Sunday, November 18, 2007


I've been doing a bit of forward planning. In two weeks' time, I'll be working on Poppy full-time, but in the meantime I have to sit through the last days at my job. It's hard, when I have so many ideas for letterpress, but no time to do it at night after work. I'm sure once I've been at home for a few weeks, I'll feel like I have far more time than I need, but until then, I can't wait.

Yesterday I cut up 45 cards ready to be printed with my giraffe design. I'm currently working on BFK Rives, off-white, 250gsm because that's the best I can find at the art supply store. I've found some white 280gsm online, but would really like a 300gsm. Oh, and a guillotine. Holy cow, I'm sick of cutting. I might talk to a local printer about cutting some cards to size in the future.

Today I bought some sample coloured envelopes to match ink to for the giraffe. He's quite the cutey. I've also bought some rivets for future swing tags that I have planned.

This weekend's printing was short-lived, but consisted of tests printing on cotton ribbon, as well as the giraffe's first colour plate test. The ribbon I'd like to use for packaging my cards - yes, I know... I'm thinking too far ahead. I really just need to focus on the actual designs and printing, but a little forward though is a good thing. The ribbon printed well, so I might work up a design to print in colour, or a series of colours.

The giraffe plate is a different story. It's been stinking hot here in Canberra lately, and today was no exception. High humidity just before a storm meant I had a cranky little press. Before starting, I had to clean everything again in kero, as oil was seeping out of rollers and even off the ink disc. Think it's clean when you're finished printing? Think again.

The humidty also meant that I couldn't get the giraffe to stick to the base much at all, it just curled right up. I took it off, cleaned off all the residue off the plate and the base and tried again with no luck. Even after being pressed under heavy weight. I guess this is where a magnetic base and metal-backed polymer really comes in handy. May have to look into that for the future. For now, I did a test run in black anyway, expecting heaps of problems, but got some okay little prints.

I forgot to get a photo of the plate curling, but will if it happens again.

What experiences have you guys had with temperature and environmental conditions? We're in Spring now, but about to launch into a hot Summer - temps normally between 30-40 degs C (86-104 F) and I'm wondering what problems I'll experience then.

I've also been experimenting with different ways of cleaning up after pulling prints. Normally my clean-up process is this:
  1. Take ink disc off, clean up with Crisco oil and rags. Quick finish-up with a wipe of kerosene.
  2. Take rollers off. I keep about half a cup of Crisco oil in a 10L bucket, and I've found that the rollers are the perfect width to sit across the top of the bucket. That way they're held in place and I rotate them as I wipe them clean with oil. Every couple of runs I finish up with kero.
  3. Clean plate/locked up type with Crisco oil and old toothbrush. Keep your old toothbrushes! They come in handy. A quick brush with oil, and then final wipe down is usually all it needs.
  4. And then clean up of any palette knives that I've used to put ink on the ink disc.

This routine has been working very well (I'm a cleaning freak with my press and leave it spotless after each run). The process only takes me about 15 minutes. I've read other printers take ages to clean their big C&Ps. God bless my lil Adana.

Today I put a clean sheet of paper between the rollers and the ink disc to get most of the excess ink off the press. After a few sheets, I then added Crisco oil to the ink disc and ran the rollers over it a few times. I cleaned up the ink disc with a clean rag, and gave the rollers a wipe down, followed by kero. I'm not convinced this is a better way of cleaning up, but it made cleaning the rollers easier.


who is this gal? said...

My clean up is pretty much the same. Although, I don't take the ink disc off. I find it easier to clean and handle while it's still on the press. When it rotates on the press, even better as I take a rag to it with Crisco. The Adana manual suggests taking the rollers up to the disc and taking them off from there. (not sure how you've been taking off the rollers, but this way is quick and painless). I don't have any kero so I just use linseed oil for the last wipe on the disc, rollers, magnesium plates and palette knives. Not sure if it's okay to use linseed oil or not but so far everything seems to be okay!

Queen Bee Amy said...

I hope the remaining two weeks at your job go quickly and smoothly.

Love the G-raffe!

Btw, I've tagged you on my blog. :)


Poppy Letterpress said...

The rotating mechanism on my ink disc needs a new bolt, so I'm actually manually doing it when I print (*GASP!*). Must get that fixed... Unfortunately, this is how it arrived. Taking it off to clean just means I can sit down... I'm so lazy ;)

Yes, it took me about 3 weeks to realise that it's easier to remove the rollers by taking them up to the ink disc. It's easier if the disc has been removed first too.

TAGGED! How exciting (I live a sheltered life, hehe). Will get going on that when I'm not at work...

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