Hi Ladies,So many many of you use the trusted photopolymer plates for printing. When I started blackbird 6 years ago, I was just pretty old school, using hand carved blocks and hand set movable type. As I grew and more and more people wanted a deeper impression or a typeface I didn’t have, I started ordering magnesium or copper plates. I used photopolymer in graduate school but never for client work.What are the pros and cons of photopolymer to you?What do you use, the magnetic base or regular base (I have a C&P OS)? boxcar press is the best?Any other advice is greatly appreciated.Thanks!Kathrynblackbirdletterpress@gmail.comblackbirdletterpress.com
I use photopolymer when I have a lot of text and not enough of a typeface, or when I’m printing handwriting or other languages. I also use it for line drawings (haven’t ventured into the fearsome world of dot screens yet!). I use the filmbacked plate, not metal backed, and I adhere them to a custom-made aluminium backing plate with spray adhesive, which works really well. Sometimes if I’m using one regularly I’ll mount it onto wood to match type-high, to mix in with metal type.They last for ages if treated well. I highly recommend you store them somewhere dry, because if they come into dramatic contact with water they will melt. But that’s in case of floods etc.They are relatively easy to produce (I make mine myself), and they seem to cope with the pressures of embossing well. Having never used metal plates extensively, I can’t offer a comparison; maybe someone else can.I hope that helps!
NOOOOOO!!!!! Your work is perfect the way it is…….keep it old school, just buy more type! ( skyline type foundry) we made a pledge to NEVER use photopolymer, for us that takes the fun out of letterpress. One of the attractions of it was to get AWAY from the computer. Nothing wrong or right about it, there is absolutely beautiful letterpress work out there that is done with photopolymer…….just not right for the look and feel we want to achieve. Traditional all the way!!!
Hey Kathryn,I guess it’s also depends on where you see your business going . . . Photopolymer is quick, easy, and now recyclable, and, though it pains me to say it as well, its results can be indistinguishable from lead (a printer I knew occasionally substituted a plate for type with type-only customer). If you wanted to use photopolymer, you could maybe increase your margin as well as your turnaround. I have both lead and photopolymer in my shop, and still consider myself all letterpress, all the time–the two can peacefully co-exist. 🙂