Diecutting on Kelsey 5x8

I’d like to diecut round corner business cards or round coasters. Is it possible to do on the smaller tabletop presses? Also, where would be the best place to get such dies made? Locally or online? Thanks!

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Most round cornering is done with a machine made just for rounding corners, you could do it on the press but its faster with the cornering machine. I have a kelsey 3x5 set up with a perforating rule to perf tickets in half, it does a good job. These smaller presses will do a small die with just a few cuts, if you try to cut too much you could break the press. Dick G.

I agree with Dick G. about breaking your press. For the amount of money that you purchased for your press, I’m sure you don’t want to take the chance of breaking it. I’m new to this blog but I think I have a possible answer to your question. There are two options that I can suggest to you. The first is looking at purchasing a small die cutting machine at your local craft store like Joann’s or Michael’s. They should have circular or scalloped die cuts. The second option is to see if there’s a supplier on www.etsy.com who could supply you pre-cut coasters at a price. You can request special ones to be made and they will quote you a price. I have a Cricut machine that could possibly do the cuts, but I’ve never tried it. Your best bet is choosing one of the solutions above. Hopefully, someone else has a better idea?

Get a corner rounder, and use pre-cut coasters.

I hate to be contrary….. but there is nothing wrong with die cutting on a Kelsey.

A few years ago I did a whole series of tests on the impression strength of Kelseys using strain gauges , and in the process actually stressed one to it’s breaking point.
The results were posted here in Briar Press if you care to research it.

The results were that Kelsey 5x8s and 6x10’s are actually quite sturdy little presses, and can put down quite a lot of pressure per square inch….. easily enough to round a few corners or die-cut a door-hanger. I didn’t test a 3x5, but I do own one…. and it seems to be quite sturdy for it’s size, too.

Buying pre-cut coasters would limit bleeding without making a mess or requiring some additional rigging, right? Perhaps it would still be less work/hassle/money than getting a better suited piece of equipment though.

I’ve never used one of the die cutting machines sold at craft stores. I also don’t know what sort of laps magnus would need to push it through. But if the projects in question are frequent and large runs, how long is a craft die cutter expected to last?

Magnus -


I have long scoffed at the idea of die-cutting on a Kelsey press. But I could be wrong.

I die cut on a 12x18 C&P, sometimes on the 10x15, sometimes on a Heidelberg - and used to even die cut cassette labels on an 8x12.

But I’ve never die cut on any table-top press.

I’d love to hear more from WinkingCat about his testing of the Kelsey presses - especially the stress testing. This is something I’ve always wanted to do myself, but have never seemed to find the time to do. I would welcome any good information that I can find on the subject. It’s something that comes up now and then and all I can speak from is my own experience on the bigger presses.

I suppose the complexity of the die (in lineal inches) and the thickness - and hardness - of the stock are the big variables in this case.


But in any case, I’d suggest that you track down an inexpensive round-cornering machine. They are simple, are available and work great. I have one and use it quite often.

Mine has a blade that can be easily removed and sharpened on a flat stone - and it will need to be sharpened. I figure I sharpen mine every few hundred cuts. Frequent sharpening really does help mine to make a clean cut through 1/2” of stock at a time. I don’t know wo sells them, but mine has the name “Imperial” on it, and it is really, really handy.

I would not expect the craft-store die cutters to hold up. I do use a small hand-held cutter for individual sheets, but I doubt that the blades are made to do more than a few hundred cuts on heavy stock before they simply get dull.


For the coasters - pre-cut coasters are just so inexpensive, that die-cutting your own simply does not make sense - even for me with my big presses. You can get them round or round-corner - and they should print well on your 5x8 press. And, since the coaster stock is so thick, you can even get away with bleed images off of the edges - the plate never touches the platen - the coaster stock is so thick that it stops the plate from touching the platen.

So. Best of luck with your coaster printing and round-cornering.

Alan, here’s the comment about pressure I posted concerning the breaking strength of Kelseys:


my little experiment was designed to determine exactly how much pressure was needed to print well with a home-made press…. and the discovery of ultimate strength was purely an added …um… bonus.

Thanks everyone for your feedback! You have all been a great help!

@ winking cat

Have you actually broken a Kelsey to get that number?