My Impression

So I wasn’t entirely happy with how my Braden Sutphin ink was performing on paper. It just seemed a little…squishy. I read a lot of opinions on Briar Press, e-mailed some fellow printers, and tried to dig a little deeper into the whole “eco” ink debate. I’d like for my shop to be as eco-friendly as possible, as healthy for me as possible, AND have my prints look as rad as possible. I feel like the whole soy ink thing has been pretty firmly rejected at this point as being any more eco-friendly than traditional oil and rubber based letterpress inks. So I started thinking about the “vegetable based” idea some more and read that in the old days, all oil-based letterpress inks were made from vegetable and seed oils. It seems that these days most are made from petroleum oils instead, which is obviously not the friendliest. I read several people promoting the fact that Charbonnel etching inks are still made with linseed oil and a heavy pigment load, which makes them great for letterpress and a lot more like printing was “in the old days.”

I also read that Charbonnel inks work well for large areas of coverage, which I’ll definitely need for my various holiday card designs. As I mentioned before, I’ve decided to try out Somerset papers for these cards because they supposedly score/fold well. Today I did a quick test on my Pilot with s combination of Charbonnel inks and Somerset paper, and it did look really nice. The edges were crisp, even with a deep impression.


Speaking of impression, I’ve come to the conclusion that I just can’t get a lot of it with my Pilot. It does a fine amount for small pieces like the one above, but a lot of my designs are fairly dense and I just can’t get the pressure I need on my little table top guy. I’ve tried all sorts of packing materials, methods, and amounts…but when it comes down to it I just can’t get enough pressure. I don’t want to kill myself or crack the arm of my little guy, so I think I’ll just have to stick to smaller designs (like business cards) on the Pilot. Luckily I’ve got my 8 x 12 C&P also, which so far has done great with impression over larger areas.

This was the first time I’ve actually PRINTED in over a month or so…I’ve been so busy doing backend planning and such. It felt really nice. Cleanup of Charbonnel using only vegetable oil went about like it had for all other inks – took a while, but worked pretty well in the end.

My holiday card designs are for sale on the Goode Green website, even though I haven’t actually made any plates, bought any paper, bought any ink, OR tested any of the prints. Scary! This is me practicing jumping into something without overanalyzing and overpreparing, and seeing what happens. I DID spend forever pricing those suckers, though. Man is it complicated. Now I’m off to work some more on my website…cheerio!

Pulp & Press Soundtrack 9/16/09: “First Train Home” (Imogen Heap). Seriously dude…the Alice In Wonderland references that keep popping up in my life are uncanny.

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About Nina

I am a design consultant, writer, letterpress printer, nature enthusiast, and lover of local/organic food...with a dash of rock and roll. Also, I want to be a cowboy.
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