Hard type soft lead or hard lead

Should I use lead or zinc type for hot stamping?

Log in to reply   5 replies so far

Speculation only,? If You can access Zinc Type (occasionally referred to as Mazak or Monkey Metal) would seem to be the better option, because it has a slightly higher melting point than conventional Lead type, which itself is (normally) a compound of Lead, Tin & Antimony, by implication lower melting point than Zinc, but also softer and more vunerable to the heat from *Stamping* and a faster wear rate.

The more preferred option would seem to be, *Bookbinders* Brass type,!! Although probably hard to source, if at all.?

***Again speculation only.*** Good Luck.

In the U.S. brass type is still manufactured by at least two companies. Brass type is expensive because of its material and because each character is individually engraved and finished, some by computer-operated engraving machines, but much is still done by hand. Ernest Schaefer also makes zinc type. You will find more info about hot stamping type on these sites.

Ernest Schaefer, Inc., Union, NJ


Durable Technologies, Worcester, MA


I would say use Brass Type, nothing better on the Market, but than you make the Type too? right?

I Foil with Lead, have a solid Collection of Ludlow, but also from Brass Flat mats and type high Brass.

Lead type can be damaged by the heat of foil stamping, so if you use lead, use only type that you won’t print with, and only type that can be replaced: fonts known to be available from currently operating foundries.

If the type has more than one nick, it’s foundry type and can’t be replaced.

I think the most practical answer these days is to find someone with a Ludlow machine and ask him to cast several repeat slugs, which is easy for Ludlow, and relatively speaking cheap. They are relatively soft in the scale under discussion, but will do a few, (depending on the binding cloth quality) but as it goes you simply replace with one of the repeat slugs. etc etc. Brass or zinc type is the counsel of perfection, but the cost dear boy, the cost!