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Deep-relief Plates Too Soft?

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  • jonagold1
    Hello everyone, I m new here, so pardon me if this has been covered before. I m a handpress printer, new to that as well, printing on an old Hopkinson & Cope
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 25, 2009
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      Hello everyone,

      I'm new here, so pardon me if this has been covered before. I'm a handpress printer, new to that as well, printing on an old Hopkinson & Cope Albion press from 1850. For my first project I used Pat Mag bases with metal-backed plates, which worked great.

      However, for my current project, I am planning to switch over to plastic-backed plates (and, alas, new bases) so that I can cut the plates with precision and register the pieces against the grid on the bases (something I simply can't do with metal plates).

      I have been told by another handpress printer to use deep-relief plates, but I have also been told that the deep-relief plates--the KF152 plates--are not as hard as the normal-relief, 94FL plates.

      So I guess I have two questions:

      Do I really need the deep-relief plates?

      And, if I do want the deep-relief plates, will their softness make a difference? I will be printing a book of poetry, under 100 pages, on text-weight, laid paper, in an edition of under 150 copies. Again, I will be printing on a handpress, not a letterpress.

      Many thanks for any assistance anyone might provide.

      And a happy Thanksgiving to all.
    • Gerald Lange
      You won t need a deep-relief plate on a handpress. The relative reverse relief depth of thin plates and thick plates is the same and revealed in the specs.
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 25, 2009
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        You won't need a deep-relief plate on a handpress. The "relative reverse
        relief depth" of thin plates and thick plates is the same and revealed
        in the specs. In other words, the counter relief, shallow relief, etc.,
        is the same. The deep relief idea was concocted for platen presses and
        others that have less than certain roller adjustments, such as jobbers
        and hobby presses, this so the rollers do not end up inking the floor of
        the plate.

        On a handpress, if you are using a double handled roller and ink
        bearers, which you should, there is no problem. I believe the
        polyester-backed thick plates, at least in the Toyobo version, are a bit
        softer, but not in the steel-backed version, which is a common
        configuration for the Patmag.

        But you might want to consult with someone like this:

        > http://www.flickr.com/photos/patriciogatti/566619383/

        Gerald
        http://BielerPress.blogspot.com


        jonagold1 wrote:
        > Hello everyone,
        >
        > I'm new here, so pardon me if this has been covered before. I'm a handpress printer, new to that as well, printing on an old Hopkinson & Cope Albion press from 1850. For my first project I used Pat Mag bases with metal-backed plates, which worked great.
        >
        > However, for my current project, I am planning to switch over to plastic-backed plates (and, alas, new bases) so that I can cut the plates with precision and register the pieces against the grid on the bases (something I simply can't do with metal plates).
        >
        > I have been told by another handpress printer to use deep-relief plates, but I have also been told that the deep-relief plates--the KF152 plates--are not as hard as the normal-relief, 94FL plates.
        >
        > So I guess I have two questions:
        >
        > Do I really need the deep-relief plates?
        >
        > And, if I do want the deep-relief plates, will their softness make a difference? I will be printing a book of poetry, under 100 pages, on text-weight, laid paper, in an edition of under 150 copies. Again, I will be printing on a handpress, not a letterpress.
        >
        > Many thanks for any assistance anyone might provide.
        >
        > And a happy Thanksgiving to all.
        >
        >
      • Matt Kelsey
        I started with a deep relief base a few years ago, and then ended up switching to standard relief plates and adding underlays to bring the base up to the
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 25, 2009
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          I started with a "deep relief" base a few years ago, and then ended up
          switching to standard relief plates and adding underlays to bring the base
          up to the right height. My opinion is that "deep relief" is unneeded,
          because in any case you need proper roller height or else the printed piece
          will not be right. This should be true no matter what your equipment...
          although somehow lead type is more forgiving than photopolymer.

