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Stamping on Converted Envelopes

Q: Can Bindagraphics do a decent job of foil stamping on converted envelopes?

A: A "decent job"? The problem is, of course, that different parts of the converted envelopes are different thicknesses, so stamping on converted envelopes must be approached with caution. But, as long as we start by recognizing that conditions aren't ideal, Bindagraphics will do a "decent job" within the following constraints:

Try to design the envelope so stamping takes place over an area where thickness does not vary.

If you can't avoid it, there will definitely be some noticeable variation in the thickness of the foil image-no matter how careful we are. If the quality demands of the particular envelope make this unacceptable, consider rethinking the job to stamp before the envelope is converted.

Your guide and gripper should be at the bottom right corner of the envelope (when holding the envelope right reading) or, second best, the bottom left corner. Don't use the top of the envelope for guide and gripper; this way it may be possible to open the envelopes to avoid stamping over an area of varying thickness.

Make sure all the envelopes come from a single converter and were all cut with the same die, or the make-ready that was right at the beginning of the job may not be right when you get into a segment of the run from a different coverter or die.

Finally, when we're stamping on converted envelopes we want to use copper dies. The unevenness of converted envelopes can be a real problem for any softer metal. This will make the job cost a little more but the results with anything but copper dies are unlikely to be acceptable

Stamping, Embossing & Die-Cutting Supervisor

Envelope Imposition

Q: Speaking of envelopes, can Bindagraphics help us lay out sheets to get the maximum number of envelopes on them? Sometimes we print envelopes that will come to Bindagraphics for post-press work before going to an envelope converter; we run 28 x 34 and 17 x 22 sheets.

A: Here are two layouts, courtesy of Williamhouse Envelope Institute:

Note that in the first layout-eight #10 envelopes on a 28 x 34 sheet-envelopes marked (A) will parallel to the paper's grain while those marked (b) will be cross-grain. (Vice versa if the grain direction of the paper is reversed.) In the second layout-five #6-3/4 envelopes on a 17 x 22 sheet-all five envelopes are diagonal grain.

The following chart from Williamhouse shows how many envelopes of three common sizes can be printed on various press-sheet sizes:



Cutting & Stitching Supervisor

Laser Dies?


Q: At a trade show recently I heard two bindery guys talking about "laser die cutting." I didn't want to appear ignorant, so I acted like I knew what they were talking about, but the truth is I didn't have a clue. Does Bindagraphics use laser dies?

A: No. No.
We're giving you two answers because we don't want to appear ignorant, either, but we don't know which of two possible subjects those two experts were talking about.

They might have been referring to using a computer-controlled laser beam to cut the plywood base of a conventional steel-rule die. This technique is used in some die-making shops when, for example, a 10-up die is called for, because the laser's tremendous precision (tolerance +/- .003") will "step and repeat" ten identical pieces. It costs more to make a 1-up die this way, but there may be savings in making multiple-unit dies.

On the other hand, those two "bindery guys" may have been talking about a completely different subject that really has nothing to do with die cutting traditionally understood in the graphic arts business. A California company called Lasercraft has developed a "laser-cutting" process that uses a laser beam to cut incredibly complex patterns in paper, and they market the service as a design enhancement for all kinds of printed materials.

Lasercraft starts with black-and-white artwork of the piece to be enhanced. A metal template is then made with holes where the laser should do its cutting. The printed piece then goes through a sheet-fed press to which the laser machine is harnessed, and the laser beam passes through the holes in the template, "vaporizing" the exposed areas of paper.

Given the extremely fine tolerances of the laser (lines approximately as narrow as one point), amazingly intricate designs can be cut with this method; Lasercraft's samples include snowflakes, lace patterns, "engraved-look" certificate borders, etc. For more information on Lasercraft's process, call them at 800-358-8296.

Stamping, Embossing & Die-Cutting Supervisor

Book Packaging/Mailing

Q: I'm preparing a book that will be mailed to about 4,500 addresses. What are my wrapping/packaging options, and what's the most economical choice?

A: Here are seven methods, which can qualify for any class of mail, in ascending order of cost:

  • Bare back-no packaging; address (by inkjet or label) on the book itself.

  • Kraft sleeve (automatic).

  • Polybag.

  • Insert into regular envelope.

  • Insert into padded envelope.

  • Package in "iron cross" mailer.

  • Package in "bumper end" mailer

Estimating Manager

Bidding the Same Job Twice

Q: What's your policy at Bindagraphics when two different printers bidding for a certain job both ask you to quote on the bindery end of the job?  I have reason to suspect that some binderies would favor certain printers over others in this kind of situation?

A: Bindagraphics is an independent company. Unlike some binderies, we're not owned by a printing company. So unlike some of our competitors, we don't have any built-in conflict of interest when situations like this arise, and one of the bidding printers happens to be the bindery's owner. We've even heard of cases where a bindery informed its parent printing company of a job to bid on that the bindery learned of through a customer's request for quote. Our policy is that we play it absolutely straight. If two or more printers give us the same specs in their requests for quote, we give them the same price. No favorites.

Sales & Service Manager

Scoring Sheetwise


Q: A bindery I've used before won't quote on scoring unless I specify whether the job will be printed sheetwise or work & turn/tumble. Does Bindagraphics have the same policy? Why or why not?

A: Yes. Scoring makes a sheet fold easily when folded away from the score. If you print a job work & turn or work & tumble, we either have to run it through scoring twice-which should cost you more-or the score will be in the wrong direction for folding on half the job.

Stamping, Embossing & Die-Cutting Supervisor

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