packing (platen & tympan)

Thanks for all your advice in advance…
My C&P press (I won’t bore you with how I acquired it) has been cleaned an oiled as advised. It runs like a charm.
I have practiced setting type in the chase with good results. I have practiced setting a photopolymer plate on a Boxcar base and fitted to chase with good results..I am still a tad bit confused about “packing”. I have a general idea (gathered from books) about what to do, but would appreciate your wisdom and knowledge.
What material is placed first on the platen?
What is the easiest/simplest way of adjusting the packing?
Is there a size or type of paper that is best suited for packing?
Must the top sheet be “tympan paper”?
Thanks for all your help. This website has been a valuable tool for those of us wanitng to advance with his craft/art.

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If you have composed the type in the chase, OK. That is a hard way to do it. Type should be composed in a composing stick and then locked up in the chase with furniture.

We assume the platen on the press was set/leveled at the factory. One should not have to mess with the platen screws (bolts) in the field for normal printing. The adjustment is made with the packing and further makeready if needed.

Larger forms require greater packing. Smaller forms less. You should start with about .050” packing. You probably do not have a way to measure this. Go with a sheet of press board and two sheets of copy paper. The old real press board was a hard finish mahogany color sheet. A good substitute is a piece from a green or blue binder/report cover from the stationery store. You want the hard finish and not a manila folder. You try this amount of basic packing and go up or down from there. Normally the press board is the top piece under the tympan sheet. Other sheets are placed under this. This is to preserve the desired hard tympan. If you are going to do smash printing and want to put some punch in the paper, then you want a soft tympan if you want the impression to come out the back of the printed paper.

Makeready is an additional amount which may need to be placed only under part of the form to make it print correctly.

It is nice to have the old hard finished oil finish tympan paper. Butcher paper is a satisfactory substitute.

Get some ink on your shirt

In addition to *Inky`s* excellent resume above, one little extra gimmick,! Oiled Manilla/Tympan Paper as top sheet can have the added advantage, that the first Pull can be taken straight on to the Tympan Sheet for fairly accurate guide to the Lay Pin(s) positioning.! … . . See through or tracing paper.

Lays positioned with see through, tympan wiped down with spirit and french chalk etc.

Apologies for potentially out of date rubbish, one or two New Ones may benefit. maybe not.


I learned to print first on the tympan sheet to set the pins. We used talcum powder after the solvent. Care must be used in removing the powder or chalk else it will get down in the press and onto the rollers.
Now I tape a piece of copy paper to the tympan sheet with tape at two corners, make the impression and draw lines to set the gage pins. Then off with the copy paper.





Inky Thank you for the *Nod* . . But are you trying to provoke a discussion about “Step & Repeat”
My usual excuse is that, Me Cat walks over the keyboard,!!.

I can do it on the Monotype Caster by putting an endless loop over the Paper tower, to drive the 31 channel tape, at least until the sprocket holes wear out, Good for Bonus, way back allegedly.??? Best. . Mick