Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I was going to post a snarky post...

I just read the Modish post about how one can clean a "letterpress machine" with baby oil, and I just made myself delete half of what I wrote. I mean, it's nothing new. I've heard of this, along with mineral oil, Crisco, vegetable oil, kerosene, fish oil, etc. I've cleaned ink off of my press with canola oil, so I have no questions about exactly how effective this is, because I have a pretty good idea.

I wasn't even going to even try to open up the discussion of whether using baby oil is "greener" than my diluted California Wash. I actually think the people who use vegetable oil and shortening win the green award for clean-up method. Last time I checked, baby oil is mineral oil with scent (a petroleum product), so one is still not getting around using a petroleum product to clean one's press by using baby oil. Mineral oil, mineral spirits, kerosene, California Wash -- they're all petroleum products. So by using baby oil, one isn't really getting away from petroleum products at all.

What I'm really worried about now that I've calmed down is that either (1) I have a gross misunderstanding of what the author means when she says that the whole press is oiled when she cleans with baby oil or (2) that press isn't being properly oiled. Because when I clean, I clean everything the ink gets on. Which is generally nowhere near the majority of the oiling holes on either of my presses.

So now that I've deleted most of the snarkiness out of my post, I'd just like to say that I'm worried about all of those letterpress newbies out there scouring all of our letterpress blogs. Please please please oil your presses properly. I know how expensive some of these presses are, and I would hate to see it freeze up on you.

And now I'm going to go oil my press.

1 comment:

Minh said...

Hi Tina, I just got a Kelsey 5x8 (although I really wanted a Golding Official ^_~) from Don Black in Toronto. I'm still trying to get everything sorted out, looking for ink, wash, and paper. My question is, how do you dispose of your rags that you use to clean your press? Can it just be thrown with your normal garbage or does it need some special process? I'm afraid it might start to flame up in the trash...or is that just a myth?

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