Remove the rollers from their cardboard containers. Clean
them thoroughly with kerosene, range oil, dry cleaner's solvent,
Printoclene or any similar cleaner except gasoline or benzine. In a pinch
one of these two may be used, but they eventually put a hard surface on
rollers, and are, therefore, not desirable. Do not use water, either with
or without soap or a detergent cleaner.
If you have not already done so, clean also the ink table
and the chase bed-these parts have an anti-rust compound on them for
shipping purposes, as mentioned elsewhere. The rollers are made of a soft,
pliable material so that they will pick up and distribute ink efficiently.
Do not lay them down on a flat surface, or lean them in such a position
that their surface touches anything, because it will dent them. For the
same reason, they should not be left on the ink table for any length of
time. For more details about the care of rollers, see further on in this
If you have no hand
roller (brayer) use
one press roller
Smoothing out ink
Caution: Use no more ink than the size of a pea to start with.
IMPORTANT: See that Gripper Fingers are set out of
the way of the type, so that it will not be smashed, yet in position to
hold the paper or card being printed. Be sure to set them an equal
distance from chase and platen.
Put the roller wheels (trunions) on the ends of the
rollers, and insert the ends of the rollers in the roller hooks or
For small forms, cards, etc., the tympan and packing
should be thin and hard, two or three sheets of thin, hard, smooth paper
over a thin cardboard. For larger forms, a few sheets may be added. For
solid forms of small type a somewhat softer tympan, such as four or five
sheets of soft, news white paper, may give the best results.
Do not use too much packing of paper and cardboard under
the tympan. Be sure to remove all previous makeready and packing before
making a first impression on a new job. Remember that the harder the
tympan and the lighter the impression, the sharper and clearer the
printing, and the less the wear on the type. After a little experience you
will be able to quickly choose the right tympan for any job. Platen or
tympan assortments of special oiled paper and what is called pressboard
are available, and listed in the paper section of the supply book.
Before taking first impression, set the grippers about
half way between the form and the platen, and make sure they will not
touch any part of the form but will grip the paper or card being printed
while the impression is made. If the grippers are set too close to the
platen an undue strain will be placed on the gripper spring and eventually
will break it.
Place a small portion of ink (about the size of a pea to
begin with) on the ink table and spread it out with a hand roller, or if
you do not have one, you can use one of the press rollers. It's possible
to spread the ink by pushing the handle of the up and down so the rollers
will pass back and forth over the table, but if you do this, be sure the
chase with its type is not in the press, because the type will become
gummed up and require a thorough cleaning before you can start printing.
All being ready lay a sheet of paper on the platen, run
the rollers over the ink table, forward and back, and take an impression.
This first impression should be taken very slowly and carefully, as in
case the impression screws, upon which the platen rests and by which the
impression is adjusted, are set too far forward, the type in the form
would be mashed by a full and heavy impression. The best way is to push
the lever down slowly until you can feel a moderate pressure upon the
form, then raise the lever and examine the sheet, if only a faint
impression shows, you may take another heavier impression pushing the
lever down a little farther, noting the results, but not so hard as to
punch into the paper. If one side or corner shows more impression than the
others, loosen the impression screws on that side and proceed until the
impression is light and even all over the sheet when the lever is
Turning up impression screws with screw driver.
Set nuts must first be losened. Be
sure to tighten them after using Impression Screws. If form is weak
on one side you may need to tighten Impression Screws, but before doing
this see article on makeready.
Now turn the screws up a little, being careful to keep the
impression even, until the form prints clear and even. If you can push the
lever clear down at the first trial with little or no impression showing,
you have simply to turn up the screws until the impression is clear and
even. When the impression is correctly adjusted the platen should rest
firmly on all impression screws, without any rocking.
Getting an Impression
Here is an easy way to start getting the right impression.
Turn the impression screws back so there is no impression at all. With the
form in the chase, and a sheet of paper or card on the platen, push down
the handle of the press, which will put the rollers on the ink table, and
the platen back and platen will be up against the form so that you can
easily get at the impression screws. Now, turn each one up with your
fingers, making sure that the lock nuts are back far enough so that they
do not interfere. Keep turning until you feel each of the screws in
contact with the form. From that point you can turn them either by hand or
with a screw driver, taking frequent trial impressions on the sheet or
card to check on how you are coming. When you have the impression
satisfactory (the same on all corners), you can turn up the lock nuts to
hold the screws where they are, and can apply makeready (patches described
elsewhere) on any remaining spots which need bringing up.
Sometimes, through uneven turning up of the impression
screws or for some other reason, the platen may move u or down on one end
so that it does not set parallel to the platen back. The top two
impression screws fit into depressed spots on the platen back, as you will
see. If the platen has been wrenched around, you can get it back into
proper setting if you set those top screws back in the dents or
depressions made for the purpose.
