Learning about letterpress and laser cutting

Would be so much fun to attend! I see you are doing your wood plates by cutting the print areas rather than engraving away the background. Interesting to see that this is how the Pros do it!

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I made the decision in the workshop, which just six hours long including an introductory section that was a couple of hours of talking and questions, to just cut, because engraving would take too long relative to results on press. And it was completely amazing to see the kind of fine detail we could cut out of 1/8th inch plywood with the 3M 468MP backing applied and then attach to a block and print!

I’d prepared both 3/4rd MDF 6-inch and 12-inch squares, and also some pieces of wood planed to 0.793 (because .793 + .125 = .918, or “type high”—the right height for inking and printing in letterpress).

Engraving has a very useful place, but the time-to-doing-something ratio is very very high. I’d spent two hours a week before engraving some type that we printed (about an 10 by 4 inch piece) to show fine detail.

All other the work in the previous post was cut during class with a couple of minor exceptions (I pre-cut the H that we printed in three colors).


Interesting details. And I’m glad to know the name of that adhesive you use–I need to get some of that.

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I learned of it through this forum! I also think the 3M adhesive on the back of the Proofgrade veneer is the 468MP? It’s a 3M product, too.


This is just superduper great and thanks for charging the details of building the printing blocks. This is definitely going on the list of things to try.

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Wowsers. That turned out way better than my inking attempts!!

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All about even pressure! I feel like my conclusion on a year of letterpress is that it’s about super fine tolerances (sometimes as small as .0005) and super tight control over pressure interactions.


Not sure of the precisely correct spot to post this, but I’ll be conducting a two-hour workshop on letterpress and laser cutter with live demos and discussion of how to get set up on press to use laser-cut elements! It via the auspices of the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle and is on June 13 from noon to 2 pm.


Oh, boy. I’m in.