press only used for die-cutting, is it ruined?

I am trying to get my wedding invitations done by a local printer, and they have a heidelberg, but they only use it for diecuts! They have never received a request for letterpressed invitations, and the closest they’ve come to is sending orders out to be embossed by another company.

Their knowledgeable letterpress guy (after dealing with idiots for a week) finally let me know it’s doable, but if their press has only been used for diecuts for the past who-knows-how-long, is it going to be a big problem? They’re quoting me at about $1 per invitation, which of course is amazing, since I can’t afford $900 for 100 invitations, but is it even worth my time to try to get them to do it?

As it is I am providing them with 100% cotton paper since they have never used it in a letterpress before, and they are still unsure if they can do a deep impression.

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I would doubt if the press is ruined per say, but the idea that they don’t normally offer letterpress printing may be a larger issue. You basically need to make sure that you and their resident letterpress expert are on the same page about the project. That will probably clear up questions of whether or not it can be done.

Plenty of printers offer affordable rates in other areas should you not be able to locate an experienced printer in your city. Many even have experience working with out of state clients, and shipping supplies isn’t a real problem.

Of course, $100 may not be such a good deal if the job is misprinted, but basically you need to decide if you wish to trust and work with the shop you’ve found.

Good luck!

James Beard
Vrooooom Press

I sent you a message off forum. Check your email!

I too have a couple of letterpresses we only use for die cutting. We have a Meihle V-50 and a Heidelberg SBG.
I wouldn’t attempt to print on my Meihle because the rollers are too old. We don’t have rollers in the Heidelberg.

I’m kind of surprised everyone keeps talking about a very “deep” impression. When I was taught by the person we bought our shop from 25 years ago, the ideal letterpress printing was a very light kiss with good ink coverage. I was taught not to smash the type into the paper as it would distort the type.

I would be a bit reluctant to have them run the job, if they don’t have the experience printing on the press. Who knows what kind of shape the old rollers might be in. Plus, foiling and scoring are very different than running ink, even on the same kind of press, and doing it well requires experience.
In the past we have had pressman work at our shop who only had foiling and die-cutting experience, and they would often come in with the attitude of “oh yeah, whatever, i can run the press, so it is all the same, right?”. And then they would struggle with the ink, and not really know how to deal with certain kinds of designs, and put out sub par work. A lot depends on your design. Does it have a lot of image area, or is it just type? the more complex designs could throw them for a loop on press if the have not run ink in 30years.
I wold find someone with experience. Good luck :)

eclee….. I wouldn’t say that the press is ruined by it being used for die-cutting…. but I wouldn’t use that shop for you invitations. If they aren’t letterpress exerienced, then you should find somebody who is.

There are a lot of good printers out there…. and on here. Get one of these folks to do them for you.

wait… that’s the same thing Natron said. Oh well…. that means we both are right!