[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: [BKARTS] PraGnant --- comments -- the Force
On Mar 12, 2009, at 7:45 PM, Peter D. Verheyen wrote:
Clear as mud? ;-) Bill, chime in if I missed something.
Last Fall, I wrote the following for someone on the List:
>>>>> Some of this information is available on the Hot Stamping
video that was made in 1993 at the GBW Standards. The video should be
available from the Guild Library.
Hot Stamping using the Force
The bed of your Kwik-Print stamping press may have a sheet of
plastic with a printed grid that is bolted at each corner -- the
bolts are "Round Head" and protrude above the plastic. These bolts
probably already interfere with stamping book covers and will
definitely be in the way for the Force. Remove this (excuse my
wording) remove this useless piece of junk so that you have a nice
smooth uniform bed to work on.
Also, make certain that the bed is perfectly true with type in
the stamping head. If one side of the chase or typeholder is leaving
more of an impression than the other, then it must be trued up ---
hopefully, there is an adjustment on your press. To test the
uniformity, insert type to the extremes of the typeholder or chase
and then make a very light, blind impression on a sheet of soft
cardstock or blotter. Ideally, the light blind impression will show
the same amount of impression over the entire area. In other words,
all of the letters should be stamping the exact same amount at all
four corners and there should be no missing letters nor overly, heavy
The Force: The Force is simply a removable bed or platen for
a stamping press. In my early years, we used a sheet of binder board,
but lately I have been using a sheet of 1/4" thick plexiglas. The
board or plexi should be a convenient size for your stamping press,
i.e. my Force is 18" x 24" plexi which is sufficient for most of the
book covers that I work on, and is also useful for small covers and
FYI: If you do not have access to plexiglas you can obtain small
sheets from McMaster-Carr, an industrial supplier at
Note that while binder board can be used, it will compress in the
type area and this will be uneven and will eventually require greater
amounts of make-ready for a uniform, smooth surface for stamping. The
plexi should last indefinitely.
On the bed of my stamping press, I have secured 2 small pieces of
metal at the two back corners --- the pieces of metal can be type or
spacing metal that are secured with small "C-clamps". These 2 pieces
of clamped metal are the two back stops for the Force --- note that
it is not a long strip, but actually two separate "points" for
Position the plexi on the bed of the stamping press firmly against
the 2 back stops and allow a uniform overhang to the left and right.
A spring clamp can be used to hold the plexi in position. Then mark
the underside of the plexi using a "magic marker" under the left
side. Remove the clamps and the plexi from the press. Take a small
scrap of plexi --- about 2" x 4" should be adequate. The scrap needs
to be glued flush to the marked line --- I place the 4" edge along
the line. If you use plexiglas, the scrap can be attached with a
small amount of acetone that will wick under the scrap; then place a
weight on top and allow to set and dry. The scrap of plexi must be
secure as it will form the 3rd stop of this sheet which is now the
After this 3rd stop is dry and secure, double check that it is indeed
in perfect registration; slide the Force along the 3rd stop
(hopefully it does not wiggle) until it makes contact with #1 and #2.
There should be no sloppiness in this alignment --- in fact, I would
slide the Force along the #3 stop until it is close to #1 and #2, and
then clamp the Force in place, then loosen #1 and #2 and re-secure
them snug and flush with the Force. There should be no chance that
the Force will align in any other way other than the same way every
When the Force is in use, YOU WILL ALWAYS ALIGN TO #1, THEN TO #2,
AND FINALLY TO #3. In this manner, you should always have a perfect
alignment and registration of the Force to the type. Note: if you
were to contact #3 first, you might not achieve perfect alignment
when it makes contact with 1 or 2.
Final preparation of the Force: On top of the plexi, tape a
sheet of Mylar --- suggest the same size as the plexi and it is taped
(clear packaging tape) along the back edge without interfering with
stops 1 and 2 -- note: do not tape the front edge or sides yet. Note
this Mylar will protect the plexi from undue amounts of masking tape
that will be used; the Mylar can be replaced as needed.
