Congratulations on your foil boss and thermo base! Not many people can say they made an old one work and make a heated base too. What press did you hook this up to?
I respectively disagree that foil is "gaudy and cheap looking". Can you letterpress print matte white and get the same opaque coverage in one pass on colored paper? How about metallic inks...do you really think ink vs foil will give the same pizzazz? Gold or silver ink will not be as shiny and bright as foil. With foil you have NO dry time or worry about set-off and having to slip sheet the job.
Please look at this website: http://www.fsea.com/index.shtml
And especially this post: http://www.fsea.com/newsarticle.asp?item=WhitePaperRequest#.VhMVvfl...
Don't forget foil is recyclable. Many studies have been done. Here is another link: http://www.fsea.com/article.asp?ID=106#.VhMYLvlViko