wich metod/s do you think are best for the male(handcrafted), when embossing things with fine details?
any particular ideas on line weights density fonts vectors when creating the archive to make the actual die??

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just have the die maker make the counter.
as far as fine lines go, the die maker will give you minimum parameters for their equipment/process. don’t be surprised that when the kines get really fine, they recommend going to a “CNC”/sculptured process. photo engraving does not yield fine lines well.

i mean a counterdie that you do yourself.i use different paperstocks and cut them, place them on the female die with t the back setup with double sided tape one run on the windmill with the pressure on masking tape above the fix on the tympan and work details from there with paper and glue also tried epoxy with catalizers previously with some soap on the female die so it doesent adhere to the die and the epoxy applied to one sheet one the tympan same procedure one run with pressure on in this case the windmill nearly closed so that the bars doesent wipe away the epoxy on the run cut out the remains wait for hardening and mask it with papertape that goes into very fine details and supports long runs.i suppose ther are more secrets to be revealed

For most counters that I cut myself I use “yellow board” which is available through Kluge or Infinity Foils and other suppliers to the foil/embossing (print finishers) trade. It is a multiple layer product that you moisten slightly and then close up in contact with the female die. Leave closed for a few minutes and then cut away the non embossed areas with a sharp blade. Cover the counter with release film or thin paper and run. The quality of the emboss depends on the accuracy of the cut out, the amount of pressure applied and the amount of heat available, if any. The heat helps to soften the paper as you are running. There is also epoxy type material available to make counters and even auto body filler can work.

Fairplay Press

@pjphoto the yellowboard sounds good, but i live in Uruguay was just curious about how its done in other places the epoxys i use (used for waterleaks etc homeuser) are very cheap but bit of a pain when you need to cut out the boarders and the windmill is not that confortable to work as the space is quite narrow.


The epoxy can be ground away using a Dremel type tool. You may want to tape down a film base on the platen, apply enough epoxy on the film to fill the female die, cover it with another thin (release) film, close the press and let it cook for a few minutes, open the press, take the film base and now formed epoxy off the platen, grind/cut the unembossed image away, apply two sided tape to the back of the counter, position the counter into the female die, apply tape to keep the counter in position then close the press by hand with the impression on. The counter will transfer to the platen in the correct position.

i get what you are doing, and the way you are, takes a lot of time and is really not that durable.
if it is a real die, and not some homemade carving, a die maker will make you a counter that is quite reusable. it takes only a minute or 2 to lay it down.it would be out of a polymer and lasts a long time. your issue would be shipping the die to and from.
the normal charge is, for up to about 15cm x 15 cm, around $40-$50.00 US.
There is, in the women’s finger nail care section of store, a powder and liquid kit for rebuilding finger nails, or whatever they do with it. it is the same polymer that die maker’s use. just a very small bit of it. large dies, over 8cm x 8cm would take more than one kit.

what i actually do is similar to your system the epoxy i use is based on two components and forms like a clay today it occured to me to try a different technique so i used the steeljacket for die cutting by the way the die is plain steel anyway i taped a regular paper sheet on top of the steel jacket used a stamp pad on the die to see where the die is hitting formed a3mm thick layer with the epoxy on the sheet of the tympan then a piece of plastic bag ontop of it.
the epoxy hardenes in ten minutes so i just left the machine in pression about 3 to 5 minute while it still was soft removed the plastic and voila very easy to remove the leftovers without any dremel just a regular cutter then left it to dry for 20 more minutes and taped a paper masking tape over it then runed 10000 impressions without variations.in pressure.
eric what do you mean with the way you are?if you dont have 20 minutes to spare for the makeready you can leave it over night while youre sleeping its just a matter of coordination or in the mean time do some cutting offset printing folding, or whatever there is always something to do i work in 6 machines i try to achieve every thing in the shop without third partys with the time delays shippings coordination and extra dollars

phase4 you are on the right track many old embossing dies do not have counters and must be made on press. If you have a die heater look into pour counter which is actually dental acrylic hardens in about a minute on press.
ericm I use poly counters from my engraver with all new dies but sometimes you have to make your own male counter. Like when the client supplies an old die without a premade counter.
I have used hot melt glue on short runs.

i meant the “the way you are,,, making the counter”
my customers are Always behind on schedule by the time i get the job, so, getting it on and off the press asap is usually paramount.
there also is out there, an “engravers board” it is usually white. in it’s normal state, it is thick and hard. but when softened with a bit of moisture it can be “pounded in” then when cutting around the image area you notice that it comes off in layers. this board is best used with some external heat applied. this helps dry it out again. the process is repeated until image is acceptable.
This process is not really for magnesium dies as they are dented easily. (around the image as you cut away)
If ordered in a bit larger quantities, the liquid and powder polymer mix, is actually from a dental supply house. i use a high temp spray, “mold release” instead of film, to release it from the die. the one catch is, using the spray, you better get it right the first time, as with the mold release residue on the counter, you cannot (usually) pour over it again to fill any voids.
hope this helps.

very good contributions from all of you its good to pass on the info for interested people on this dying art.

I have found using jb weld quik formula to be very effective on my kluge and windmill I use a piece of thin phanalic board cut to the same size as my die put a small piece of double side tape to it and stick to the die close the press and increase impression till its completely tight open it up then on the back side apply rubber cement or contact cement and close press and let glue dry directly to platen once press is opened the tape pulls away from die leaving board in place then I use a piece of foil mylar and lay it over the board area secure with scotch tape on one end to the top edge on kluge and left edge on windmill so that gripper bar will float over it then fold back mylar mix up the amount of jb weld to cover area usually about 1/16 th thick spread evenly with a business card lay mylar back over that and close press tightly until weld is hard usually 10 min or less no need to use release agent the weld will seep into any fine lines of die once opened there is a little cut away of weld seepage around the edge of phanalic simply cut away with razor blade and your ready to run this I have found to be so much faster than using the yellow board and cutting it all out also by using this method I can reuse the counter die I have made the next time the job comes around simply use double side tape on front side and fix to die again close press increase impression to max open reapply rubber or contact cement and glue back down ready to go again in minutes