Back At It

You know you’re you’re done with your website if…a) you can spend all day printing and b) you can write 2 blog posts in 2 days. Woohoo! So, I think I realized that the last time I actually ran a big print job really was several months ago. I was trying to improve upon some business cards I had printed on the Pilot, but the big C&P was giving me quite a bit of inking agida. Many of you, loyal readers, wrote in with suggestions for how I could fix the mysterious inking issues. Even though before I had time to adequately respond to you I was sucked into the time vortex that was my website, I truly appreciated all your ideas. The truth is, I was so frustrated almost to the point of tears that I think part of what I needed was a big break.

When I went back in yesterday to print the corrugated postcards, I initially had some of the same problems I did a few months ago. Mysterious uneven vertical inking, sometimes even leaving out whole spots in the middle of the plate:

Weird, right? The only thing I’ve been able to determine so far is that how the base is sitting in the chase seems to be affecting inking. I’m not sure if my Chase is a little uneven (as I’m pretty sure is the case with my Pilot) or the surface I’m using to lockup isn’t completely flat, but I seem to be able to achieve some success by gently knocking various corners around once locked up, to compensate for the uneven inking. Whatever I did seemed to work for the moment, which THRILLED me. I mixed up a nice deep orange color for the cards (appropriate, given the date), using some of my Van Son VS Zero Ink for the first time. I was disappointed to find out, earlier this year, that the VS Zero (zero volitle organic compounds) ink would only be released in CMYK colors instead of Pantone mixing colors. I went ahead and ordered some anyway, though, figuring I would eventually get up the courage to put my preschool color mixing knowledge to the test.

So, these tubs I have are HUGE. I think 10 pounds each. When I finally cracked them open today, the ink looked a little runny. I was concerned that I’d have a similar spoogy effect that the Braden Sutphin Earth Pride ink was giving me a few months back, but actually once it was on press it was a little on the tacky side. It printed very nicely on the corrugated, and eventually came off the press with just vegetable oil. Overall, I’m really pleased with how the VS Zero performed. The only thing that’s vexing me a bit is that now, 24 hours later, the ink still isn’t dry. I’m not exactly sure why this would be the case, but when I touch one of the cards it’s still tacky and comes off on my fingers. This isn’t a good sign – particularly since I need to go back in on Sunday to print some more cards and they have to be ready to mail out on Monday. If the cards aren’t completely dry by tomorrow I’m pretty screwed – because I already printed about 150 cards using this ink and don’t have any extra. :: sigh :: I guess I’ll see what happens. At least they look nice:

And now to show a little love for my big press, some artsy images:

Sure is a beauty. Now I just have to get up the courage to start using it with the motor on so I don’t have to turn the wheel with my left arm the whole time – I woke up in the middle of last night with my wrists throbbing. Hopefully I’ll be able to get the hang of it using regular paper – the cardboard was tricky because I had to actually secure it pushing the gauge pins through the middle of the fluting. I wonder how much it would cost to “downgrade” to a foot treadle instead of a motor. I get nervous when the thing is at speed 2 – and it goes all the way up to 15!

Maybe I would feel more comfortable if I had more secure gauge pins. The ones I have are a bit old and rusty, so perhaps I should just get some new ones. Yeah, I’m off to order some right now. Word.

Pulp & Press Soundtrack 10/31/09 (Happy Halloween!): Starblood (Cranes).


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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