Our Standard letterpress bases are precisely engineered from cast aluminum, ground to perfection, then anodized with a grid for easy registration, providing a stable, easy to use foundation for letterpress printing. The Boxcar Base system is the standard printing system in the letterpress community, used by thousands of letterpress shops, fine presses, and universities around the world. Printers who use our bases receive life-long printing help and technical support from us too—just email or call when you’re on press or whenever you encounter a problem.
We offer two base options: the Deep Relief or Standard. We recommend the Standard Boxcar Base for printers who have Vandercooks, Windmills, or Heidelberg Cylinders (these letterpresses have easily adjustable roller height to avoid inking the base and plate backing). The Standard Base is also ideal for experienced printers who have platen presses with roller and ink disk systems (C&P, pearls, etc.)—you’ll just need to make sure your inking rollers are set perfectly with the help of a roller gauge. If you’re a new printer with a platen letterpress other than the Windmill (C&P’s, pearls, etc.), we recommend you go with the Deep Relief base.
- Our gridding is spaced by 1” squares broken down further to ¼”. We chose the smoothness of anodizing over engraving. Since our polymer plates are transparent, registration is easy with the grid showing through the plates.
- The anodized surface of our bases will hold a plastic backed polymer plate securely but release it cleanly and easily when you need to make adjustments or printing is done.
- All our Standard bases are inspected to be within .001” of the .875” thickness (flatter than some type beds). With the addition of the 94FL or KF95 or 94CHFB plate plus the adhesive backing, you’ll reach .918” type high.
- Why use the Standard Base instead of a Deep Relief base if you can? The Standard Base’s thinner polymer plates hold a slightly finer detail. They’re also less expensive and slightly harder, offering a crisper impression. Over here at Boxcar Press, we use the Standard Boxcar Base (with the KF95 polymer plates) on all the presses in our shop. We recommend you use the Standard Boxcar Base if your press, your roller adjustment skills, and your printing experience allow it.
- We manufacture bases in a lot of sizes for a lot of presses. But if you need a special size, we can custom cut your base down from a larger size. The cut edges won’t be anodized but this doesn’t affect the base’s performance. There is no charge for the cutting–just give us an extra week to get it done.
- You can read more about how our bases work.