Edge of plate visible impression on paper

Hi printers.

I love the quality of impression that I am getting with polymer plates and 220 lb paper, but it has been difficult for me to get the same impression depth with 110 lb paper. I can get my desired effect by increasing the pressure, but I get an impression from the edge of my plates. The paper is mashed so hard that the edge of the plate hits the paper and leaves a mark. I am using a Vandercook. What’s the best way to solve this problem? One work around I can imagine is getting cutting the plate larger than the paper size, but that mean extra cost in larger plates.

This is the effect I want as requested by my clients. Please no debates about whether deep impressions is a fad, and that I should be kissing the paper instead.

You guys have been great is answering my past questions. Thanks again in advance.

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Well, your impression is off. Your clients want deep impression, great. But you are obviously at the floor of the plate, what else would you expect would to happen!?!


you could try double sided tape to attach extra sheets to the platen behind your 110 stock. use a sharp (exacto) knife to cut away the extra. cut to about 1/4 inch around the perimeter of your image. then with said sharp knife angle the blade so as to leave a severe bevel.

image: counter.JPG


Ericm’s solution is probably all you have available. Using the standard techniques for makeready on a cylinder press will make it possible to locate you impression where you need it, and eliminate it where the image does not print.

Make certain you use hard packing materials under the sheet being printed. You should not see much impression on the back of the sheet. Your goal should be to compress the fibers of the paper. If you need to drive beyond that, you may have to use a plate with greater relief.

Your going to massively wear out your press, educating your client so that your equipment is safe is a must.

You might have better results using a deep relief plate and base combination. You will indeed wear out your press, so be careful.

I would not cause damage to my equipement to satisfy a client and this is what’s happening. There is a beauty in the marriage between typography and paper when printed on a letterpress printing press with a noticeable impression. However, when you print a deep impression into the paper that is all you see and everyone says oh thats deep or nice impression and that’s called raping the paper.

Inky Lips Letterpress

I can’t imagine how much impression is involved if the edge of your plate is showing. Are you using polyester backed plates, or metal backed? Photopolymer?

Even still, there’s a limit to how far you can press a shape into a sheet of paper without using a counter die.

Hi yamski,

If you take the time to (1) determine the undercut of your impression roller and (2) add up the thicknesses of all items involved (packing, stock, plate, base), you’ll see where the problem lies. Something’s gotta give, and you should hope it’s not your press.


people will do what they will…. rather than tell this person what not or why not to to do something …. help out in a positive…. customers are goofy peeps…i think you could do this quite nicely without much abuse to the press.