Tympan Paper Alternative?

When I bought my Golding Pearl Improved, it came with a bunch of tympan paper… which i think is 8.5X11 and fits my platen perfectly. Well, I am running out and I have looked on NA Graphics and can’t find the size I need. So I have 2 questions… is there an alternative to traditional tympan paper AND if not, any hints on where to find it?


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I’m on a Pearl too and I use that awful-looking Stardream cover stock. I was sent a huge sample stack by my distributor and didn’t know what to do with it — then realized that the combination of the paper’s relativel hardness and slick surface was perfect.

Tympan paper used to come in a big roll like butcher paper and a letterpress shop had the roll mounted on a gadget just like the old butcher shop had. You tore off a sheet the length you needed. If you had an old fashioned letterpress shop in town, you could ask them to sell you some.
Butcher paper will work. Just find where the butcher gets it and you can buy a whole roll. Alternately, be nice to your butcher and then ask him to sell you a few yards.

You can also use those generic manilla file folders, which cut down easily and seem to be the right weight and rigidity.

If you call NA graphics and tell them what you need, they’ll take care of you either with a stock item or they can cut something to size.

You can use ordinary bond paper as a Tympan sheet. Clamp it on one edge, damp it slightly and then clamp it tight. It will dry back really tight and there you have it. I used this for over 20 years on my Heidelberg 15x10

Anyone can help me with a supplier for tympan sheet for a Heidelberg 18 x 22 1/2 cylinder press anywhere in the east coast of US?

moontree - thanks for the suggestion of manila folders. they work (for me) better than actual tympan. and cheaper!

I must be lucky because my employer who used to letterpress had a roll of tympan paper & was going to throw it away. I threw it away all the way to my shop.(wink)
The part time job I had for a few weeks, windmill/kluge, was cleaning out & threw out 2 rolls of tympan. I got that also. I’ll never need to buy tympan ever.

For those of us who don’t have the Tympan Paper Gods looking out for us like Bob (wink), there’s American Printing & Equipment:


I only mention it because they have oodles of sizes for oodles of presses.

Shine: If you still need, they’re on the East Coast.

Personally, I’m curious about the butcher paper. For about $40, it looks like I can buy a 1000-foot roll AND a cutter/dispenser.

Hope that helps!

I use Rising Stonehenge - same as I use for marbling. I can recycle the truly awful sheets that way. Is Dave Churchman in Indianapolis still around? He might have some.


Why cant you just use normal line ruled paper? or printer paper/ copier paper?

Interested to read your comments on Oiled Manilla Paper, I went to the american web site suggested and got quite a shock at the price of a roll about £800 UK sterling. (Having given away a 48” X 100’ roll several years ago! Now starting up again with an Albion in the near future I wish I had kept it).
Put in a search for Oiled Manilla Paper and came up with a lot of hits-
Winsor & Newton supply Thick Oiled Manilla Paper used for stencils!! a 30 X 20 inch sheet is £3.75 from Fred Aldous at
37 Lever Street, Manchester, M1 1LW. So if you dont need vast quantities try your local art shop or online art materials supplier look under stencilling or similar.
What a brilliant site, in my top letterpress favourites folder now.
Regards, Roger