Problems scoring Lettra

When I score Lettra and then fold it, the paper is “cracking” badly. It doesn’t matter if I score with or against the grain, the exact same thing happens. I usually score this paper using a Scor-It board, but have had it scored at a local printer and it still cracks. Help! I really love the look of this paper for my stationery line, but this cracking isn’t working for me. Anyone else having these problems? Any ideas why this is happening or how to fix it?

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1. What is the stock weight?
2. What pt. creasing rule is used?
3. Are crease guides set too close?
4. Is press packing correct?
5. Following creasing, are you folding the stock whilst looking into the crease or looking at the rise?

Assuming the above checks out, a) wax the rule; b) dampen the crease line.

Hi Ella,

I have used creasing matrix on Cranes Lettra and it works perfectly - no cracking like you say (I know what you are talking about because the same thing happened to me)


With what shall I wax it Dear Forme?

Ummm. Wax? Steal a candle from a tree-hugger (it will be unlit because candles contribute to global warming), then rub it along the metal rule. (The candle - not the hugger) Helps glide the metal over the fibre.
And MC is correct: scoring and creasing are words often misused; they have, however, different application. Font and type are (too)often misused as well.

Thanks for the replies- looks like I’m going to have to learn how to crease on the Windmill.

Dear forme,

You, on Sept. 1, on another thread:

“Take this enviro nonsense, and its inane buzzwords, elsewhere. This site is for those interested in the Black Art; not for those pushing personal/political/business agenda.”

I ask the same courtesy of you … “inane buzzwords” such as “tree-hugger” are tiresome. We come to this site to discuss printing; surely that can be accomplished without insults or political opining. Thanks.

And thanks for sharing your knowledge of printing.

I don’t think Forme was insulting. I find him very knowledgable. I personally love his replies.

You don’t need to learn to score on a Windmill! I score lettra on my C & P and it works fine. What you need to do is create a channel for the scoring rule to go into. How I did this was to take some thin brass rule and tape it to either side of the “middle” where the paper is scored. That way, when the scoring rule hits the paper There is a channel where the rule fits into on the back side of the paper (touching the tympan) This may sound confusing, but I actually learned about it on Briar Press. E-mail me and I’ll send you a photo of what I mean. Good luck! I was so happy to have figured this out- I think you will be too!

Were I pushing a personal/political/business agenda, Clothdog, you might well have a point. But I wasn’t - as anybody having a modicum of common sense would understand. However, you choose - for whatever reason(s) to see/take offence where none exists. Frankly, I really don’t care what you read into my postings nor that you take offense so easily. Should you truly want to read insult and/or political opining simply post another accusatory bleating.
And, you are welcome.

Hi, If you take a couple of two point rules and space them out so a thin piece of copper wire will fit in between tape the wire to the typen sheet and go to town the paper will fold just fine.

Have some cracking issues as well. Any assistance would be appreciated. I’m folding an A2 size greeting card.

- Crane Lettra 110#
- 2 pt. creasing rule
- The back of the matrix is yellow and is used for .016-.020” paper. This 110# paper is .020-.021”. Is this matrix incorrect for this paper?
- I have waxed the rule
- I have not yet dampened the paper
- I have a sheet of tympan under the matrix. i think i may needed to remove the tympan
- I am placing the card on the platen with the outside of the card facing up.
- After creasing, if I am looking at the card as it was placed on the platen, I fold the ends down and away from me.
- To hold the paper in place, I have gauge pins on each end of the card and a piece of card stock on the bottom that the card rests on.
- I am creasing in the direction of the grain.

Any help would be appreciated. This is pretty urgent as I need to finish this today.



with the matrix you should have no problem, unless it moved, or there is too much pressure. i have never waxed or dampened anything i’ve scored. what press are you using? advancing only as far as needed to get correct depth, this will make for inconsistent impression, try some scrap stock and close the press to where it should be and see what happens, good luck dick g.

Thanks, guys. Success! The missing ingredient was simply very slightly dampening the fold area. Moving forward, I’d like to find a solution that does not require dampening. I may try the 3 pt crease next time, thanks for the suggestion, Mike.

I’m in Colorado so it’s super dry here and I’m also in the garage (cold, but will get insulated and heated within a week or two).

Dick G, I was able to run this with full, continuous impression so everything worked out! Oh, I have a C&P 10x15 New Series.

There is great satisfaction working through these new challenges and producing a great product. I couldn’t do it without your help. Thanks.


On a windmill many times I use the die cutting plate that snaps over the platen and the matrix sticks to the plate. Not too long ago with the stock being 220 weight it was neccesary to put the matrix directly on the platen without any packing or plate. Didn’t care to do it that way but it did work.

I’ve sometimes wondered if somehow heating the scoring rule would solve this cracking problem, which I have also had with Lettra.


joshua, i have a 10x15 also there is another way to score using string, i tried it a couple of times, failed the first time but it worked great the next time. i locked up 2 scoring rules with 2 points between them, then put a piece of string between them, some double sided tape on each end of the string, close the press on impression the string sticks to the top sheet. the paper will be pushed by the string between the scoring rules. something to try when you are not pressed for time, it makes a great score. good luck dick g.


Yes, we used to use a “string score” before matrix came along. Usually we used 15 or 20 pound monofilament fishing line. We’d get an impression of the channel on the packing, from a form like that mentioned by dickg above. Knot the lower end of the monofilament and secure it to the tympan with tape. Stretch the line up in the channel, and secure it at the top with a piece of tape. Loop the end down again and put a second piece of tape on to keep it taut. Then a piece of masking tape applied carefully along the whole score to keep it in place during the run and perhaps a dusting of anti set-off powder for good measure. I think we generally used .912 rules in the form.

I suppose this method could still be useful for a Z-fold like Mike Conway mentioned, or for scoring both halves of a work-and-turn at once to get the respective scores on the “right” side of the stock, if there is a gutter between. I haven’t used a string score in years, tho…


Nice string techniques, guys. Great info, thank you. I’d like to continue to perfect the steel die approach, for now at least.

I did some more creasing last night (new batch of paper) and have occasional cracking issues. Slight dampening seems to really help but really slows down production (C&P 10x15). Recommendations above include trying a 3 pt. steel rule (with matrix) and reducing pressure. I will try that next.

I had the tympan sheet on the platen. I can remove that to lessen the pressure. How else would I reduce the pressure?

Crane Lettra Pearl White 110# (.020-.021)
2pt. scoring rule with matrix from NA Graphics
Creasing with grain

joshua, you can buy scoring rule in different heights, below .918, dick g.

Thanks, dickg. I’ll look into that too.

I’m having this cracking issue as well. Is there anyway to do it without a matrix? I have a smaller press, and no attachments. I wanted to fold just a few by hand. Thanks!

You may wish to try a Scor-It. Some of the greeting card printers I know that do small runs use them.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Kinda late on this topic but we have always scored using scoring matrix. Without leaves a whympy looking score and does tend to crack. With or against the grain doesnt matter you will never find a better score than on a letterpress.

put the paper in a nice 50-60% humidity room or container overnight. then score/crease. you do need channel. on a windmill, you can’t dampen every score if you want to produce a decent number of pieces. cotton folds better when it’s wet. this insight courtesy of Harold at Boxcar Press.

All of that said—Lettra is no longer the paper it used to be. It will not score without cracking in a production environment where you don’t have time or inclination to dampen sheets or any other common solution. This is the reason I don’t use Lettra anymore. It also used to have two distinct surfaces, the one which was for printing was soft and fluffy. The paper has gone downhill badly since Neenah bought Crane and messed up a perfectly fine cotton paper.