VANDERCOOK: Boxcar Deep Relief vs. Standard base/plates?

I started out printing with a clamshell press so Boxcar recommended the Deep Relief base & plates for that press which are both more expensive to purchase than the standard plates.

Now I have a Vandercook and I am looking at purchasing a larger base and creating larger prints which will in turn make me purchase larger polymer plates = more money.

Anyway, boxcar says I can use the standard base and standard base with the Vandercook which means more savings in the long run because the plates are cheaper.

My question is - do any of you have a preference for the Deep Relief plates as apposed to the Standard plates when printing on a cylinder press? Is it worth the extra money to purchase the deep relief plates/base?

This is going to be a big investment for me so I want to be sure I am spending the money wisely.

Thank you!

Log in to reply   3 replies so far

I use the Boxcar standard bases and plates on my Vandercooks and platen presses. The KF95 plates that Boxcar carry are the best I’ve ever used.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY


You do not need the so-called Deep Relief for a cylinder press. You will find that the Toyobo K series, either KM for steel-backed, or KF for polyester-backed, with do the job quite well. I would not suggest as Daniel has that they are are the best available, but they sure are far better than the Jet plates (the yellow plates that most processors prefer to sell - because it is far cheaper for them).

The Deep Relief is a misnomer. It only provides relief for presses, such as platens - jobbers or hobby presses, that have iffy roller height adjustments. You would not normally buy this type of base for a Vandercook or Heidelberg. Plus the KF152 plate that is required for the Boxcar Deep Relief is not “exactly” a letterpress configured plate, and thus has had considerable problems. Check the archives here.


You guys are SOOOOO AWESOME! You just saved me a huge bundle! Thank you both Dan & Gerald - I really appreciate you sharing this with me ;-)