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Re: PraGnant --- comments -- the Force

Wow! Bill, Thank you for being so very thorough. And Peter, thanks for your help as well.

Beddall Bookbinding Conservation & Restoration
840 Snowdrop Ave. Victoria BC V8Z 2N4
(250)888-9380    http://www.Bookbinder.ca

Bill Minter wrote:
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 letters.
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 even labels.
FYI: If you do not have access to plexiglas you can obtain small sheets from McMaster-Carr, an industrial supplier at www.mcmaster.com .
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 registration.
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 Force.
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 time.
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 the spine.
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.
Good Luck,
Bill Minter

Peter: That is probably a lot of mud, but I do hope that it is clear. Bill


William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc.
4364 Woodbury Pike
Woodbury, PA  16695
Fax:   814-793-4045
Email:    wminter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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