I'm working with a customer to order a die for the first time.  I will be printing business cards on Lettra.  I'm working with Owosso graphics & I don't know what gauge will be best for me to get a good impression on Lettra, on my Pilot Press.  Can any one advise me?  I can pick from:

16 gauge

11 point 

1/4"

I'm a self-taught hobby printer so I need the advice of the experts!

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For a business card, the 16 gauge will be fine. I'm guessing you'll have it mounted on wood. The other two are normally used with base. The 11 point is normally used by a printer who has honeycomb base. The extra thickness is needed so that the non-printing edges can be beveled so that the hooks will hold it to the base, and so the printing area will be higher than the hooks. But you don't need the extra thickness. They also sell the 11 point mounted on metal. This is for hot stamping. The 1/4" is for hot stamping and book covers. Putting a 1/4" plate in a Pilot would be like driving a semi to the grocery store for a dozen eggs. If you get it mounted on wood, be aware that the standards for mounting wood have slipped over the years. If the wood under your cut is made from two different pieces glued together, there is a good chance one piece of wood will be a little different in height from the other. You're probably going deep drive on the Lettra, so even if there was a height difference, it wouldn't affect your impression. But if you got a 5x8" cut and tried to print it on copier paper, there would be a good chance it would have low spots due to different heights of the wood. The way to fix it is to glue paper to the bottom of the wood to raise the low spots (this is called "underlay"). Again, this is highly unlikely to be a problem with your business card.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and thorough response, complete with so many tips for me!  I'm all set to move forward with the project.  I am not able to plug in to a printing community so I appreciate this site as a source for answers!   Most of my learning comes from experimenting on my own.  I appreciate your time.

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