Deep Impression Help

I know it goes against all that is the origin of letterpress but we have customers that want the deepest impression possible. We’ve got the right presses to handle it (windmills) but aren’t getting the super deep impression that the customers want. We have used crane’s lettra but it seems to be very hard. Dampening the paper does help but still not enough relief to please the customer. Does anyone have any suggestions on a softer paper that is thick enough for invitations and announcements? We use a boxcar base with their polymer plates. thanks in advance!!

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I am awfully surprised you aren’t getting a deep impression on the Lettra. I print with Lettra on a C&P and can get a deep impression also using the boxcar base/plates. I would just adjust the amount of packing you are using. Not sure what else to tell you. Good luck.

In order to obtain the DEEPEST impression into the stock you need to order all plates——wether they be copper, mag or poly ——in the VERY DEEPEST ETCH the engraving company has available; it may cost a bit more for the
deeper etch but we have found, especially in foil stamping
or blind embossing, that the extra amount spent saves a ton of headaches later on…..good luck.

We run Lettra (110lb cover) on windmills all day long, and we have no trouble getting plenty of squish out of it. I wonder if you should soften your packing, to give the paper something to squish into.
I am not really one to try and super squish my jobs, but i have found that i have plenty of room to do it when it is called for. We use the boxcar system with the standard relief plates (kf95).
If you are still not satisfied, we have used Somerset Textured 300 gm in the past, and it has a satisfying impression, but it is pricey,and there is a lot of waste with the full deckle and double watermark that it comes with.
Good luck


Not sure why the OP can’t get a deep impression but I don’t think you can order photopolymer in a “VERY DEEPEST ETCH.” Doesn’t matter what the thickness of the plate (thin, thick, standard, deep releif or whatever), the letterpress configurations basically have a standard relative reverse relief depth of .30 mm, + or - dependent upon the manufacturer. You can pound it as much as you want but you aren’t going to get any kind of deeper impression (in the shallower relief areas, letterform counters, etc) than they are designed for.

If you need a deep sharp image for foil stamping or embossing, copper is the way to go. If you need a heavy impression for letterpress and your client only cares about that, and nothing but that, put on more packing (charge them extra for the packing and their stupidity).


Could it be possible that the windmill isn’t providing the pressure that it should? Is there any way to check that or check to see if there is something wrong with the machine? Thanks again for your help!

In response to your last question:

From the Windmill manual:
“The Safety Shear Collar can fracture and partially shear, even though maximum impression strength has never been exceeded.”

Also, according to the manual, the center bolt of the impression handle can wear over time, requiring additional turns of the impression adjustment to bring the impression up to normal.

In either case, the shear collar needs to be replaced. It is under that round plate with six bolts on the back side of the 10 by 15 T model. Feeling adventurous?

If you find that the shear collar is in good condition, you can put everything back together, and look into debossing the image as part of the production process.

For the purpose of debossing, Mag dies are etched, and polymer dies are just not strong enough for a deep impression. But copper and brass dies are engraved, giving you a wide choice of depths and bevels, at a much higher cost. Your Windmill should have adequate registration to print first, and then deboss, or vice-versa - whichever works best.

The deboss solution would work only with one-sided projects, and is dependent on the fineness of detail; larger images and type work best. Not so good for smaller fonts, or lines thinner than 3 point on 110# Lettra, or similar stocks.

In order to not kill the press with too much pressure, you could make the deboss in two impressions. First print the text or images and allow to dry. Then you can print again to deboss (no ink). Or deboss first then print.
Depending on how thick the paper is, you can’t ad to much packing; windmills don’t register if the packing isn’t on the correct thickness.
Use a soft packing. To do this the registration must be perfect. Good luck.


dont do what HD-Tiegal said and run it through twice, that is ridiculous! you just need to pack more.

the problem is getting the rollers the right height off the die without over inking. l

ettra is made to take impression, but is really soft and will start to tear and break at deeper impression levels.

you will need to crash hard into a soft paper that is durable for deep impression. not coated paper though.

Sure. Don’t do this as I say, in a windmill.

Actually, anyone, anybody can do this their own way; just takes trial and error.