          Matt

          On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 7:40 PM, Gerald Lange <Bieler@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          > You won't need a deep-relief plate on a handpress. The "relative reverse
          > relief depth" of thin plates and thick plates is the same and revealed
          > in the specs. In other words, the counter relief, shallow relief, etc.,
          > is the same. The deep relief idea was concocted for platen presses and
          > others that have less than certain roller adjustments, such as jobbers
          > and hobby presses, this so the rollers do not end up inking the floor of
          > the plate.
          >
          > On a handpress, if you are using a double handled roller and ink
          > bearers, which you should, there is no problem. I believe the
          > polyester-backed thick plates, at least in the Toyobo version, are a bit
          > softer, but not in the steel-backed version, which is a common
          > configuration for the Patmag.
          >
          > But you might want to consult with someone like this:
          >
          > > http://www.flickr.com/photos/patriciogatti/566619383/
          >
          >
          > Gerald
          > http://BielerPress.blogspot.com
          >
          > jonagold1 wrote:
          > > Hello everyone,
          > >
          > > I'm new here, so pardon me if this has been covered before. I'm a
          > handpress printer, new to that as well, printing on an old Hopkinson & Cope
          > Albion press from 1850. For my first project I used Pat Mag bases with
          > metal-backed plates, which worked great.
          > >
          > > However, for my current project, I am planning to switch over to
          > plastic-backed plates (and, alas, new bases) so that I can cut the plates
          > with precision and register the pieces against the grid on the bases
          > (something I simply can't do with metal plates).
          > >
          > > I have been told by another handpress printer to use deep-relief plates,
          > but I have also been told that the deep-relief plates--the KF152 plates--are
          > not as hard as the normal-relief, 94FL plates.
          > >
          > > So I guess I have two questions:
          > >
          > > Do I really need the deep-relief plates?
          > >
          > > And, if I do want the deep-relief plates, will their softness make a
          > difference? I will be printing a book of poetry, under 100 pages, on
          > text-weight, laid paper, in an edition of under 150 copies. Again, I will be
          > printing on a handpress, not a letterpress.
          > >
          > > Many thanks for any assistance anyone might provide.
          > >
          > > And a happy Thanksgiving to all.
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Peter Fraterdeus
          ... Foundry and hot-metal will have a steeper shoulder than the polymer. (As least in my experience) This means that a slightly under-height roller will not
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 26, 2009
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            On 26 Nov 2009, at 12:17 AM, Matt Kelsey wrote:

            > I started with a "deep relief" base a few years ago, and then ended up
            > switching to standard relief plates and adding underlays to bring
            > the base
            > up to the right height. My opinion is that "deep relief" is unneeded,
            > because in any case you need proper roller height or else the
            > printed piece
            > will not be right. This should be true no matter what your
            > equipment...
            > although somehow lead type is more forgiving than photopolymer.

            Foundry and hot-metal will have a steeper shoulder than the polymer.
            (As least in my experience)
            This means that a slightly under-height roller will not create as bad
            a 'halo', since there's less spread on the 'beard' of the type.

            It's still not right, but it's more 'forgiving'...

            At least that's how I'd be thinking about it.

            Happy Thanksgiving...
            And thanks to all of you for keeping the fire going ;-)

            Cheers

            Peter

            >
            > Matt
            >

            Peter Fraterdeus
            Exquisite Letterpress from Slow Print Studios
            http://slowprint.com/
          • David Goodrich
            I have printed PPL plates on a hand press and had no difficulty. There is no reason to get deep relief or any other special type of plates. The real
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 27, 2009
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              I have printed PPL plates on a hand press and had no difficulty. There is
              no reason to get deep relief or any other special type of plates.
              The real difference is in the inking. On a hand press there are no tracks
              and no trucks to run on them. You have to be very careful not to overink.
              You absolutely need roller bearers. An easy way to do this is to get two
              strips of PPL about a half-inch wide and the length of your form. Attach
              them to your base outside the width of your page. Make sure there isn't
              packing behind them and just let them print on your frisket. If the ink
              starts to bleed through, put some heavy cellophane package wrapping tape on
              the frisket.
              If your base isn't wide enough for this, use strips of half-inch wood or
              brass rule locked into your form outside the base. It's all a matter of how
              big your base and your ink roller are.

              David Goodrich


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • jonagold1
              Thanks, everyone, for your responses. So I gather that the issue here is not one of depth of impression, but of inking: whether you can ink a regular-relief
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 29, 2009
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                Thanks, everyone, for your responses.

                So I gather that the issue here is not one of depth of impression, but of inking: whether you can ink a regular-relief plate without getting the ink on the plate backing. It would seem that inking would be easier with a deep-relief plate, though it might not be necessary.

                I do have a nice set of machined brass roller bearers in the bed of my Albion, though I like your idea of making bearers out of strips of PPL attached to the base.

                The real test will be whether I can successfully ink my initial capitals. I plan to ink these off the press, using another set of roller bearers and a small brayer, then position them on the base with the rest of the text. I plan to have some test plates made (regular relief) and see if I can get the inking right.

