Cutting Lettra paper

Hi there,

I am just starting out and planning to print some lettra A2 cards - I’m wondering what the benefits/differences are to cutting the paper to size before printing VS trimming to size after printing. Does it matter? The obvious to me would be that you can ensure the paper stays clean by trimming after and it would be important if the artwork is bleeding to trim after print but are there any other reasons I’m overlooking?

I don’t yet own a cutter so a local print shop is going to help me out but I just don’t want to cut a stack of lettra parent sheets incorrectly.

Note: I’ll be using polymer plates (no crop marks and no bleed).

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If you are able to keep the edges clean as it runs through the press, that would be a great way to do it. Trimming requires clamping, and, even in small stacks, still compresses the paper and the impression a bit.

If you have another printer cut the sheets down, warn them that Lettra is all-cotton paper. I’ve tried to cut it on a local printer’s electric guillotine and, no matter how hard or soft I clamped it, it still pulled the sheets and cut unevenly. It’s not an easy paper to trim.

As you note, if you want a bleed, you must trim after printing.
Unless you are printing two or more up, there is no advantage to cutting after printing. Cut once to finished size and be done with it.
Get some ink on your shirt.

Great, thanks jonsel and inky. Will do!

@inky, there are plenty of advantages to cutting after printing, especially if you’re prone to getting ink on your shirt.

On a cylinder press, I’d typically want to cut last. Lettra can be quite rigid (especially the 220) and can drag against the type causing slurring and flap against the back roller. Vandercooks have star wheels and margin guides to help with this, but few people seem to keep them in good order. If the sheet is longer, it is easier to control it by hand.

On a hand-fed platen press, cards cut to size can be okay as long as your gauge pins can be set so that they don’t hit your plate base. This often means working off a corner of the base.