NA Graphics
Vandercook Tympan
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Tympan / Press Packing

Pressboard Note-- We received a large mill order of Pressboard in 2021. After we received it, we were notified by the mill that a new minimum order of 40,000 pounds would be required. We probably won't live long enough to sell that much Pressboard, so we'll see how the paper company fares with their new policy.

Tympan notes: We currently have all tympan in stock.

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT RUBBER BLANKETS: The special .030" thick blanket material we have been stocking is no longer available. This was one of our few imported items and the distributor has withdrawn from the U.S. market. We are trying to find a suitable replacement. Regular offset blankets which are readily available are too thick, typically .065", to work on presses with cylinder undercuts like Vandercooks that are .040". 

We carry a wide selection of tympan and press packing, including genuine red pressboard, Paratex compressible packing, and mylar topsheets. We also carry genuine Vandercook top sheets, die-cut and scored for your specific model--see the Vandercook Tympan section. Need a custom sheet size? Give us a call!

Press sizes are determined by measuring the inside dimension of the chase. Thus, a 10x15 C&P, also called a "platen" press, has an actual chase measurement of 10x15, and the "platen" measures 11 1/8 x 18 1/18. Please use the chase dimension only when ordering tympan for your "platen" press.

Press packing can also be ordered in bulk packs in these sheet sizes (all in inches): 15x21, 20x26.5, 24x30, 25x38, and 32x42. In these sizes (1/1000"), .002, .003, .004, .006, and .007, the standard package is 100 sheets. In the .008, .009, .010, .011, .012, .015, and .016 sizes, the standard packing is 50 sheets per carton. We do not stock all these sizes as can be seen in our catalog listings, but it is available. This paper is packed in handy "Easy-Dispenser" stock cartons that can be used to store the paper once in your shop. These are drop shipped direct from the manufacturer and are special order items. Call us or leave remarks on the order blank if ordering on-line.

The question frequently arises as to "what is all this stuff used for?" Our suggestion is to read, and then read again, and make sure you're reading the basic letterpress books, like Polk's Practice of Printing, Cleeton's General Printing, and Mills' Platen Press Operation. Mills taught letterpress press work at Carnegie Tech, Cleeton was the dean of the School of Printing Management at Carnegie Tech, and Polk was a life-long graphic arts teacher in the Detroit public schools.

A special note about all rubber blankets listed in this section. We are out of product but we are currently trying to find a new source of the blanket material that will work for our uses in letterpress. The problem is finding a product in the .025" to .030" range for thickness that we can obtain in rolls or sheets and so far the search is not promising. What we had been offering was an imported product, but that company closed their U.S. distribution facility. Note that regular offset blankets are in the .065" and thicker range and will not work on the typical proof press cylinders that in the case of Vandercooks have a cylinder undercut of only .040". Even Miehle Verticals have a cylinder undercut of only .050". The cylinder undercut determines the amount of top sheet plus packing that brings the cylinder to type high for printing.

Briefly, rubber top blankets will absorb excessive abuse from inaccurate forms. Rubber under blankets serve the same purpose. Rubber blankets are often used in teaching situations so that students don't waste too much time on the details of makeready, and of course, proper makeready is the sign of good printing. Vandercook offered 2 basic thicknesses--.032" for presses with a .040 cylinder undercut, and traditional offset blankets at .065 for cylinder undercuts of .070".

Treated Tympan is made in diecut sizes for all standard Vandercook, C&P, Kluge, and Heidelberg presses, both Platens and Cylinders. It is made with the highest degree of uniformity, and without either hard or soft spots and is .006" thick.

Mylar top sheets (or tympan) serve to give sharp, clear impressions and is part of the typical "hard" packing method. It requires the use of good type or plates, and in all type forms, where old and new type, or wood type, is used, then a softer top sheet in the rubber type will work better. When ordering Mylar, specify what Vandercook press it is for and we cut it to size using original Vandercook templates. One price per sheet for any size Mylar, cut to a specific Vandercook press or as a rectangle. Maximum size on this single pricing is 25" x 41".

Kimlon, a compressible press packing, has been discontinued by its maker, Kimberly Clark. As a replacement sheet, we now offer Paratex. It is described as having compressibility and rebound, is a high strength sheet, has precise thickness control of +/- .001%, resists moisture, solvents and press chemistries, compresses and rebounds millions of times. We offer it in two basic sizes. It is easy to cut to meet your specific press requirements.

What to use? Hard packing and hard tympan is usually preferred for most letterpress applications. Soft packing leads to type and plate wear, will not give sharp impressions, and will leave an embossed impression in the tympan and packing of whatever was being printed. Deep impression is also best achieved when the paper fibers are compressed rather than punched through the back of the sheet and the use of soft packing to achieve this is usually a mistake. The packing paper we sell is accurately made for the specific purpose of press packing, and is available in several thicknesses, and provides the essential foundation for proper printing. Don't do more than your press is capable of doing, and most table top presses are not suited for deep impression work. The key is to experiment and see what works best.

Tympan paper made in the United States is currently manufactured by the Sunshine Paper Company in Denver, Colorado. Sunshine purchased the Cromwell Paper Co. of Chicago in 1986 and acquired the Riegal line of tympan from the James River Paper Co. when that company shut down some years back. The current tympan and packing papers made by Sunshine are a mix of the Cromwell and Riegal specifications. Some of the Sunshine paper line is sold exclusively by certain distributors, like Day International. Why is Sunshine in Denver, certainly not a major graphic arts center like Chicago? The owners preferred living in Colorado--the same reason we're not in Cincinnati where NA Graphics started.

