pressure: tightened pressure on the small calibrated cylinder to the second red line. This allowed for the “toggle arrangement” to automatically lift the impression cylinder when backing over the chase bed. This ensures that no blurring of the type occur while the impression cylinder is returned to rest
  • Then secured the chase in the chase bed with magnets.
    Secured chase with magnets

    Secured chase with magnets

    With palette knife, spread 1 tbsp. of ink evenly onto the disk.

      • After applying the ink to the ink disk, charge rollers 6 times to ensure even spreading of the ink to the disk and rollers.
      • You must pump the pedal with your foot in order to rotate the ink table after each charge of the roller.
        Inked type

        Inked type

        After you have successfully inked the type, it is time to place your paper.

        Securing paper

        Securing paper

        Securing paper 3

        Securing paper 2

        Securing paper 4

        Securing paper 3


        Charged rollers 4 times for each print.
        Passed over type 1 per print.
        Re-ink with 1 tbsp every 10 prints.

# 1 – # 4

1 - 4

1 – 4

We discovered that 4 charges stopped the bleeding of the ink however we consistently got a halo effect around the type.

– Adjustments:
6 charges of the ink on #1 resulted in uneven inking and slight bleeding. We adjusted to 4 charges on #2 – #4 and experimented with the number of passes over the type.

# 5 – # 7


5 – 7

All the results looked largely the same and they all still had the halo   effect around the type

– Adjustments:
We continued experimenting with the number of passes over the type.

# 8 – #11


8 – 11

The results were largely the same- rather uneven and all had the halo effect.

– Adjustments:
We charged the rollers 4 times and we inked the type once.

# 12 – # 15


12 – 15

The halo effect appears to be consistent throughout all the prints. Inking the smaller type as opposed to the larger wooden type means that the ink on the ink disc lasts longer than when we used the wooden type. We conclude that we could re-ink the ink disc every 15 prints.

– Adjustments:
We continued to charge the roller 4 times and inked the type once. Prints were consistent at this point.

There was a slight halo effect inside the edges of the type. We believe this effect is due to the interaction of the metal type and the impression cylinder.
Through this experiment we were able to confirm without any doubt that the texture that resulted in Letterpress Test 5 and 6 were the result of the wooden type and not of the Showcard press. We cleaned the type with the Estisol 242. The cleanup went quickly and smoothly with the Caligo Phthalo Green Relief ink.
Next time we will experiment with a different ink — the Graphic Chemical & Ink Co. 1 Lb Graphic Oil Based Block Print Black.  We hope to figure out whether the halo effect that appeared consistently throughout all Test 7’s prints, is a characteristic of the Phthalo Green ink or of the metal type on the Showcard press.  

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