Scoring with plates?

I’m about to start scoring paper for the first time on a C&P 10 x 15. Could I hypothetically score my paper with photopolymer plates? If I created a long strip on my plate about 2pt thick, and pressed my paper the same way I would if I were printing, could that work?

I’m working with 110# Lettra, and I’ve seen the suggestions about the the mauve creasing matrix, but I’m interested in if this could work or if this is a terrible idea. It’s easier for me to create the photopolymer strip than to hunt and gather the matrix and lead.

If I should absolutely go with the matrix, does anyone have any extra 2pt, 36pica (6”) long lead available? I just need the one piece and it’s hard to find just the single piece without having to find someone to cut it down. I’ll compensate you for it.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi Danielle,

I score all the time on one of my C&P’s. I use a scoring rule with a perforation score on the other side.

Setting it up is very simple - you literally stick the rule between your furniture and tighten up the quoins. Hit the tympan paper with the score, and line up your paper with where you want the line to hit.

The problem that I foresee with a photopolymer plate is that you have to stick it on some sort of base, and then you have to make sure that it’s parallel or you’ll have a score at an angle (which I don’t think you want). A scoring rule eliminates that problem.

Using a lead piece will be a problem as well. Lead is soft, and it’ll get banged up and “wavy”, resulting in a score line that’s not straight. Trust me - I’ve tried it in a pinch with poor results. Plus, a piece of lead may not go high enough past your furniture to make a noticeable score line without smashing it.

I think I might have some extra scoring rules somewhere, but I’ve been working 14-24 hour days with the amount of work I have right now (I take my lunch break with the wonderful, brilliant people here at I would have to take the time to find them - time that I don’t have. I wouldn’t suggest waiting for me; instead, try Don Black at (NOT, unless you’re a ferroequinologist). I’m sure that he’ll have what you’re looking for. If he has it, get the longest one that will fit on your chase, and maybe get a few extra just in case you need to cut it down to size if you have to. I understand time is an issue, so I would give him a call ASAP. Aaaaand, a scoring rule is probably less expensive than having a plate made and they last forever.

While a photopolymer plate may work, I think that a scoring rule is the way to go. It’s just much more practical.

And to boot, if you get a scoring rule with a perforation score on the other side, you get a twofer! You can start offering perfing services to other shops or as an added feature to a design.

Best of luck!

you really don’t want to flip a perforating rule over, it will cut into the bed of the press and it also will dull your perforating rule. Scoring rule is rounded and will do a much better job. I’m restoring a 8x12 c&p that was used to perforate and score, they flipped a perforating rule over to score, you should see how bad the bed is cut up from years of doing this.

Find a steel rule die shop and buy an assortment of matrix, crease and perf rules. Get a metal plate( even a small sheet of scrap from ductwork) on the bed of your press for creasing and perfing.

These days scoring on a letterpress press is done with steel scoring rule, available in several heights but .918 is the most common. It is readily available and we will cut it to length at no additional cost, but allow for the rule to be longer than the sheet being scored. Matrix can be attached to the tympan, after taking out some packing, and this can be used on most platens and cylinder presses including Vandercooks and other proof presses. Matrix also attaches to die jackets. Matrix is sized by the thickness of stock being scored and not by basis weight—know the difference. Check my profile for a link to my website.

For getting a perfect letterpress score with a photo polymer base, I have found something far more effective and much simpler than creating a rule from the plate material. Get a very straight piece of steel wire, .062” is what I like but you can go thinner. Tape it to your photo polymer base with transparent tape. In place of the traditional matrix on the platen, use a strip of thin, dense rubber. I use .9mm thick self adhesive offset litho blanket for this. Viola! A perfect score with identical appearance and performance to scores made using the traditional method.

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Thank you all for your comments and advice everyone! The verdict is I will be using the rule and matrix over the polymer plates. It sounds like it will yield the best results and is easy to find. Thanks again, all!