Business Card Printing on Platen Press


I have recently acquired and beautiful Golding Jobber no. 7 and have had some success with printing some things, but have stumbled upon business card printing.

It’s a 10x15 and I am using a plate on a 6x9 Boxcar base.

I was intending to cut the paper to size and run them one at a time. Have I boxed myself in a corner with this?

I tried the chipboard method where I gluesticked the chipboard down and alignment issues occurred and the paper seems to fall into the press most of the time.

Otherwise I can’t get the base to clear the gauge pins considering the size of my paper (business card size) and the base (6x9”)

Any help, tips, etc would be awesome! And any pics would be rad, too.

Thank you in advance.


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You can come up with a solution because I always have the same problem, often. Here is what you can do. If you are super close to the edge but have just a sliver of space, double stick down the chipboard and then take a thin sliver of blank photopolymer to create a lip (tongue) to keep the paper from slipping out/forward.

If you have more than a sliver, tape a copper or a sliver of hard paper to the chipboard pin.

You can also buy compressible gauge pins or make compressible gauge pins using foam from the craft store with a bit of blank (trim) photopolymer on top.

If your image is full bleed on all sides then you are definitely in trouble, but as long as you can find some space for the softer gauge pin options you’ll be fine. If I can get a picture this week I’ll send it (might be too late for you, but I’ll try)

Putting a rubber band or some blue tape across from gripper bars would help too if you have the space for it because it will grab the paper as the press closes to keep it from falling in.

You can kind of see the pins here. Normally, you should have two pins on the bottom and one on the side as was pointed out by Inky. You can see the bookplate I was printing ran really close to the edges so this worked for me. You’ll have to feed slower, and be careful. Make sure there is enough clearance with the pins to easy slip the paper in or you’ll have a tough time

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i would either cut the base in half or get a smaller base for smaller things, you can but them together for larger plates. its not good to put a smaller die on a large base cause it forces you to reach too far into the press. for a smaller die you can mount it on a home made base.

Do you never find cornerstone mount in the states ? I have used at least three different kinds of ali mount over the years , surely it cant all have made the scrapper ?
why not print twice the size or four times and work the sheet tumble and twist then tumble again. difficult with wet pre runs but if you have a couple of cards to run do the different jobs on one sheet if possible , then the earlier run may have started to dry whilst making ready the next run .

Peter, you kids in England seem to keep all the cornerstone to yourselves.

It just strikes me as strange no one asks after some here , In my metal years we used a lot of it along with honeycomb mount with ali plates clipped to it and even zinc dies we chamfered then mounted to the honeycomb with the clips. I cant remember what they were called only they were numbered ,0,1,2 dont remember any others .
The cornerstone mount survives as it can double up as furniture , i use it for holding cutting rules in chase made dies .

Thank you for the tips!

An obvious answer could also to be to just cut the initial stock an extra 0.5” bigger in each direction to allow for the gauge pins and do a final trim after printing, but then you will still be reaching pretty far into the press with a large base.

We also have just one large base but almost always print business cards (and all other small format pieces) in the “twist and tumble” way that Peter describes—cutting the stock to twice the necessary size and printing a copy in each of the four corners, handily solves both issues.

As a side note on this process, I find it easier to cycle between two pieces of paper rather than trying to grab the sheet, flip/turn it, and feed it again in one cycle, which otherwise tended toward more misfeeding and kept hands in the press longer. I can think of no better way to explain what I mean than:
- Sheet 1, Corner 1
- Sheet 2, Corner 1
- Sheet 1, Corner 2
- Sheet 2, Corner 2, etc, etc, etc
This lets me get the next sheet ready to feed while the press cycles through, which is much more like traditional feeding.

Very rarely have we had issue with the ink being too wet for this method, but when we have we just run through one corner per sheet, then flip the stack back onto the feed table and do another corner, four times to finish.

I would feed through the pile once , tumble and feed again then twist and feed again then tumble and feed again . I would avise against the print more than one imp per sheet , run piles .

I agree that all should have a well informed understanding of the potential danger of smashing some body part in the hand fed platen press. The potential danger is there. BEWARE
Having said that, if the rules are followed, one should be able to safely print business cards one up from poly plates on a larger base. The plate is placed in the lower left corner of the base tight to the edges. This will leave room for the pins. The base is placed in the chase to get the plate as reasonably near the center of the platen as possible.
The rules:
Stand erect and never lean in.
When the platen is opening and in the near horizontal position, it is yours. When it begins to close, hand out. The throw-off is your friend.
Don’t chase the misfeed.
Stay narrowly focused right on the platen. Not the music or weekend plans
Run the press slow enough to make the project easy and not dangerous or frustrating.

Get some ink on your shirt

There is some good advice here, but in my experience, messing around with convention gauge pins is frustrating and unneeded, especially when printing business cards using a boxcar base.

I’ve printed hundreds of business card orders over the past couple years and your best solution is the one PantheraPress suggested in the first comment on this thread.

Get a small craft paper cutter so you can cut down a chipboard “L” looking gauge to slide your card into. Make sure it’s in a nice 90 degree angle so your cards slide into it nicely. Glue this down to your tympan. Cut a couple slivers of the same stock you are printing and tape them to your chipboard gauge you’ve just made. These will act as little gauge pins to keep your card from sliding out!

Now, you can just register your plates to your card by taping the plate on the card and making one impression. Your plate will stick to the base in perfect registration and your set!

In my experience, this process makes setup so much quicker and you’ll have a lot more fun printing :)