Adana H/S1
Adana H/S1

The heav­ier pro­fes­sion­al machines, designed to print formes involv­ing bold type and blocks gen­er­al­ly have a set of rollers ded­i­cat­ed to dis­trib­ut­ing and prepar­ing or ‘milling’ the ink and anoth­er set, the forme rollers, which apply that ink to the type. The lighter trea­dle or pow­ered ‘job­bing’ platens and the table-top hand platens make do with just one set of, usu­al­ly only two, rollers to per­form both func­tions. The sheer sim­plic­i­ty of table-top platens such as Adanas and those small trea­dle or pow­ered platens with an ‘impres­sion throw-off’ allows one to fool their basic mech­a­nisms into behav­ing as though they have at least twice as many rollers which results in a bet­ter ink film and, thus bet­ter print­ing. By run­ning a thin­ner film of well-loos­ened ink and rolling the forme twice or more for each impres­sion your lit­tle press will pro­duce far bet­ter work.

The builders of larg­er plat­en press­es spent a lot of mon­ey on mech­a­nisms to sim­u­late what old hand-press print­ers using Albions, etc. called a ‘sink­ing pull’. This allows the forme to dwell in con­tact with the paper rather than jump straight on and off and again the result is a bet­ter print­ed sheet. This is eas­i­ly achieved with a hand-press, whether Albion or Adana and well worth the lit­tle extra time involved.

Adanas, in par­tic­u­lar, com­pro­mise ink­ing to allow one to print on paper larg­er than the plat­en. To keep the roller tracks below the plat­en the met­al or plas­tic run­ners at the ends of the rollers are of larg­er diam­e­ter than the actu­al roller. The sur­face speed of the roller over the type is thus dif­fer­ent from that of the run­ner which results in the roller skid­ding slight­ly across the type which caus­es ‘ink slur’ rather than an even coat­ing. If print­ing paper suf­fi­cient­ly small­er than the inner width of the chase, one can over­come this by fit­ting a fair­ly thick piece of wood rule, to act as a ‘type-high bear­er’ for the rollers, at each end of the chase. This will also neces­si­tate remov­ing the ‘patent head-lay’ fit­ted to most Adanas (since its ends would crush the rule), and using tra­di­tion­al front or head and side-lays. These can be either quads glued to the tym­pan, slips of fold­ed card attached with mask­ing tape, or if you are lucky enough to find some, met­al gauge pins, some of which are adjustable, which are pushed into suit­ably placed holes pricked or slit into the top sheet of the tym­pan.

Adana’s head-lay and frisket grip­per fin­gers are infa­mous for crush­ing the type of the unwary — con­vert­ing to card lays attached after tak­ing a proof impres­sion is part of the answer. The 8 x 5 has two frisket fin­gers which are best replaced by stretch­ing the sort of rub­ber band the post­man drops on your front path between the frisket arms. This will not dam­age the type of the absent-mind­ed, but will still lift the print­ed sheet clear of the type forme.

This guide kind­ly con­tributed by John R Smith of the Old Forge Press. Orig­i­nal­ly appeared in the newslet­ter of the Oxford Guild of Print­ers