Thickness of Phenolic Resin bed-plate to my etching press

Hi all,

I am going to order a phenol resin bed-plate for my etching press which has a 10.6 inches(270mm) wide roller.

The etching press used to have a 4mm thick, 500mm x 270mm steal bed plate.

My question is what thickness of phenol resin bed-plate I should get.

I have 8mm or 10mm thickness of a phenol resin bed-plate in my mind without any technical knowledge of a bed-plate.

Before I make a decision, I thought I should ask people here what thickness I should go for.

My projects will be relief printing (photopolymer, wood and lino). Also I want to try intaglio as I have never done it.

If you know about thickness of a bed-plate or you are using a phenol resin bed-plate, please give me your thoughts.


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I recommend the thicker of the two (10mm), especially if you plan to do some intaglio work. Relief printing requires much less pressure than, say, a line etching. I have a press that has a phenolic bed (roller 450 mm wide, bed 13mm thick) that has been used for lino and wood cut, type high work, intaglio, and monotypes. There is no distortion or warping on the bed, after more than twenty years of frequent use.


Hey, cute Bumpodo! I have one of these.

I recommend 3/8” thick, 6061 aircraft Aluminum instead of phenolic. It won’t bow or bend as easily as the phenolic over time and it is not like this will be terribly heavy. That’s what I have on mine.

Hi Jim

Thank you for your advice. I will consider 10mm.
By reading your list of various printmaking, I am excited to get a bed plate.


I have just searched 6061 aircraft Aluminum. The price is little bit cheaper than phenolic.

My press came with a metal bed plate which I gave it away as it was badly bent. As I recall, the metal plate had no rust. I wonder if that bed was 6061 aircraft Aluminum. The thickness of it was only 4mm though..

I will think about 6061 aircraft Aluminum as well.

I have heard/read about aluminum as a bed plate: all very positive. Some people, regardless of bed plate material, like to flip the bed over periodically, to reverse any possible warping or bowing. Oh, while I prefer to use a litho press, one can easily print the polyester lithographic plates on a cylinder press!


S.F. Excited about a bed plate is good, but make haste slowly!!
Possibly check out >ZYNTEC< the successor to old fashioned hot dip Galvanised Steel Plate.

Here in the U.K. we have used nothing but, for a long long time, (as Bed Plates) … . **** Guillotined to your precise measurements in 2 minutes flat, available in a wide range of thickness,s can ALWAYS be un-derlayed with Acrylic Sheet, or Film negative for fine tuning (height to print) between different image materials.

YES of course eventually everything tends to warp, but as has been implied, above, regular *flipping* helps.

****If all else fails,? and you have an Auto repair shop in the Area (and NO sheet metal suppliers) visit the Local Auto repair shop, plead Poverty, Insanity, or Sheer Dedication, (letterpress devotees can usually squeeze into one of these??) ask to be escorted to the *Off Cut store* Take a Caliper vernier, a Micrometer, or even, 1 Point, 2 point, or 3 point printers lead material, as yardsticks, the *Panel Bashers* will know exactly where you are coming from.

Good luck, Mick


Galv.plate , flipping and Auto repair shop.
I will keep that in mind.

S. F. Thank you for the *Nod* Galvanized plate would and has worked well, but Zyntec is the best modern eqivalent.

It (Zyntec) because it is chemically plated tends to be overall accurate, especially when used on, such as your press, with presumably a “comparatively” soft and “forgiving” impression roller.

One more little Gimmick that has been employed very successfully on Big Common presses, i.e. Clymer & Dixon, Columbian Eagle, Stanhope, etc, and for small *Intaglio* units.

Follows thus:-Redundant, surplus to further requirements, LITHO machine blankets, they are Rubber Faced, Canvas backed, IMPRESSION blankets,?? and even when they have withstood 50-100,000 impressions, (on Litho akin to the requirements from Your press) as in comparatively gentle pressure.!!!

In larger Print Houses running Litho Machines from Single Colour up to 10 Colour perfectors, the blankets are changed not because they have reached *End of Life* but just to keep 100% pristine impression appearance.

Is it possible that you have *litho* House not too far away,??

With a sweet smile and possibly a little bribery, Acquire a Litho Blanket and Better Yet,
A Litho plate, best quality Aluminium sheet, highly accurate, as underlay including under the bed plate,?

Perhaps check out Your own Stateside company,s spiel,
>>Aloa, out of Bettendorf, Iowa<<

Just for amusement and info, look up the clip/video of HEIDELBERG Speedmaster, 12 Colour Perfector running, try to envisage the Mountain of Litho Blankets and Litho Plates looking for a good home.
“Enter Stage Right,!” worthy cause looking for freebies. (maybe)

Good Luck Mick.

Thank all of you for sharing your knowledge.

I finally purchased a 10mm thick Phenolic Resin bed-plate and another bed plate 4mm thick for my mini press.

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