8043Re: Soy update
- Jul 9, 2007Actually, I've not found any studies that indicate that soy-based ink
is compatible with the letterpress process. With the legislation that
has been passed and is pending, I wonder how long some of the older
and trusted inks will be available. The push toward safer working
conditions and concern for the environment, while admirable, doesn't
necessarily translate into better materials for manufacturing processes.
There were some studies a long while back on the chemical analysis of
the ink used in Gutenberg's printed work. Apparently, he took the
secret of it to his grave as even the subsequent printed work of Fust
and Schoeffer does not share the formula. The rich and enduring black
of the ink on the pages of the Gutenberg Bible is due to high
concentration of lead, presumably lead carbonate (white lead). This is
a highly toxic substance now banned to some extent in the manufacture
of paint and volatile products, though still considered a qualitative
As an aside: I have a book from 1909 titled The Lead and Zinc Pigments
that details the manufacture of white lead with many photos of the
processes. Those factory conditions are truly frightening, the workers
literally lived and breathed the stuff, no gloves, no masks; even a
photo of a proudly posed woman gathering the material in bare feet.
We've come a very long way from that.
>offset printer I use, uses the ink [oil or rubber base] efficiently
> I would agree with you. Making sure that I, and any letterpress or
[minimize waste] and thoroughly [use up the can] is more important
than just some soy content.
> >My limited experience with soy inks has not been all that
> >satisfactory. I can't get the quality of presswork that I've
> >experienced with other inksâ"I suspect that this has something to do
> >with the carrier to pigment ratio in the blacks. Nor does soy ink seem
> >to respond well with traditional additives, such as magnesium
> >carbonate. Also, since it is considered more biodegradable than
> >traditional inks I wonder about its longevity. Plus, it's a bit
> >unnerving that the stuff can be washed off your hands with plain soap
> >and water!!!
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