Scoring Issues on Heavy Cover

I thought you might be interested. I recently printed a card on 120 Superfine Cover Smooth. It is a beautiful sheet that is pasted, has a very smooth hard surface and is about 14pt. in caliper.
After printing I went to score them as I usually would with a 2pt rounded rule. They cracked horribly. I tried everything I have ever done. Wider rule, more impression, softer packing, harder packing, from the outside, from the inside.

I spoke with Mohawk and Fritz and they both suggested a combination of the 2pt rule and a scoring matrix.
I purchased some additional rule from Fritz along with a variety of matrix widths and depths and the results were perfect.

This flickr link will show the original results and the various parts till the final scoring.

Thanks to my friends Fritz and Guy at Mohawk.


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This was good to see, though scoring can be tricky. All that I can suggest to printers is to experiment and see what does the best job. I know there is the old string method, others using masking tape, brass rule, and on. But the modern matrix product with good steel rule is the way to go with platens and cylinders. The first time I used it was on my Miehle Vertical and it made me a believer. I suggest also that a notebook be kept with samples of what works and doesn’t regarding paper stock and various techniques. This also works for inks and other letterpress “experiences.”

Most people entering into letterpress are not aware of the long ago apprenticeship programs. The International Typographers Union, the ITU, had a six year program at 2000 hours per year—that’s 12,000 hours before you were considered qualified to work in the trade. We’ve cut that down now to a few hours, some people a few minutes, with the expectation that letterpress is a cinch to learn and one is able to start making the fantastic what ever immediately—just look at the posts on this forum for the past month.


The last month? You are being a diplomat. :o)

I bought my first press at age 13—a brand new Kelsey 6x10 with the full assortment of stuff. What excitement, and the drive home from the train station (yes, Kelsey shipped by railroad in the dark ages) was almost too much to handle. But once I had everything out on the living room floor, I realized I didn’t know what all the parts and pieces were or how everything went together. That became a learning process that continues for me to this day. I ended up printing a neighborhood newspaper with that press complete with halftones, everything hand set type including display advertisements. I had a contract by age 14 to print 1200 movie schedules weekly for the 2 military theaters where my father was stationed. By then I had discovered something called “trade typesetting” and the bulk of the type was set on a linotype.

I did have the help of the guys working at the local Army print shop, which was about 90% letterpress, and they showed me a lot of tricks, the basics of hand setting type, and how it all went together. But I read everything I could find, talked to printers, and visited shops. And maybe I am being diplomatic and we need to be so with new persons to the trade, or else no one learns, and ultimately, letterpress perishes and I end up with no customers. But along with being a newcomer should be an attitude that defers to both knowledge and experience. Hopefully, along the way, people can discern the good advice from the bad, and then enjoy a very addictive activity.


I am a new printer (one year into it) who has benefited from the voices on this forum (and phone calls from around the country). A printer in No VA recommended a CARL paper trimmer/scorer, which works fairly well.(I print one card at a time on my Pearl #1 tabletop). But I had the same trouble with cracking on heavier paper. I read somewhere (sorry I don’t remember- the problem with reading too much/too fast) that using a swab of beeswax across the crack helps put fibers back in place. I tried it yesterday, and it worked. Any problem with this long-term? This is the first time I’ve read about a scoring matrix. Thanks, all….

Scoring matrix is a great help. We keep several boxes of matrix in my shop. Works great on the Miehle Vertical, Heidelberg cylinder, as well as the clamshell die cutter.

Sometimes you need to work on the pressure on the score, but usually scores great.

Several companies make scoring matrix, I’ve had good luck with Shriner.


seeing as how i was corrected awhile back, here goes.
What you are doing here is “creasing”…
“Scoring” is a process in which the paper is partially cut, full length, to cause a fold. if you read most boxes the matrix comes in, it will say, “creasing matrix”.
A technicality these days it seems, as the words are commonly intermixed. Me? i guess i don’t care as long as ev one knows what is being discussed.
BUT, there Are those here who do, and I’m surprised this hasn’t been addressed yet.

When you don’t have the matrix you need to get the crease just right you could skiv your own crease channels with .020 or better press board and a utility knife. Thats how it was done before matrix. A Diecutter could spend many hours cutting in the creases on large cylinder presses(28x40 or 40x56”) for folding carton work.
Eric I am a Diemaker and the crease/score crap has been going on forever. Most printers say score when they want a crease or a dent in the stock to help the fold using crease rule without a counter.