Custom die-cutting suggestions?

I have a C&P 10x15 Craftsman (with the auto-feeder having been taken off long before it crossed into my hands) and I’m wanting to have a cutting die made, with the intention to use it on the press.

First, does anyone have any suggestions for me about what to do to the press first, and what kind of pressboard I should use?

Second, does anyone have a suggestion for a good die maker? I’m looking at Apple ( Does anyone have a great referral for me?

Thanks so much!

1canoe2 letterpress

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you need to use a sheet of stainless steel instead of pressboard, about the same thickness so your die won’t cut your platten, start with a smaller die, the more you try to cut the more pressure you will need. hope this helps. dick g.

Dick g is correct. I used ss plates on both of my 12x18 C&P’s. What I did was get some .030-.040 plates same size as platen about 13x19.2 small holes drilled in plate about 1/2” up from bottom and 1/2” in from sides. Placed on platen then matching holes drilles and tapped for 8-32 screws. This allows easy access under plate for makeready. Easy to put on and take off. Or you can get a clip on die jacket from Bar-plate.
C&P’s can generate a lot of pressure.But best to start with less rule in die. Let your diemaker know what type of press you have as .918 cut is normally used with letterpress and most diecutting presses use .937 cut.

I highly recommend apple die.

Thanks, everyone.
Mike, do you have any suggestions about where to look for ss plates?

So can we cut more than one sheet at a time? We’re using 140 lb French paper cardstock.

I used a local machine shop but a sheet metal shop could probably help you out. If you are in or near a major city you should have no problem. I’m located in Canada north of Peterborough so probably too far to help more.
One sheet at a time is best for the look of finished product and the press.

I have a BAR PLATE die jacket for my Windmill, and it’s fantastic. They make them for C&Ps, too, but you could probably just tape on a sheet of stainless.

For dies, I exclusively use Key Dies in Annville, PA. I have ordered many dies from them, and their work is superb. The die boards are laser cut and very carefully manufactured. They are extremely fast with quotes, and deliver just as fast.

The even helped me with a very tricky project that pushed the edges of what’s possible with die cutting, allowing me to win a very good client.

Key Dies all the way!

I just purchased a Kluge and need a die cutting jacket any
help on where to get one would be appreciated. Sheets would be good as well as I have seen some jackets are very expensive. Key Dies is a very good supplier, I use them at another company, where they have a bobst. I am new at Letterpress and need some help getting going. I am strickly using the Kluge for Die Cutting. I am rebuilding the pump and have a question.
Is it recommended to use Kerosene, to lubricate the leather
plungers prior to sealing the pump. Also I was sent paper gaskets. When I disassembled the pump it looked as though there was a spray on gasket used. I kind of like the spray on idea rather than the thicker paper. Please advise

Beth - As Dick says - no pressboard - just use a proper steel jacket with sheet makeready (oiled, book and onionskin) beneath it. Also - don’t shy away from proper spotting and makeready. This is a craft. Don’t just pound against a steel plate and expect to do good diecutting with it for long.

PP - When you come over, I’ll show you the die cutting jacket on my 12x18 C&P - and how it mounts. They are easy to come by just about any die maker can supply you with one. I think I got mine from Atlas Steel Rule die about 30 years ago, but Bar Plate and other die makers probably have them too… Do proper makeready (don’t cut into the steel) and one could will last you for hundreds of thousands of impressions.

- Alan

The best compound for putting on pump or cushion drum leathers is Neatsfoot Oil. Petroleum oils will cause leather to rot. You should be able to find it an a good hardware store, or a store marketing to the farm and ranch crowd or to horsemen. A bottle will probably last forever for the amount you’ll need, but it’s the right stuff.

Hi Alan,
What is the die cutting jacket thickness you are using. I have a .937 die and have been using a poly plate, similar to
a miniature hand die cutter. I don’t know what the under cut is
to start with. I used a calliper to measure the distance between the base and platten surfaces, when on impression, then built up, until it cut.
I have read that some folks are just using a SS plate, which can be purchased from a sheet metal shop. Someone said they drilled into the platten and screwed the plate to the platten. My thought was to glue it on, so as not to damage the platten. Any thoughts ??

you might not to glue it to the platen because you may need to do makeready behind it. good luck dick g.


If you position the holes accordingly, you can put them in a place that would be out of the ‘normal’ usage area of the platen- most are slightly oversized to the ‘form’ that they are able to print, by at least 1/2 inch, and if you put the attachment holes in this area it won’t matter much at all, right? Just a thought.

I’m looking into purchasing a small die for cutting personal business cards. But the company I’m working with wants to know what size rule I need. Does anybody know what size rule I would need? I want to cut 110lb to 314lb cotton paper.


On what ?? Machine i mean.