Alternative Imposing Surfaces

For a good few years I’ve used the bed of my Farley Proofing Press as an imposing surface for locking up type, but now the relentless pressure on space is causing me to think of selling the Farley. I need a portable surface to move around wherever I can find space - thick glass or a piece of marble kitchen worktop have been suggested. What have others found to give satisfactory results?

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The real thing is metal. This days finding that kind of stuff is difficult. For that I decided to use marble. I have used it with excellent results, and have seen it in many print shops, back in the days.



Marble does work well…. but it can be pricey and hard to find. A cheaper alternative that also works well is a piece of 18” x 18” cultured marble or ceramic tile. You can easily find them at Home Depot for less than $5. Just be sure to get one that is flat and not textured.

I have a piece of white glazed tile that I use as a composing stone and as an ink slab for my proof press.

Another alternative is a piece of particle board with Formica on top of it. They sell them as pre-made shelving, also at Home Depot. Actually, any very flat hard surface will work just fine.

Grizzly Industrial Tools offers a granite surface plate 3” thick X 18” X 24” that is milled to a flat enough tolerance for highly accurate machine tool work. It’s only only $39.99 plus $76.50 shipping. If you live near their store you could pick it up. Even so, $116.45 is a pretty good deal. Here’s the link:

A cut off from a local stone countertop manufacturer would be good too.

corian counter top material. Letterpess things sells all sizes of it. works great.

I got a great piece of marble from the cutout for a sink for free from a local countertop company.

It was a bit of a dumpster dive, but with the owner’s permission and well worth it.

I use a marble cutting board, sometimes called a pastry board. It’s the perfect shape for a chase, you can get several sizes, and it’s not so heavy that I can’t easily move it and store it on another shelf or vertically. You can usually find one for under 25 bucks, plus shipping if you look online.