Be Sure to Get the Handle Down
In order to obtain an even clear print the press handle
must be pushed down, not only to make contact with the type, but to bring
the impression through the toggle action. The handle of the press, as you
will see, is connected to the body or frame by two oval shaped metal
pieces, connections which have on them projections or flanges on the
inside, nearest the body. When you bring down your handle, it should make
contact, that is, actually touch the flanges on these connections. You
will not only feel this contact but you will hear a slight click when the
metals touch. This will give the toggle action a chance to exert its
pressure for good results.
The amount of pressure you will need to apply to the
handle will depend on the amount of type or size of the job you are
printing. Thus, a single line card will require practically no pressure at
all, whereas a big form will need a lot of squeeze. The important thing is
not to turn up the impression screws so far you cannot bring the handle
down onto the connections.
On larger forms you can avoid turning up the impression
screws too far and making impression difficult by using thin paper under
the low spots to get clear printing. See"Makeready" (underlay and overlay)
in the index. Tis is important. Go easy on the impression screws - let
paper patches (as described under "Makeready") do the trick. You'll get
better results, easier.
When you have the impression adjusted, tighten the lock
nuts on the impression screws to prevent slipping. When the impression is
once properly adjusted for the job in hand it should not be altered if it
can be avoided. If some jobs require more impression add a few sheets more
to the platen packing. However, to print a full, solid form it is usually
necessary to set up the upper screws a little more than the lower ones.
The impression screws should be turned back before putting on another
small form. Presses are usually sent out from the factory with the
screws turned back so that there is little or no impression until they are
Correcting the Proof
Having the impression properly adjusted, now take an
impression on a fresh sheet (called a proof) and very carefully comparing
it with the copy, examine it for possible errors, marking them on the
margin. Pay close attention to letters of similar appearance such as n,
and u, I and l, 1 and l. In small sizes of some type c and o are very
similar and should be noticed carefully; be sure s or S is not upside
down. The same applies to figures 6, 8, 9. Look carefully for "wrong font"
letters, that is, letters of the same size but different style from the
rest of the line. Be sure to check all numbers and figures with the copy.
Remove the form from the press, unlock and correct the
errors you have marked, lock and replace on the press.
While as a general rule, all corrections should be made in
the composing stick to assure good justifications, if the change involves
replacing one character with another of equal width, and you have checked
to make sure that they actually are the same, the correction can be made
in the form. Most figures are of equal width (or set, as it is called),
and the same will be found of some other characters such as u and n.
Centering the Work on the Card or Sheet
Take an impression directly on the tympan sheet. This
shows exactly where it will come every time and acts as a guide in setting
gauge pins to feed the sheets against when printing. Mark a line below
this print showing where the edge of card or sheet should come, allowing
for proper margin, and do the same at the left side of the sheet. Set
gauge pins on these lines, two on the lower (one near each corner of
sheet) and one on the left. Before pressing the little teeth of the pins
into the tympan, feed a sheet and make sure that the position and margins
are correct. If any change is required it can be readily made before the
pins are set. When everything is okay, press the teeth firmly into the
tympan sheet. If you have no gauge pins, three quads or bits of thin wood
pasted on the feeding line will answer very well.
To print sheets wider than the platen of your press, use a
long cardboard extending to the side, as part of the platen packing. You
can then set the side gauge pin on this cardboard.
Note - The form shown in the picture was specially chosen,
for illustration, from those used by ourselves, because it shows an
unusually large variety of material in use. In ordinary forms many
of the items shown are not needed.
(Click on the picture for a larger view)
Getting A Proof Before Putting In the Press
Instead of inking up your press for taking a correction
proof you may prefer to follow the way shown in the picture entitled "How
to Make a Proof". If you expect to do the actual printing later in the day
or at another time you can save inking up the press twice - one for proofs
and once for printing. Make the necessary corrections from the first proof
you pull, then take another proof to make sure there is nothing else to
||Side gauge pin on projecting card,
for printing wide sheets.
You don't necessarily have to own a galley (which by the
way, is a flat metal pan with one side open.) The type form can be in the
chase, or even standing by itself (securely wrapped around with a number
of turns of string). Proceed just as shown in Figures 2 and 3 of the
proof-making pictures. Slightly dampening the paper will make taking the
proof easier, and News White is ideal for the job. A damp rag run over the
paper will give it all the moisture necessary - just enough to make it
slightly limp, without signs of water standing on the surface. (That's the
way all paper was treated in the days of the Washington hand press-the
early 19th Century). For an ink table (to get it well spread out on the
roller) you can use your press ink table, a glazed tile, or a slab of
A Good Way to Prevent Type Damage
As soon a you have finished a job, and unless you are
going to immediately start on another identical one (such as stationery,
with only change of name and address) loosen up the grippers and push them
out to opposite ends of the platen, then tighten them there. Lots of good
type is squashed because the printer forgets to move over his grippers
before taking an impression of another form either bigger or in another
part of the chase. It only takes one squeeze to do the damage.
