Bakelite holiday card embosser - paired plates

I just bought a pair of paper embossing plates and would like to learn more about these.. How are they used? Paper types?

Anything you might have to offer would be very welcome.


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They look like moulds for making rubber stamps.

die and counter die in your terms . Embossing is the purpose from the look of them . Would be used for most materials up to 250 GSM ,theres a knack for mounting them up to the machine hard work for a beginner but patience will be a benefit . Heavier boards may require using only the female and making up a counter with fibrous material , hand fed or parallel approach press would be a good advantage .
They look huge , not suitable for any small tabletop as the weight needed for this work far exceeds the ability of most hobby machines and this pair are not light work .

These are a mated pair of the male and female dies for embossing used in the greeting card industry. I have a few, and have had good results with them using a standard built-up or molded male counter die on my platen press.

The process for use is easy, but detailed.

The following describes more or less how I would approach the set-up of these dies, but not having them in hand, I may be off-base with some of it. I’ve never used a bakelite counter die, so if some of this doesn’t make sense as you hold the dies in your hands, feel free to ask more questions and perhaps others on the list will have better answers.

The female must be mounted on a base, and the male mounted to the platen, but you must make certain there is enough clearance for the two to mate as the press closes. You should put the two together and measure the combined thickness. Then add the thickness of the paper you are going to emboss (any paper will do pretty well, but you want it thin enough so that it can be properly acted on by both the male and female. Think light cardstock or smooth cover stock. then subtract that thickness from .918+the normal packing you use. That should put you right on at the thickness for the base to use. If you can’t find exactly that thickness of base, choose the next thinner and build it up between the base and the bed of the press.

Put a layer of removable pressure-sensitive adhesive on the back of the counter die. You will want to align the two plates carefully and with a spot of grease or a little removable two-sided tape to hold them together, close the press and when you open the platen, the dies and counterdie should be properly aligned.

This should then be usable for the embossing work.

This is probably not the right place to cover all the various points to be considered in setting up for embossing. There are quite a few little details to consider, and I have never really put my hands on good printed instructions that cover the whole subject of embossing. Some textbooks on the finishing process and bindery work cover embossing, but they are limited to some basic information. If someone else out there has some good instructional material, please make an effort to post it somewhere and give us a link if it is no longer under copyright.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

I used to stick the die and counter to gether with chewing gum blobs to get the marriage correct and aligned to one another properly .

Chewing gum???? Thats brilliant, i have learned many tricks from you, really appreciate your posts.

Chewing gum???? Thats brilliant, i have learned many tricks from you, really appreciate your posts.

WOw - you guys are AWESOME!

I had lost my password and it took me a while to get back onto this site..

THANK YOU, THANK YOU! The directions are very helpful, and I’m looking forward to trying this.