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Re: [BKARTS] Gold stamping with letterpress type

Dear Richard, Dave and the list,
Sorry for not responding sooner. But, Okay here is a method I invented for  
printing Gold Leaf with heat. 
First, the gold leaf to use is Patent Gold. It is 23K and is attached to a  
thin, carrier paper. It comes in the usual size and books.
Secondly, the press should be a flatbed such as a Washington or some other  
style handpress, or a flatbed cylinder proofing press such as a Vandercook.  
Since I have both presses I use my Vandercook as it has precise registration  
which is required for the success of this process.
Using a high tack ink of a dark, warm red color pull an impression of  
moderate depth. A kiss impression will not be sufficient while a heavy debossing  
will distort the later gold image.
After the impression and before returning the carriage raise the form  
rollers so as not to reink.
Patent Gold, unlike other leaf, can be cut with a  scissor. I do recommend 
cleaning the blades with alcohol to remove any possible  oil residue before 
cutting the leaf. Clean hands (and maybe a pure heart) are  also good ideas when 
handling gold leaf of any sort.
But do not, in the attempt to be too conservative of the precious stuff,  cut 
the leaf too close to size. 
Now lay the leaf, paper side down, on the type form. It is important to  have 
it lay flat so as not to catch the form rollers on the next pass.
Re-feed the imprinted paper. Here you will note that consistent feed is of  
the utmost importance. With a slow crank pull a second impression.  When  you 
attempt this a second time, note that consistency in the speed of the crank  
can also help to serve good registration.
You will find that the leaf will pull off the carrier paper in a larger  
swatch than the form printed. Let it be for an hour or so, but not much more,  and 
then brush off the excess leaf with a soft bristle but moderately firm  
brush. Depending upon the ink you use the time between applying the leaf and  
removing the excess leaf may vary. Test it yourself. I use offset inks without  
driers. Hanco (Handschy) Sun Red has worked well.   
Of recent I have taken to the process of inking the form for the primary  
impression with the form rollers raised for the impression pass. This is because  
high tack inks can very slightly pull the carriage to one side or the other  
which may ruin the chance of a perfect secondary impression with the gold.

With this process you can utilize your irreplaceable foundry type  without 
fear of damage from heat. Also you may use a face that coordinates or is  in 
fact the titling of the book. And I don’t need another expensive tool in my  
shop. Besides, I have always disliked the faces available that are cast of the  
harder (greater tin content, I believe) metal for heat stamping.
You may also use polymer and other plates, monotype, etc. There is the  
unfortunate size restriction dependent upon the size of the leaf. AS I have used  
my method for printing edition work I usually do not design beyond the size  
restrictions of the leaf, but you can build up the amount of leaf but slightly  
overlapping more than on sheet of leaf to a larger dimension. But this can  
become a bit too fussy a procedure for editioning
I developed this procedure almost 30 years ago while printing for the  
calligrapher Abigail Chapman. In the process of experimenting I practically  ruined 
a set of form rollers when attempting to use slacked plaster. I do admire  the 
opportunities a student has today as they do not have to depend upon  
teaching themselves as I did. But problem solving previously untackled processes  has 
its advantages as well. So try this process, and, as mentioned above it may  
now sound simplistic or even obvious, but still, if you use it I am not 
adverse  to it being referred to as the Seastone Method. It would give meaning to 
absurd  attempts (here meaning the use of slacked plaster as a printable medium) 
in  problem solving.
Leonard  Seastone
The Tideline Press

68 Brook Street
West Sayville, New York

631  589-5706
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Purchase College, SUNY

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