Drying the Printed Sheet
Some jobs on soft paper will dry in an hour or less but it
is better, if possible, to let them lie until the next day. Work will dry
better if spread out loosely than if it is piled up solid. To prevent
smearing on the back of freshly printed sheets (called offset) lay sheets
down carefully without slipping or sliding. On fine work it is best to
"slip-sheet" or lay sheets of paper between the printed sheets until they
A long board on which you can lay the sheets in a row as
they are printed will often give the ink time enough to "set" in the air
before it is covered up by another sheet.
Adjusting the Pressure of the Rollers
Rollers may be adjusted to give more or less pressure on
the type and ink table through the roller hook springs. If more tension is
desired on the 3 x 5 model, the cotter pin and washer can be taken off the
end of the roller hook and the spring stretched out, then replaced. If
yours is a 5 x 8 or larger press, more pressure can be obtained by turning
down the nuts on the ends of the roller hooks (on saddle style presses,
tighten the saddle spring nuts).
The ideal pressure is one which makes the press as easy as
possible to work, keeps the rollers in place over the type form, yet
allows them to turn freely. Important: Before changing any adjustment on
the rollers, be sure that the roller hooks are oiled where they go through
the sockets. The press is more likely to work hard because of this than
because of too much tension on the springs.
Printing Halftone Cuts
Halftones (cuts from photographs or other shaded pictures)
have a surface made up of tiny dots (as you will see if you look closely
or through a magnifying glass at one). Such cuts take a lot more
impression and ink than the same amount of type or line cuts. Practically
all the illustrations in the Guide and the Printer's Helper are line cuts.
Because of this need for extra squeeze and inking
capacity, the printing of halftones larger than one third the size of the
chase had best not be attempted.
Makeready (underlay and overlay) is particularly important
on halftone printing if good results are to obtained. You need everything
clean and dustless, because any specks on the ink table, rollers or in the
ink will transfer themselves to the face of the cut, usually making spots
with small white areas around them, which will require cleaning rollers,
table and form, and re-inking with uncontaminated ink.
Halftones are best printed on a coated or enamelled stock,
but good results can also be obtained on paper like our glossy white. If
halftones are to be used on rougher surface papers, or on book grades
without coating, they should be purchased with a coarser screen (larger
dots) such as you will find used in newspapers.
A soft ink like halftone black is best for cut work. If
ink is stiff, it may cause the cut to pick specks of paper from the sheet
being printed, which will transfer themselves to the rollers and ink
table, and then back to the cut. Such specks act just as dust or pieces of
ink skin--they make spots on the cut, often surrounded with halos of
The higher the number, the finer the screen (the more dots
to the square inch). Thus, 133 screen has smaller dots or screen than 120.
For work on enamelled, coated or glossy stock (including Porcelain Finish
Card) we recommend and furnish 100 screen unless otherwise specified, and
85 screen for the grades of book or news paper.
If you are going to run a half-tone, be very careful that
the ink you put on the press does not have any particles of skin in it;
that your press, rollers and form are entirely free from dust, and that
your ink does not start to "pick" the surface of the paper. Use makeready
as described in the Guide and the Course rather than a lot of heavy
impression, although you will need somewhat more squeeze than for the same
amount of type. If you follow through on these details with patience, you
ought to get good results.
One other thing-add ink frequently and in small
quantities, rather than larger amounts less often. The face of a halftone
plate is easily filled up, and if too much is put on, the results will be
poor and the cut will have to be given a good cleaning. On some jobs it
may be necessary to clean the face occasionally anyway, but that will
happen less frequently with the sparing use of ink.
After cleaning, unlock form, and taking a line at a time,
by the aid of a lead or rule, hold it in left hand, and taking off a
letter at a time, drop it into its own place in the case, continuing until
all is distributed. Use your composing stick for this, if you have one.
All rules, leads, reglet, furniture, etc. should also be distributed to
There are plenty of other suggestions for getting good
work on the pages following, but assuming your work is satisfactorily
completed for the time, you will want to clean your rollers, ink table and
Remove the chase from the press, and before loosening or
unlocking, take a rag wet with cleaning solution (or gasoline or benzine)
and carefully wipe the face of the form until no ink remains. We recommend
Printoclene for this purpose. Use a small stiff brush to get the ink out
of the crevices, but not until you have first wiped the face with a rag.
Wipe furniture, chase and all parts of the form with cleaning solution
until everything is perfectly clean.
The ink table and rollers may be relieved of a large part
of their ink by placing a sheet of newsprint or other paper on the table
and running the rollers back and forth. The rest may be taken off by
wiping with cleaning solution and rags. The general care of rollers will
be found elsewhere in this Guide. Proper roller treatment is very
important if you want to continue to have good results.
Parts & Proofing |
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Misc. Printing |