printing large blocks of color

i’m a designer who has just started working with a letterpress printer. he has told me that it is basically impossible for him to print large blocks of color on his clamshell press. he says it might break his press? but i’m confused because i’ve seen this done. i was thinking that the type of paper used might make a difference?

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There are many reasons why the clamshell is not great for large blocks of color, but the main is the fact that it is a clamshell.
A cylinder press works differently and is good for large coverage, because it applies the pressure as the cylinder rolls across the form, which means only a small amount of the form is being printed at any single moment and allows the press to apply alot of force while printing.
A clamshell makes an impression over the entire form, all at the same moment, so in order to print a lagre area, a massive amount of force must be applied all at once, in order for the print to be made. This is very tuff to manage on most clamshell presses, even big ones.
I would trust your printer on this one. There are tricks to getting coverage on a clamshell, like using accessory rollers, or double inking, but no trick is the prefect solution. I have jammed a press or two in the past by pushing it too far, and it is not worth it.
If your printer is hesitent, he either doesn’t want to damage his equipment, or he doesn’t wat to deliver sub-par ink coverage. Or both.
A really dense, coated paper can make coverage easier, but you will give up that letterpress squish that you may be after.

I agree with Natron. Trust your printer, they know their equipment.

I have a platen (clamshell) press. I thought I knew its limitations regarding large blocks of color before I bought it, but I was still surprised when I first started printing. Solid areas which I would have considered tiny, and not large at all, became huge hassles to get an even print from. It’s hard to turn jobs down because you don’t have the equipment, believe me.

If you are committed to a design with solid areas, look for a printer with a cylinder press. (Not me, unfortunately, but there’s plenty of other folks on the directory)

he is correct. Let me see if I can be of help to you. We were once a high quality letterpress printing company, printing only for financial instituions. I have in my inventory a supplyof krome kote paper(cards etc.) that were printed on a block with beautiful solids on the outside. if you are interested in buying them I will give you a good deal. The insides are blank and you can have messages imprinted in them either letterpress or offsett. contact me thru e mail or call and ask for nancy