A very exciting day last Sunday as I became the proud owner of my long awaited printing press. It is a beautiful etching press made by John Pears of Rollaco Presses.
John is retired engineer who makes a small number of expertly engineered presses each year. He supplies many schools and colleges as well as professional print studios. His website is well worth a visit if you are considering buying a press – especially his no nonsense guide as to what to look for in a press.
I spent a long time researching what type of press to get and although I work in linocut at the moment, the Rollaco presses are equally suitable for both relief and intaglio printing. In fact they can also be adapted for letterpress work – something I will be doing in the future.
I must admit I was a little apprehensive before I used it for the first time and I expected to have to fiddle around a lot before I got satisfactory results. I need not have worried. It has given me great results, literally from the very first print I took.
I bought a set of wool felts to use however I thought that they would be too soft for the linocuts and cause the paper to push into the plate too much – picking up any unwanted ink that might be lurking around the edges of the cut areas of the plate. I had read on the printmaking forums about using a rubber lithographer’s printing blanket in place of the felts as it has just the right amount of ‘give’. Thanks to a friendly and generous local printing supplies company I was given a rubber printers blanket and it works a treat with the press. You can see the blue rubber side in the picture below.