With the Force in position and clamped, tape a piece of chip-
board to the Mylar with masking tape under the type area. With the
press and type hot, make a carbon-paper impression of the type.
Remove the Force from the press. Draw a straight line along the top
or bottom of the type and extend it as far as possible. Then insert a
sheet of graph paper under the Mylar aligned with that drawn line ---
this graph will be useful for later alignment. Now, secure the graph
paper and then secure the other three sides of the Mylar.
The FORCE is now ready for use.
Use of Force:
Set your type and insert into the chase or typeholder.
Heat the press. Note different foils require different temperatures.
Note: McMaster-Carr has pressure sensitive thermometer stickers that
will give you a better idea of the actual temperature of the stamping
head of your press.
Attach a sheet of chipboard with masking tape (I align the chipboard
to the grid in the basic area of stamping) --- this chipboard will be
a "waste sheet", a "work sheet" and it will provide a "cushion" for
your type thus protecting it, as well as protecting the Force.
Insert the Force into the press using stops #1 and #2 and then #3.
Before going any further, I always make a light, blind (no carbon)
impression into a separate sheet of paper. This sheet will allow you
to check that there is good, uniform impression. Note: Try to
remember the amount of pressure that is needed for a good impression
as this information will be needed later. If the impression is not
uniform, you will have to add some make-ready either on or under the
chip-board. When a good impression is made, make a carbon-paper
impression of the type on the secured chipboard. ---- Note: a clean
carbon impression can be made with a very quick, light, impression.
Now, when you remove the Force from the press, you can double-check
the spelling. If done correctly, the impression is uniform and the
spelling is correct.
Now, draw lines along or around the type (use the grid lines if
needed) as a guide --- the drawn lines will be used for aligning the
item to be stamped. From these lines, mark dimensions on the
chipboard where the cover or label is to positioned. Tape the cover
securely with masking tape --- note test that the masking tape will
not harm the covering material. Also, note that the tape can be laid
lengthwise on the Force first, then pressed up along the edge of the
cover board and then on top of the cover --- you want to be sure that
the cover cannot move from that location even if jiggled --- the
cover must be temporarily secured to the Force.
Now, you can reinsert the Force into the the stops of the press and
the #3 stop against the bed. Make another light blind impression as
you can always increase the pressure (add more pressure if needed)
--- remember the pressure that was needed for the blind impression on
the blank paper --- this will help determine the amount of pressure
that is needed for the final stamping. Also, check for a uniform
impression, especially if there are turn-ins close to the image area;
use make-ready if needed.
Lay on the foil and make an impression with a touch more pressure
than the initial blind. I always apply two layers of (gold) foil, and
then finish with another blind to set the foil. Remove the Force from
the press and clean the impression --- I always use a white vinyl
eraser (never the commercial gold-cleaning rags --- the ones with
metal threads). If upon checking the results you find any breaks in
the foil, simply reinsert the Force into the press; double-check the
alignment with a very light blind impression; then stamp again.
I have rarely had any trouble with this procedure and the Force has
always provided me with many more opportunities to clean up and
correct a stamping problem that I simply could not have done any
other way. Remove the cover or label from the Force ONLY AFTER you
are satisfied with the results.
Further suggestion: When stamping spines, you may want to attach a
piece of binder board (cut to the width of the spine) to support the
spine during stamping. In fact, I cut the board to the exact
dimension of the spine between the covers so as to lock or trap the
cover in place for stamping. Note, also that this board, if properly
centered, will allow a second check of the centering of the type on
Another suggestion: If you make a mistake, especially if is at the
stage of the blind impression, it is sometimes possible to remove the
(gold) foil using isopropyl alcohol and a tooth pick. This will work
best on materials that are not harmed by the alcohol. After removing
the mistake, be sure to allow the material to dry fully before
attempting a repair as the moisture will cause even more trouble.
I think that is everything.
Peter: That is probably a lot of mud, but I do hope that it is clear.
William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc.
4364 Woodbury Pike
Woodbury, PA 16695
Please note that attachments to listserv messages are not permitted,
and are automatically removed by the listserver.
For all your subscription questions, go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information.