Print address on front of 4 Baronial Envelope

Ok, I have spent a whole bunch of time trying to print these. Some places the piece is 2 layers, some are 3 and some are 4. The address conveniently covers all of the seams. I have given up. Is there something I just don’t get?

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Slip a piece of chipboard into the envelope to have an even printing surface.

Good idea except that I have 140 to do and use a Windmill. Thank you though.

When i run envelopes on my windmill i use a piece of an offset blanket taped on the platen, you might have to do a little makeready but you won’t believe how forgiving that blanket is. Don’t forget to back the impression way off, then bring it up slowly. Also you could open the flap and feed the envelope from the bottom, this will eliminate one layer you’re trying to print on. Good Luck Dick G.

It’s called make ready. You have to pack the tympan/platen with different levels so it’s all even. This can be tricky and take time. It’s also harder these days because the envelopes aren’t as good quality so they could vary. Whenever possible, open the flaps while printing.

Ya the makeready is what I spent most of the time on but still couldn’t make it work. The blanket idea sounds excellent. Thanks to both. Where could I find this offset blanket, Dick?

rziesing, Look at Don Black’s web site. under the business heading for a good set fo instructions on makeready. Howard H

Aren’t offset blankets almost all 0.08”? Packing on a Windmill can’t exceed 0.04”.

I think you have to rip off a layer

Try this:
Print one impression on your tympan. Print one envelope. Take the envelope face side up and hold it on light table or window. Areas where the envelope is 4 layers thick, carefully cut those out with a razor blade. You should have a hole now. Areas where the paper is 3 layers thick, you will want to cut away 2 layers (you may have to flip the envelope over on this cut so it doesn’t fall apart). Where the envelope is 2 layers thick you can leave them without cutting. Now take your make ready and carefully tape it on the tympan sheet so the address from the envelope covers the one on the tympan. Cover the whole thing with a piece of 2” clear tape so the gripper won’t grab it. The blanket idea should work also.

One of the problems with envelopes is that they are not exactly all identicles when they are folded and converted from flat stock. You may create perfect makeready for one envelope only to find that little difference in many suceeding envelopes. In mu “old age” I have simply determines to print the return address onto the back flap (I print with the flap open) to avoid the multi-layer problem.


Great explanation, Platen Man. Thank you. Methinks that front side addressing over four seams is not cost effective on letterpress. Giclee (inkjet) makes more sense to me. I can get some decent deboss on lettra envelopes on the back flap, but regardless of makeready, I doubt there will be any real dimension to the text when hit softly enough to only bend a thin rubber blanket.

There’s a picture of envelope makeready, and brief explanation at

We makeready under the envelope and stuff with chip sometimes. Whatever’s quickest and looks best. You might have to do both if you want a deep even impression that doesn’t show through to the back.
You have to run the windmill really slow and with very little packing when stuffing. At full tilt it really whips the envelopes and tears them. 140 doesn’t sound like a lot to me…

Some blankets are too thick, i’ve used AB Dick blankets with no other packing on the press, you must back off the impression almost all the way. I’ve done it this way for 20 years, most printers have old blankets they probably would give you. Good Luck Dick G.

Printing envelopes has to be done with the correct make ready. Here is a great website information:

The printing of envelopes by letterpress is an art, not just putting type on an envelope.

I have been in and around printing since the early 60’s. Back in those days, pressmen would do all their envelope printing on the same day, that way the make ready was only make once a week.

Unfortunately, making envelopes isn’t as consistant as it once was. The most careful makeready can be done, and the seams will wander two points throughout the run, with evident flaws in the impression.
Either back-flap address, or position type off-seam if corner address, or rubber makeready (once considered pretty lazy) may be the best choices now. And running open-flap will reduce the problem, front or back address.
The typical offset blanket on a duplicator is .065”, but there is thinner rubber envelope packing meant for the offset impression cylinder. Printer’s Shopper sold it, not sure where you’d find it now.

There use to be an envelope company called Mail-Well from the Bay Area. They would cater to the printer by making their envelopes with a curved seam in the upper right corner. Made life easy. Maybe there are envelope company’s that still practice this.

Would using Kimlon @ .021” be helpful in place of the rubber blanket in make ready?

We have a Windmill on the way, I can see this as being a problem. We have used Kimlon on our Vandercook packing to help in dealing with issues like this.

One of my blankets that i use is called a patch blanket, it comes in two parts, they were made to stick together and slap on an offset press, i use them separately. Dennis, we always bought side seamed envelopes, the seam ran straight down the edge like you said and it sure made life easier even on offset. Dick G.

Found blankets from Roger at J. Thomas McHugh. Apparently available from .02” to .04” in .005” increments