Press not making a great impression

I have a kelsey excelsisor press 8x5 that we just got and weve tried playing around with it, but no matter what we do, we cant seem to get a very good press into the paper..It prints fine and inks okay and everything but the actual impression is lacking. I am using 100lb cotton paper, so I didn’t think that was the problem. Any ideas on whats going on or if that is just their maximized capabilities? I hope not!

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How do you know it inks OK? How do you know your not getting a good impression? Are you using the right ink?
Are all your settings exact? This is not guess work! What type of form do you have, is it text matter or a solid? Is the packing right? Send me a printed sheet to look at, and maybe I can help. Could be many problems. My address is 11127 NW 65th Court, Parkland, FL 33076. PS…you can’t play around with it…you must know what you are doing! Letterpress is a precise business!

Sal J Zampino

How large is your image?

We just tried to do a small image about roughly lets say 3x5…
We tried building up the base etc and nothing we do makes a deeper impression in the paper. The graphic itself comes out fine, not muddy or smudged-but rather clear..its just not imprinting.

If you are getting a good clear print out of your Kelsey, that is a good thing and what it was made to do.

What you are asking about is “deep impression” and there is plenty of discussion on this site about it, just use the search button. It has certain appeal and is increasingly recognized as the “look of letterpress”. Many pursue letterpress specifically to achieve this effect (perhaps you are one of them). Others consider it faddish, trendy, and potentially damaging to the press and type.

Since you just got your press, you might want to skip the deep impression and just try getting good at printing first. You can increase the effect by moistening the paper a bit.

Personally, when I want to mash down on some paper and give it a really good impression I use a foil stamping machine. It was made for that.

A 3x5 image on an 5x8 Kelsey is actually a rather large image to be printing. Expecting a deep impression at the same time is asking a lot of that little press. If you really want a deep impression, then use really thick, soft paper and dampen it. Or break the image up into smaller parts and print each separately.

A soft packing of newsprint or somesuch will give you a more yielding surface to impress into and may help with a deeper relief, but will wear down the corners of lead alloy type.

Did you ever work it out?
I’m having the same problem.

Jeez Sal,,, Lighten up……..

there are a few posts on here regarding impression. look them up. impression means pressure. good luck :)
RMG: us foil guys don’t MASH everything…LOL… potatoes for sure…foil has its hacks just like every other bizzz… :)

Make sure that your platen pressure is set correctly before trying to print, then you can adjust your packing for pressure.Good luck


Paper Stone Printing
Steve Nartowicz
P.O. Box 137
Chesterfield MA 01012

Be careful going for a “deep” impression on a Kelsey. I broke an arm connected to the platen by applying too much pressure. I agree with the previous comment; if the printing is sharp the press is doing the job.

If you don’t care what the back side looks like, you can try using a press blanked in your packing.

im having the same issues with my adana,
tried soft and hard packing
tried the impression screw,
and soft 100% lettra paper
still nothing!