Henry Compressible Guides - can they be improved?

I’m thinking about fabricating something like a Henry compressible guide for my own use (to keep costs down). I think it will be easy enough to bodge something together but I wondered if anyone had thoughts on how it could be improved, if at all?

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I have used thick 3M double sided tape. However it is not as easy to reposition once you place it.

For my students I use the self adhesive CD buttons. The little round foam hubs you can stick inside a brochure to hold a CD. These are in the Uline catalog. Cut them in half with a razor blade and you have 2 flat sides. I started using these after an accident, wood type and the guide.

I am having problems visualizing what you are talking about.
You idea seems neat.
Do you have the catalog #?


I would be interested in hearing from anyone regarding improvements which could be made to the Little foam guides I produce.

I have used special foam with removable adhesive on the side toward the mounting surface and permanent on the side toward the overlapping polycarbonate.

I think some appreciate the consistency and convenience of having the gage pins readily available from various distributors.

I also am interested in hearing to what other uses people put these in their shops. For instance I have found them very useful when applied to my table-top paper cutter when I want to cut repeated angles when making a few custom-sized envelopes.

Some have wondered why “Gage” and not “Gauge”? My father was an instrument repairman for a major manufacturer, and used “gauge” when there was a dial or direct reading on the item, and was used for measurement. He used “gage” when the item was in indicator of position or size without a readable measurement, like a “go-nogo-gage”. I decided to apply this to the pins I produced as they are a indicator of position, but are not used measure anything. Maybe it makes sense, maybe not. In looking up the word in a few dictionaries, “Gage” is listed as an archaic spelling of “gauge”, and if anything, I’m archaic!

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

craftpress, you can buy 12 pins from NA Graphics for $10
that’s less than a buck a pin. You must have a really tight budget. best james

Uline 5/8 foam CD hub S-9999 $45.00/m

Register Pins Gage Pads etc etc = Sorted up and running here U.K. quite a long time ago.!!!
Source foam pads from a dozen and one suppliers.
3/32” thick, oblong, 3/4” x 1/2” waxed paper either side to protect the adhesive until required, tinted acrylic sheet for the tounges (colour usually denotes thickness) i.e. thinner to accept flimsy stock with pronounced point OR thicker and stubby for heavier stock, less pronounced arrow head/point, or Vice Versa.

Acrylic points either die-cut en-masse or individually cut with exacto knife etc. (it aint rocket science)

NOT copy righted!! but it was not exactly an *Eureeka* moment to make individual Pads/Gage Pins, for SIDE LAY one off, and mount a pair of Pads, As HEAD LAY on a Common acrylic backbone.

We have gone to the extent of taking a pair of Surgeon,s tweezers, normally with points but by silver soldering 2 tiny spade,s onto the tips to grip the Acrylic backbone, to give perfect optical positioning for the head lay.!!

Probably equates to maybe 7 or 8 Cents ($ 0.08) each, per Pad.?

Henry, I will take you up on your question.

I have used them quite a lot for classes. The problem is that they don’t stick well after being peeled up and re-positioned a couple of times. After a while I peel off the adhesive and apply double stick tape. The disadvantage is that the foam starts to peel off too. I have also used double thick (1/8”) double stick to build up the height. It seems that if you print several 100 pieces, the foam gets softer and the paper starts to work its way under the plastic.
Long Day Press

1. a harder foam? 2. a tape that holds its adhesive quality after being peeled and re-positioned.

James - i’m in the UK so have to cover cost of shipping from USA so it works out a little more than i’d like (plus im always looking for ways to cut operating costs!)

i get through quite a few of these for the same reasons as mentioned above, a. they loose tackiness, b. they loose springiness, would be interesting to know if there is another foam variant that keeps its shape for longer?

I wonder if you think the attached guide would be an improvement? Allows to see stock sitting properly against the foam?

Good points, all.

While I don’t use them myself, the little foam guides that John makes look they would work great if one takes the time to position them correctly on the tympan. I like the fact that they can be trimmed to size with scissors to clear the type.

I don’t know how well they stick after being peeled up a few times….. but that could be easily fixed with Super 77 spray glue or even rubber cement, just like a few of us still do when making our own guides from quads / card stock / bits of wood and so forth.


Thanks for the feedback. I use the pins myself, and have experienced the eventual non-stick problem, but don’t see that happen until several uses. I’m sure the adhesive picks up paper fibers and dust that is on the surface each time they are used, and eventually lose the tackiness. I did think about using a non-removable adhesive, but found that too aggressive when applied to some materials, and they could not be repositioned without tearing the top sheet of the packing.

I’ve not experienced the foam breaking down, but will see what options there may be for other compressible materials.

Thanks again for your comments.

John Henry

.045” Rubber Blanket material for offset plates,
with the double-stick flexographic/polymer plate adhesive on both sides,
.007 mylar for the ‘fence’ stuck to the rubber side, and that side should face the form.
Cloth side with the adhesive applied to it sticks on the platen ready to re-use over and over.
When the adhesive dies, you just peel it off and trim a new piece.

I often just cut a piece of the same stock I’m printing with, though, and apply this doublestick adhesive to both sides of it, make a mylar ‘fence’, and there you go.

Bonus tip: Pick up some sheets of mylar sticker paper in the same size as your platen. Mount your top sheet, and carefully laminate a sheet of the mylar sticker paper to the top sheet. Account for this added thickness when calibrating/setting packing/pressure, and you will notice that you can re-position a lot of the sticky-back style guides over and over.

Additionally, this also allows you to wipe the platen off with a little rubbing alcohol if you happen to print to it or mis-feed or something. Very handy.