We had a project requiring a deep hit. We used a 3 x 5 12 pt stock and got a deep hit like we wanted, looked like a debose. We almost bottomed out against the die which I seldom do. In fact I got a hit deeper than I have ever tried before. I had tried the same thing with a 8.5 x 5.5 sheet but could not get the same result. We are wondering if the smaller sheet image area allowed us to concentrate the full force of the windmill on a small area allowing the deep hit. I have assumed that a bigger sheet in effect create more resistance and thus more of a possible limitation of total hit. I am looking for any feedback to confrim we are nuts and again overthinking this.

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The size of the paper would make no difference, but the size of the image definitely does.

With the larger sheet we did have more images. I did not state that well at all. We had put a deeper than normal hit on a larger sheet with a small amount of text or image area. We looked at the images as points of contact. We wondered as the point of contacts spread out and more and more are added to the sheet, do we limit the absolute stock compression ability. We viewed it like a table with six legs, each of the legs( Images) limit how much the other legs can compress the sheet since they are all fighting to do the same thing and each is adding some resistance the the action of the other. Does the smaller amount of text and image (about the size of a quarter) make it easier to get a deep hit on a 3 x 5 sheet. The other option is a 6 x 9 sheet with 6 quarter size image areas.

Being mechanical contraptions, any letterpress machinery will have a specific amount of leverage i.e. pressure in pounds per square inch available. True for hand presses and big commercial machines. So if you double the image i.e. actual printing area, then you halve the available pressure on that image. I do understand that ‘deep hit’ is popular in the US but it would have got you the sack in the UK’s trade days, because of the damage it does to the printing surface, type, block, or whatever. The phrase used was ‘printing for the blind’ … Controllable with very hard underpacking and a sheet of blotting paper on top. .

This makes me wince. Can’t be good for the press.

As Harrildplaten already said, when my teacher would see something with too much ‘bite’, his comment would be: Are you working for the blind now?’ Deep impression is indeed popular in the USA and nowadays also in Europe, but it’s not how letterpress was meant to be. I was looking at some brochures printed by Nebiolo in Italy to promote Eurostile and there is hardly any sign of the type hitting the paper. Touch and kiss it was, even in the larger flat colours. When people ask me to print ‘deep letterpress’, I might use a polymer plate, but never my metal or wood type!

Good luck Western. Check Facebook “Deep Impression Printers & Designers” This is a page for heavy hitters. Many on Briar are still doing fine traditional letterpress work great and noble hobby but sadly not a viable business model these days.

Deep impression letterpress is probably more common in Europe than may be expected. Here is a shop in the south of France ( that works internationally with designers like Kevin Cantrell in Salt Lake City who does some spectacular design work:

Thank you all for the feedback. There are a few ( very few) things we know we are sure of and a number of items we guess at.

Harrild thanks for the comment. I had always wondered if a there was a relationship of pounds per sq inch or not and could only speculate.

Dont worry guys, I use what brains I have left and what hearing still remains to let the press tell me if I am pressing to hard. I wont hurt my equipment to create a job. In this case we took a lighter sheet and beat the crap out of it and the customer loved. Normally we would have used a heavier stock but in this case we wanted as much back brusing as we could get.