Foil stamping on a Vandercook

Hey all,

This is one of those thoughts that woke me from a dead sleep and wouldn’t let me go back so I thought I’d toss it in these boards and see what people thought.

Ever since a printer told me about die cutting on a vandercook my mind has been open to stuff I never considered before.

So would it be possible to rig a heating system to the base of my 219AB Vandercook and do a very short run of large scale foil stamping of rolling as the case would be?

Maybe it would be a mag plate wired somehow to reach the right temperature, the foil rolled over and then a print pulled over it?
I should also note that I have a machine mill and metal lathe so I could fabricate parts to make some sort of rig.

Is there some fatal flaw I don’t see or am I do clueless as to how foil stamping works that this is laughable?

Should I not be posting crackpot ideas before having any coffee?

Let me know your thoughts


~ Josh

Log in to reply   11 replies so far

i’m sure other crackpot ideas have been worked out, like movable type, they do foiling on heidleburg cylinders. why not a vandy. ps have that coffee.

I think a platen press would be a much better candidate for a conversion. You won’t have any way to work with foil on a roll on your Vandercook. You’d have to somehow put the foil in place between the sheet and the die for each impression.

Better still- just find a used Kluge which is already set up for foiling at a print liquidation auction and you’ll be set.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Daniel has pointed out one of the difficulties of hot foil on the Vandercook, positioning the foil. The best way to handle it might be to use a removable tape and tape the foil in place on the stock being printed. You would want to avoid just putting it on the heated form as it could pre-heat a bit too much it it touched the hot form.

You could easily drill out an aluminum or steel base to insert the cartridge heaters and hook them up to a standard temp controller to regulate the heat level. The 16 ga. or 11pt. plate can be attached to the base in a number of ways.

I wonder if I couldn’t machine some sort of foil rolling “dispenser” that I could pull up the foil over the form

Heated base in Pressbed, wire for tempcontrol and sensor run to the end of Pressbed and connect to the control box at the right side wall.
Inking unit removed, Foil is pulled from the right to the left, under the cylinder. Mechanically not difficult to set up, heating bases are out there, control boxes are easy to build, all parts are shelve stock.

Although it would be easier to find somebody with a Kluge and have them Foil it, Usually, one would have the respective equipment for the respective job on the Floor.

I know somebody who runs a windmill set up for it and I’d go to him. He’s great and reasonably priced and a hell of a lot of fun to chat with and swap press talk, especially since I got a black ball machine last September.

I was wondering if I could Frankenstein rig a giant roll of foil over a big heated form and do some expirimental short runs of really large areas of foil

if it can be done for a Heidelberg Cylinder it can be done for a vandercook. I know the base for the cylinder involves threading the roll of foil over and under the base. At one end are the take up and spool and at the other is just an idler. The roll advances every time the bed moves in and out.

@ Dan
Very interesting about the Kluge.

I’ve been in negotiations about a linotype machine I found as well. I don’t know if the floor in my space can handle any more tons of iron though.

But man am I interested in that Kluge.


It is indeed possible. I have a heat plate that is about 9 x 12” made for 1/4” foil dies that I place in the pressed of my OS 219 and set up the way typenut describes above. I merely tape my foil to the sheet I intend to print.

The beauty of it is there is usually no makeready needed and I can easily use the entire plate size. I’ve done stuff with book cloth and leather that would normally require a blocking press to do. Works great for short run work.

Being very intrigued by this idea, and interested in finding a base to experiment, I just spent about 30 minutes goggling away without any luck. Does anyone have a source for these bases, pre-made?

Haven, check out foil stamping, Kluge might still have foiling bases, i think there is a place that rebuilds kluges in Florida or Texas (can’t remember who or where). The foiling bases make boxcar bases seem cheap. If i remember i paid around $1,000 for my 10x12 inch base back in the early 1980’s.