Paper and Paper Size

I’m a bit overwhelmed at the paper options and paper size options out there. I’ve read a lot of posts and have a good grasp on paper stocks (Savoy, Lettra, etc.), but I’m having a hard time deciding what to buy, where to buy, and how to calculate the best price that will fit my needs. My paper cutter is 18x18, so I don’t mind getting larger sheets and cutting them down, but I don’t have the ability to cut down the larger 26x40 sheets. I saw some sizes in the 12x18 range (Savoy), so that may be the best for price per sheet over letter size. I would love to know what others think and how they approach buying and cutting paper to fit their needs.

Also, is it better to cut your sheets down to finished trim size before printing, or print on slightly larger sheets and then trim down after printing? I will be doing mostly photopolymer work so I’m leaning towards larger sheets in order to have room for gauge pins. Should I get my plates with crop marks? Any help here would be great as I’m having a hard time figuring out how to plan for enough room so I don’t mash my pins.

Thanks for your time!

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Some paper suppliers will cut down the sheets for you to a size that fits your cutter. You may investigate a larger cutter to save any cutting fees (may save you enough to pay for the larger cutter).

I generally print on paper already cut to finished size unless there is a bleed of color off the edge or I’m printing two-up.

See NA Graphics, Letterpress Things or Boxcar press for gauge pins which you can use for any size without smashing against the base. They are called Henry Compressible Gage Pins.

John Henry

I recently did the cost difference between larger sheets of lettra vs letter size. It is slightly less expensive to go with letter sized sheets ( from my supplier anyway ) Spicers Canada.

As for cutting down or printing size is, what type of press are you using? If you are using a proof press and rolling by hand but have a large bed it is probably to your advantage to print smaller things several up and then cut. If you are using a more automated press it is probably easier to use cut sheets.

Will depend on the size of the print, type of press etc. I have a 19 inch cutter and I rarely run into a problem. My supplier will cut down larger sizes and charge me a discounted rate to just cut them in half etc to fit my cutter ( $5 - $10 ).

Most suppliers will not cut down to really small sizes, like business card etc. If they do they will generally not do back cutting etc.

Thanks for the information everyone. I’ll check to see if some of the retailers can cut the large sheets in half for me. My cutter is 18x18, so anything that size or smaller would be great.

John Henry: I have used the Henry compressible pins, but I can’t get them to stick well to the tympan. I called Boxcar Press (where I ordered them) and they told me to wife the tympan area with rubbing alcohol to remove the oil residue. This still didn’t work and they didn’t adhere well at all. I ended up taping them down with masking tape but still didn’t work well. Any tips?