Cut Problems

Hi Folks,

Today I was printing some Christmas Bookmarks, using two cuts. The larger cut for some reason has a tiny strip that is not printing too well. I put a patch under it to try to help it out, but since this is a large cut and not flexible I doubt it made any difference. Is there anyway to correct the small area not printing?

Since one of the prints was going consistently light, I re inked the disc with not a whole lot of ink, but it seems when I do, it is always either too much or not enough, usually too much and it just gunks up the plate for about 20 impressions, any advice on inking? Thanks so much!

image: Cmas Bookmark.jpg

Cmas Bookmark.jpg

image: Cmas Bookmark duo.jpg

Cmas Bookmark duo.jpg

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Buy a Book like Printing for Pleasure or better Gabriel Rummonds Book Printing on the iron Handpress as it describes the standards of printing just fine and look up

Make Ready

Pilgrim, when you add ink either run it out on the disc with a brayer or remove the chase when you add ink so you don’t plug up your cut. The larger the solid the more pressure it takes to make it print. patching behind the chase will help some, you might need a little more packing under the top sheet, add one bond sheet at a time. Its a pretty big solid for a new kid to attempt.

You don’t say what kind of paper you’re printing on; if it’s textured you will have trouble printing that much solid without dampening. If the cut is a halftone rather than solid you will have to do a fair amount of makeready and probably print damp as well.


The paper was just standard note card 4x6. I did remove the chase while spreading the ink with the rollovers but will try a brayed next time! Also try extra packing. I am sort of skidding on putting much pressure on the press. I hand wheel it slowly to see how much resistance pressure there is when the platen closes. Just a newbie, ya know!

If a design is small but spread out over a larger area, like small corner borders and some text in middle, is it still as difficult to print as a solid? I am hoping to print some cards on an 8x12 press, hopefully 5x7 size ( not total image size)

If you don’t have a solid you won’t need that much pressure, the more type or area you try to print the more pressure you need, a few lines spread out won’t be too hard to print, a fairly large solid (like the one your trying to print) will even give an experienced printer a hard time.

Is this cut mounted to a warped wooden block?

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Didnt seem to be warped at all. It was higher than most of my blocks, had to add tape to the rails. The block is 1.5 x 4, I really didn’t think it was that big, but I guess so. The person who sold it to me had a proof made of it and it looked fine, so I don’t know what the problem was.

The resistance of the impression is related to the actual surface area of the printing surface, not to the enclosing area of the design. The more surface area the more resistance. But spreading that surface area out over a larger space should have little or no effect on resistance. So a few lines of type and a border should print a lot easier than the plate you’re trying to print, which appears to be about 50% solid.


A few questions. One, what size is the artwork, and are you printing these two up on the page?
Also, what size press are you using?

Also you need a hard packing to get a sharp impression.

The two cuts together measured around five inches. I am printing one side then flipping the card around to print the other. I have attached a pic of the cut. Its from the sellers photos but you can see it ok, I would expect fall off to be on the extremities, but near the bottom center is where its having trouble. Maybe the cut is worn down in that one spot. The proof the person printed came out nice. I think they did it on a proof press, maybe that explains it, just a newbie, so don’t know. I did have 3 card stock sheets below my Tympan as packing.

image: JTW cut2.jpg

JTW cut2.jpg

image: JTW Cut.jpg

JTW Cut.jpg

If this is one of the reproduction cuts sold on ebay you may not ever be able to get a quality print from it. They are poorly made stereotypes that have have been spray painted to appear old. You can try to add a little makeready under your tympan in the light area and see if that helps.

a proof press prints by rolling a cylinder over the cut, printing just a quarter inch at a time, on your press you are trying to print the whole thing in one shot, thats why the proof came out better.

It could be a repro, but I think it’s the real thing, it’s heavy alloy about 1/8” thick. The person said that their these came out of their fathers shop which closed about ten years ago. So don’t know? I could see why it would print better on proofing press Dick now that you advised me on it, thanks! :)

I have bought quite a few cuts (similar to yours) on ebay and have generally had success with them, although I have had the occasional lemon. I print on an Albion (1887 Alexandra) and have avoided anything with a lot of solid colour. The fact that multiples of very unusual cuts show up on ebay makes me think that they are modern repros of variable quality, but as they are inexpensive I don’t particularly mind. After a few buying mistakes I have discovered what works and what doesn’t. However those green buyers who put in ridiculously high bids never cease to amaze me. Is anyone out there making high quality stereotypes? I would be very interested to know.