                Jonathan Finegold


                --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "David Goodrich" <davidgoodrich@...> wrote:
                >
                > I have printed PPL plates on a hand press and had no difficulty. There is
                > no reason to get deep relief or any other special type of plates.
                > The real difference is in the inking. On a hand press there are no tracks
                > and no trucks to run on them. You have to be very careful not to overink.
                > You absolutely need roller bearers. An easy way to do this is to get two
                > strips of PPL about a half-inch wide and the length of your form. Attach
                > them to your base outside the width of your page. Make sure there isn't
                > packing behind them and just let them print on your frisket. If the ink
                > starts to bleed through, put some heavy cellophane package wrapping tape on
                > the frisket.
                > If your base isn't wide enough for this, use strips of half-inch wood or
                > brass rule locked into your form outside the base. It's all a matter of how
                > big your base and your ink roller are.
                >
                > David Goodrich
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • David Goodrich
                Jonathan, If you are using roller bearers and are getting ink on the back of your plate, you are using way too much ink. Consistent inking is the hardest part
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 30, 2009
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                  Jonathan,
                  If you are using roller bearers and are getting ink on the back of your
                  plate, you are using way too much ink. Consistent inking is the hardest
                  part of handpress work. Because the printing is so slow, ink has a tendency
                  to dry and needs frequent but minimal refreshing. Rummonds has a system for
                  creating a fountain on the back of his ink plate but it hasn't really worked
                  for me. You will learn how often to refresh the ink from experience. (If
                  you don't find yourself needing to refresh, you're probably starting with
                  too much.) Watch your output carefully to keep it consistent.
                  David


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • bielerpr
                  Jonathan David s advice should be well received. I would also suggest, going back to your original post, that you rethink your decision to buy a new base.
                  Message 8 of 9 , Dec 2, 2009
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                    Jonathan

                    David's advice should be well received. I would also suggest, going back to your original post, that you rethink your decision to buy a new base. First of all, you are assuming you can trust the printed grid and that the translucency of a polyester-backed plate will absolve some measuring problems. This is not so. I have measured grids on non-magnetic bases so provided and they are not necessary accurate. You still need to rely on your line gauge. There is no easy button.

                    Secondly, the major problem of the Patmag, that of plate travel, is not likely encountered on a handpress. An advantage of the Patmag, which is rarely acknowledged, is its ability to provide impression without reverse distortion, dependent upon the substrate. The shock is absorbed by the magnetic rubber overlay of the base. A useful attribute in bookwork.

                    Gerald
                    http://BielerPress.blogspot.com

                    --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "David Goodrich" <davidgoodrich@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Jonathan,
                    > If you are using roller bearers and are getting ink on the back of your
                    > plate, you are using way too much ink. Consistent inking is the hardest
                    > part of handpress work. Because the printing is so slow, ink has a tendency
                    > to dry and needs frequent but minimal refreshing. Rummonds has a system for
                    > creating a fountain on the back of his ink plate but it hasn't really worked
                    > for me. You will learn how often to refresh the ink from experience. (If
                    > you don't find yourself needing to refresh, you're probably starting with
                    > too much.) Watch your output carefully to keep it consistent.
                    > David
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                  • jonagold1
                    Thanks for all of your advice. I m going to have a couple of metal-backed plates from my book made and give them a try on my PatMag bases to see if I can come
                    Message 9 of 9 , Dec 2, 2009
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                      Thanks for all of your advice. I'm going to have a couple of metal-backed plates from my book made and give them a try on my PatMag bases to see if I can come up with a good solution for registering and printing two or more colors in a single press run. (If I didn't say this before, my thinking about switching to an acrylic-backed plate and related base is aimed at trying to print more than one color in a single run, to avoid having the dampened paper change size on me between press runs.)

                      Jonathan

                      --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "bielerpr" <Bieler@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Jonathan
                      >
                      > David's advice should be well received. I would also suggest, going back to your original post, that you rethink your decision to buy a new base. First of all, you are assuming you can trust the printed grid and that the translucency of a polyester-backed plate will absolve some measuring problems. This is not so. I have measured grids on non-magnetic bases so provided and they are not necessary accurate. You still need to rely on your line gauge. There is no easy button.
                      >
                      > Secondly, the major problem of the Patmag, that of plate travel, is not likely encountered on a handpress. An advantage of the Patmag, which is rarely acknowledged, is its ability to provide impression without reverse distortion, dependent upon the substrate. The shock is absorbed by the magnetic rubber overlay of the base. A useful attribute in bookwork.
                      >
                      > Gerald
                      > http://BielerPress.blogspot.com
                      >
                      > --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "David Goodrich" <davidgoodrich@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Jonathan,
                      > > If you are using roller bearers and are getting ink on the back of your
                      > > plate, you are using way too much ink. Consistent inking is the hardest
                      > > part of handpress work. Because the printing is so slow, ink has a tendency
                      > > to dry and needs frequent but minimal refreshing. Rummonds has a system for
                      > > creating a fountain on the back of his ink plate but it hasn't really worked
                      > > for me. You will learn how often to refresh the ink from experience. (If
                      > > you don't find yourself needing to refresh, you're probably starting with
                      > > too much.) Watch your output carefully to keep it consistent.
                      > > David
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > >
                      >
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