Original Heidelberg Letterpress Shop

I was looking around in my area for a good letterpress mentor/ instructor. I stumbled upon a small shop in the middle of nowhere that had 10 very large letterpresses inside, most of which said “Original Heidelberg” and “Kluge”. However, the owner said that these machines cannot create the trendy deep impressions, but that he might have machines in the near future that could handle them. Is this true, or was he blowing me off? I thought all the big presses in general could achieve any desired level of impression.?? perhaps it is too old of a machine?

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Consider your leg “pulled”.


Mike, are you positive that ALL original heidelberg’s can produce any impression? Is it possible that the press didn’t have all the correct “attachments” or that the craftsman didn’t have the “know-how”? (he mentioned that he just took the shop over from a retired printer).

The impression adjustment on a Heidelberg is, while not infinite, adjustable over a wide range. Many of the invitations you may see in person or on Flickr are done on Heidelbergs. so I would say he may not “know how” yet. If it is an inking model with rollers, an accomplished operator can do a deboss if that is required.

I would tell you to find another printer.

Adjusting impression on a platen press is really adjusting dimension.The amount of pressure that a press can exert is limited some carton diecutters can produce180 tons of pressure no amount of makeready can increse it. Getting the bed and plate close or further from each other. When type stock and makeready exceed the space between the bed and platen deep impression is acheived. However if there is too much a number of things happen first the bearing go metal to metal as there is no space for the lubricant next the crank arms stretch if they can’t stretch the press will jam up and need to be reversed to clear it or in many cases repaired. Equipment to be wary of are presses used to diecut heavy materials where crank arm stretching has caused metal fatigue and the bearing are sloppy from going metal to metal.


All heidelberg windmills can punch right through paper if you want. You must use .27 mm mag die which are expensive any letterpress can give you the impression you want. The guy you asked is probably not interested in showing you how to do it on a windmill.