Maybe five years ago we bought our Vandercook SP-15 off eBay. When it got here the one major problem was that the ink drum was quite scratched from the automatic cleaning bar that scraped the ink off it. Lately we’ve been having trouble printing evenly with it and started to deduce that it might be a combination of the colder weather (and colder ink) and the ink drum dropping ink on rather erratically as the press ran.
We’ve wanted to get it milled for years and finally got around to doing it this week.
I’m not sure what we expected, but we gasped when they brought it out. There is nothing like having the right tool for the right job.
Our studio is a 2,200 square foot space in an industrial park and as it turns out there is a grinding service just down the street called J&A Grinding that we’ve been using to sharpen our cutter blades since we moved in. We asked them if they could mill the surface of our drum smooth and they said, “No problem.”
It cost us $150 as it took at least 7 or 8 passes to get all but one small area that just seemed dangerously deep, but very, very small. I wish I had taken a photo of it before the milling to show you how much damage there was, but above is one of the finished job.
Honestly, we aren’t going to use the auto-cleaning any more. We also might just take all of the other metal rollers and let them take one pass across them all and just have it like new again.
I also think we’ll start adding ink on the rubber rollers instead of hitting the metal ones with an ink knife.