View Full Version : brayers - hard or soft ?

06-17-2005, 12:41 AM
Have a silly question (still learning things)
I plan to do some larger prints
I have a 4" speedball soft rubber brayer
If I create prints up to 12" in width, a larger brayer for inking the block would make sense right? So far the largest dimensions of one of my lino prints has been 5 x 7", I ran my inked brayer over the block surface in several passes until it looked evenly inked all over
I didn't notice any area of more or less ink on the print when I pulled a proof

any recommendations as to what size and type of brayer I should use? Does it make sense to roll a inked brayer wider than the block over instead of multiple passes with a smaller one?
I like the ink retaining capabilities of soft rubber (to be honest have not really tried hard brayer but maybe results are no different)
figured some of you more experienced folk could give me advice
I have window shopped a bit, what I have found out is apparently soft rubber brayers are not cheap depending on the manufacturer
however, if I have to shell a few more pennies out for something that gives good results and lasts a while, I am prepared to do so

thanks kindly


06-17-2005, 07:46 AM
No question is silly- in fact, this is a really good one!!

I use both types, depending on the kind of work that I am doing. Some of my prints are cut more like wood engravings, with fine lines, and for these I use a hard rubber, it tends to stay out of the lines. For my other prints, I use a soft rubber, it seems to hold more ink.

I have several types, too. First, I have that speedball set that comes with the plastic handle and both hard and soft inserts for it. For the money, the speedball brayers are nice- the only drawback being they are only 4" wide.

I have a couple of larger brayers, too- Some Inexpensive (relativly speaking, that is!) ones that I picked up from blick, both soft (http://www.dickblick.com/zz401/11/) and hard (http://www.dickblick.com/zz401/01/). They do a good job for the money. I have them in the 8" size.

Now, my FAVORITE brayer, by far, is a BIG soft rubber one that I picked up on e-bay from the estate of a printmaker. It is SUPER nice- Big (7", and like 3" Dia), holds a ton of ink, and when you go to ink a block, the weight of the roller alone is enough, no need to press. Similar brayers cost several hundred dollars- and are hard to find- Although I think that graphic chemical has them at times. It might be worth cruising E-Bay!


Diane Cutter
06-17-2005, 09:19 AM
My most frequenly used brayer is a 4" soft Speedball. I'm able to do just about everything with that one...

I had to throw out some 20-25 year old brayers recently that had become sticky as they were starting to disintegrate...


06-17-2005, 12:11 PM
thanks for advice on the brayers
I had noticed the 8" speedball in Blik and Utrecht sites, Speedball readily available in Canada though
there is also a company in Canada (Toronto) called Prage that manufactures presses and printmaking accessories called Praga
they had some brayers listed, but would have to shell out a few $ for a good one according to their online catalogue
but then again, would be paying in my own country's currency and shipping might be cheaper


06-18-2005, 11:56 AM
I use several size brayers from 2" to 6" depending on what I am doing. The 2" I use for touch ups.

Ari Sutton
06-18-2005, 10:40 PM

It really depends upon what you are most comfortable with and how large you are working. My pieces usually are between 10 x 12 inches or larger. My favorite brayer is 6 inches wide, soft rubber and a metallic handle that I picked up at a local art store. I don't love the plastic handled brayers from speedball because they require more pressure to apply the same amount of ink. When he works large or is pulling a big edition, my professor uses a wide roller without a handle because he can work faster with it. Chuck Close does pieces 6 ft and larger. I have seen pictures of his students applying ink with a huge roller that needs two (one on each end) to handle. Therefore, it really depends upon your personal preferences and the kind of prints you are doing.