Positioning Paper on the Platen

Bob Richardson's Platen Grid
Bob Richardson’s Platen Grid

Bob Richardson’s approach to trouble-free positioning of stock on your platen

Following on from recent postings about lining up items on the platen of a press [on the LETPRESS discussion list], I thought I’d share my solution. For the last 15 years or so I have used a sheet of animation acetate as a top sheet on the platen of my Adana press. It’s obtainable from art stores, or you can use a sheet of mylar which is more expensive.

Beneath the top sheet is a simple grid, printed ‘landscape’ on my computer. The grid has letters along the top and numbers down the left and right sides. This provides a foolproof guide to whether the item is straight on the platen and also allows me to gauge how far left or right (or up and down) I need to reposition the item when I’m lining up. The acetate means I can take a pull on the top sheet and position the card/paper, then wipe off the print with a rag moistened with white spirit. This avoids any set-off on the back of the items when the print run begins. It’s very easy to do and quick to replace.