Debossing with Adana 8x5 press


Can anybody help me regarding debossing on an Adana 8x5 printing press?

I find the technique of debossing unclear in terms of a definite method on how to achieve the effect.. I have seen examples of debossing on various web sites and it’s looks great, but very little information on how to achieve the effect is offered and explained. What kind of paper or card is required etc,etc.

I was lead to believe that the only way to achieve the deboss effect was to print on 100% cotton based card or paper. I have managed to obtain free samples of 300grm 100% cotton card from GF Smith UK, who specialise in cotton cards and papers.

I am using a 16 gauge Magnesium mounted block, containing mainly text, which is printing on the cotton card with a good clean inked image, but no deep impression deboss effect is produced on the 300grm. card?

I have also applied different types of pressures against card and block, but the text is not biting into the card??

Can anybody HELP!!! Please.

Kind regards

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Debossing is a process that raises or lowers the surface of the page with the use of an embossing die and counter die. These are a male and female die that fit together that have been photoengraved with your artwork. The counter die is affixed to your platen and the paper is caught in between it and the die which is locked in your chase, raising or lowering the surface of the page.

A print in which the text “bites” into the stock is a different process. Printed matter that has been debossed will have that effect visible on the underside of the page—it will look raised from behind. Letterpress printing with a very heavy impression will sink the printed areas into the paper, but not all the way through and they will not be visible from the underside of the page; this is simply printing with a very heavy impression.

Embossing with a die and counter die is very versatile—you can achieve the desired effect with coated or uncoated stock and I have had success embossing 50# text paper and 15pt cover stock with the same die and counter die.

A heavy impression on the other hand is easiest to obtain when printing on very soft, thick papers. These are, as you mentioned, papers with a high cotton content. I have no experience with the paper you’ve obtained from GF Smith but the weight of the paper is not all that matters, you want a very soft paper. A soft (less-dense) 300gsm cover will obviously have the same weight (300gsm) however will have a higher caliper (thickness) because of it’s density and will compress more easily, again due to its density. I have had luck with Crane’s Lettra (probably the most popular paper for this use) as well as with printmaking rag papers like Stonehenge and Arches Cover.

A press with more impression strength will also make your job easier. An Adana 8x5 will probably not be able to create a heavy impression on a form much larger than a business card. Most heavy-impression work is done with larger presses. At the end of the day, I don’t think you’re going to get much impression out of it, but you may want to try to experiment with different papers and see if you can maximize the effect you can achieve.

i am assuming by debossing you really mean impression; debossing shows up on the back of the paper, letterpress impressions ideally should not.

i’m a newbie, but how big is the surface area of your design? The pressure is distributed over the entire inked image, so if it’s large, it is likely that there will be no debossing effect. You would probably be better off using PPP and splitting up your design into smaller pieces and doing multiple runs to get your final design. This is all assuming your desired design is large.

By pressures, do you mean pressboards and packing? Red pressboard or other hard surfaced papers underneath your cotton paper will add to the depth of impression.

I have to say that it both amazes me and amuses me that various people ask questions on the internet and others pontificate about their amateur experiences with Adana presses but few of them think about contacting us, the manufacturers, to seek proper advice and help!!

Of course there are some elements of truth but also an awful lot of rubbish information - as we always used to say, one should never believe anything one reads in a newspaper, so why, I question, should the internet be any different?!

One report is absolutely correct in that if a letterpress machine minder ever produced a job where there was an impression showing on the back of the sheet, he would surely get the sack! But in the fullness of time, someone (God bless him), who found it difficult to print with any accuracy has accidentally and with ingnorance’s bliss encouraged a new process called ‘debossing’ which has suddenly become very popular. And I am not disputing that done well, the effect is very pleasing and effective.

The fact is that most of the results of a deep impression that you find and even see on the internet have, without question, been produced on a very heavy cast iron press producing several tons of pressure and both the weight and cost of such a machine is not generally affordable nor practical for amateur use.

The Adana, which produces excellent letterpress printing on virtually any substrate, is of course only a lightweight machine produced expressly for the amateur printer, hobbyist etc., and cannot directly compete with these larger machines for this particular purpose.

However, by designing the job to suit the machine, by being selective in your style and size and by using specific cotton fibre stock combined with a little bit of technique in dressing the platen, it is possible to produce this effect! And we have a number of customers out there successfully doing this.

I would stress that you must not expect to be able to de-boss over the maximum print image area of the machine but we can provide samples that will show, by being selective in the design, it can be achieved.

In addition, I should mention that it is perfectly possible to ‘blind emboss’ by using a male and female set of dies, where the distortion of the substrate takes place within the dies, rather than being forced through the substrate up against a solid platen.

Suffice to say that if anyone who has purchased a machine from us is looking for help and assistance on this subject, or indeed any other area of general letterpress printing, they know where to come!