blind deboss problems

Greetings -

I have had little success with blind debossing using metal type. It seems I always get some kind of grey residue on the paper. I have cleaned the type, and that hasn’t helped. I don’t have the problem with wood type.

I would appreciate your wisdom!


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It’s lead and it’s grey
Try using a copper or photopolymer plate.
We provide both and deboss daily.

Perserve your metal and wood type from debossing would be my suggestion. Save your type from distortion and breaking under pressure and use photopolymer.

Metal will wear and edges will round and wood type could break. Both would be difficult to replace when photopolymer is readily available and will stand under the pressure you desire.

if you do want to use your type,,, tape a clear mylar film over your forme. for a short run even “saran wrap” will do

You are crazy to be doing this to your type. When the job is done you may as well put it in the hell box so your mashed type isn’t mixed in the case.

Don’t even get me started on debossing with wood!

This is a technique which emerged in printing fashion because there were materials that could handle it - mag or copper plates and photopolymer.


Read the post above and if you have questions read it again , lead is too soft for anything but proper printing ,wood type is too rare and expensive to damage in this way . as mentioned stick to the photopolymers or zincos for this although zincos may leave grey marks too ,not certain of that though !

The obvious wisdom is do not do it! I hope you can head it.

Gee,thanks for the beating Colophon! “Crazy” is a mighty strong word. I’ll give you the benefit as I didn’t communicate the whole story in favor of brevity. “Never show a fool unfinished work,” as my Grand Dad used to say. Can ya head it?

I forgot to mention that I was cautious and used only a few characters as a test. Yup, I am an engineer (Ph.D.!) and I do test things empirically. When they don’t work out, or puzzling results occur, I look for expert help.

You had me at lead!

As for the wood type, I make my own on our laser cutter. I use end grain maple and it seems to hold up pretty well.

I don’t see much difference between wood and photopolymer, except that photopolymer is petroleum-based.

I do like the idea of covering type with mylar.

Copper sounds like a good alternative, too.
Any sources for copper type?



You’d probably not have received the beating you got if you had been using linotype slugs.

To answer your question, you won’t likely find a much available copper type, though brass can be had easily from some companies that provide foil stamping fonts. Try Talas, they were selling some brass stamping type at some point.

Another good way to cover the form if you’re concerned about magnesium transferring is to use polyethylene painters tarp- the really thin kind. It holds up very well, but isn’t as stiff as mylar so it conforms to details a bit better. It’s not quite as readily as available as saran/food wrap, though, and ymmv based on the quality of the stuff you get obviously.

Thanks Haven!


Owosso Graphic Arts can provide you with copper or magnesium dies for blind debossing. Give us a call at 800-444-5552 and ask for Joe Holden our Tech Manager.