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Andrea….See that your plate is mounted on wood. Do you know if your wood base is even thruout as to have “type high” in the entire area of form? Also, you may be overpacked on the platen causing the pressure to “bear off” on the bottom causing the top not to print. Before you start with trying to print, you should be sure your platen is perfectly parrallel to bed of press. Letterpress is not guess work…all settings must be perfect to print correctly.

A good way to judge if the platen is parallel to the press bed is to lock up a piece of type in each corner of the chase, use a 24 - 36 pt type with a 6 - 8 pica margin from the edge of the chase. When you print you should be able to identify where the platen needs adjustment in which corner.

However, Sal made a good assessment that the packing should be a consideration too. Since its mounted on wood then there can be inconsistencies throughout the wood base.


Looking at your photos, I think that the bottom is also printing more heavily than the top because the bottom of the form has only light printing elements while the top of the form seems to have a repeated, heavier design. You could try several things—if possible, turn the cut so that the heavy part of the form is to the bottom of the chase. See if that helps. Some paper under the top half of the form as it is now may also help. Are you using any makeready in your packing? You could add thickness under the packing at the top and remove packing at the bottom to try to even it out.

Thanks for all the good advice. I will try a piece of type in each corner. And, yes there might be inconsistencies in the wood base, that would be a bummer if it wasn’t even.

I will also try turning the cut too, the paper I’m printing on might hang over the edge an inch or two if I turn the cut. I’ll have to work with that. And Brian, forgive me, but what do mean by makeready in the packing? I will try adding more thickness at the top and less at the bottom.

I am going to work on the suggestions tonight and I’ll post an update tomorrow morning.

Thanks again.


Hi, Andrea—

Often a sheet with the printed image is positioned in register in the packing, to which additional tissue or paper can be pasted or taped in position over those parts of the image that are printing too lightly. This is called the “makeready” or “spot sheet”.

I put some info on a web site:

It’s possible that the form itself is too heavy for the press. Have you printed forms this heavy before? Sometimes it’s possible to print multiple images separately or in several passes to reduce the impression required.

Good luck, Brian

Most press instruction manuals will tell you to put the heavy part of the form at the bottom. Often adding makeready(underlay etc.) to increase the pressure at the top will cause more problems than it helps. A solution could be to put some heavy .918 stuff at the bottom of your lockup to the outer left and right(away from the guides and stock) to help with balance. A similar method is used in diecutting as a press has only so much pressure and as long as it is not overloaded it is all about balance. I have pic on this site of a Thomson diecutter with bearers at the bottom of the platen will try to add to this post.

image: lsbpguide.JPG