Roll tympan and certain sizes of the press packing are special order. Rolls take from one to three weeks for Sunshine to ship, and press packing is about one week. Our cut sizes of press pack (TP488 and TP488a) are stock items here at NA Graphics.

"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, 0.002 inch thick, 25 sheets"
TP504a Quantity
"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, 0.002, 0.005, 0.008, 0.012 and 0.016 inch thick, 25 sheets each"
We can make up assortments containing 10 sheets of each size for $36.50--see item TP488a.
"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, 0.005 inch thick, 25 sheets"
TP505 Quantity
"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, 0.008 inch thick, 25 sheets"
TP508 Quantity
"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, 0.012 inch thick, 25 sheets"
TP512 Quantity
"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, 0.016 inch thick, 25 sheets"
TP516 Quantity
"Non-slip Hard Packing, 25x38, 0.002 inch thick, 100 sheets"
Pre-packed, drop ship direct from manufacturer, in cartons of 100 sheets.
"Non-slip Hard Packing, 25x38, 0.005 inch thick, 100 sheets"
Pre-packed, drop ship direct from manufacturer, 100 sheet cartons.
"Non-slip Hard Packing, 25x38, 0.008 inch thick, 50 sheets"
Pre-packed, ship direct fro manufacturer, 50 sheet carton.
"Non-slip Hard Packing, 25x38, 0.012 inch thick, 50 sheets"
Pre-packed, shipped direct from manufacturer. 50 sheet cartons.
"Non-slip Hard Packing, 25x38, 0.016 inch thick, 50 sheets"
Pre-packed, ship direct from manufacturer, 50 sheet cartons.
"Oiled Tympan for 10x15 Heidelberg Windmill, die cut and scored, 100 sheets"
This sheet is die cut and scored to fit the 10x15 Heidelberg Platen.
"Oiled Tympan for 10x15 (C&P, Kluge) Platen, 100 sheets"
Can be used for either the 10x15 C&P or 10x15 Kluge.
"Oiled Tympan for 12x18 C&P or Kluge, 100 sheets"
TP490 Quantity
"Oiled Tympan for 13x18 Heidelberg Windmill, die cut and scored, 100 sheets"
TP494 Quantity
"Oiled Tympan for 8x12 Platen, die cut and scored, 100 sheets"
TP482 Quantity
"Oiled Tympan for Heidelberg Cylinder KS, KSZ and KSL, 15x20 1/2, die cut and scored, 100 sheets "
Top sheet 20 1/2" x 27"
"Oiled Tympan for Heidelberg Cylinder KSBA, 18x23, die cut and scored, 100 sheets"
Top sheet size 23" x 30 1/2"
"Oiled Tympan for Miehle Vertical, 20x22, die cut and scored, 100 sheets"
TP491 Quantity
"Oiled Tympan, 15 inches wide, 700 foot roll"
TP485 Quantity
"Oiled Tympan, 18 inches wide, 700 foot roll"
TP486 Quantity
"Oiled Tympan, 20 inches wide, 700 foot roll"
TP487 Quantity
"Oiled Tympan, 36 inches wide, 700 foot roll"
TP497 Quantity
"Red Pressboard, 12x18, .020 inch thick, 10 sheets"
Pressboard is the traditional product used for packing. It is typically placed as the base sheet on both platens and cylinder presses. It is a dense, hard finish paper product with an accurate caliper across the sheet. It adds substantially to "hard" packing that results in cleaner, sharper impressions. This paper product dates from the 19th century and remains unchanged over the years. It is also used for report covers and other commercial stationery items. Genuine Pressboard was a Neenah Paper Co. product but as of the end of 2018 the mill that made it was sold and Pressboard became a custom product available only as a mill run. Thus as the last of our stock ran out in May of 2019, we were quite surprised by this turn of events. We have placed a new order and have been put on a 5 week waiting list, then there is the freight delivery time. Neenah had planned to close operations and discontinue all the product line and tear down the mill. We have a reprise from fate for the time being.
"Red Pressboard, 24x18, 0.020 inch thick, 6 sheets"
PD15 Quantity
"Red Pressboard, 24x36, 0.020 inch thick, 5 sheets"
PD10 Quantity
"Tympan for 3x5 Kelsey, 100 sheets"
TP35 Quantity
"Tympan for 5x8 Kelsey, 100 sheets"
TP58 Quantity
"Tympan for 6 1/2x10 Kelsey, Pilot and Others, 100 sheets"
TP610 Quantity
"Hangersheets for Miehle Vertical, 14x20, 100 sheets"
TP492 Quantity
"Hangersheets for Miehle Vertical, 14x20, 500 sheets"
TP492-5 Quantity
"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, 0.002, 0.005, 0.008, 0.012 and 0.016 inch thick, 10 sheets each"
TP488a Quantity
"Oiled Tympan for 10x15 Heidelberg Windmill, die cut and scored, 500 sheets"
TP484a Quantity
"Mylar, .007, cut to size"
Mylar cut to fit any Vandercook press up to a maximum sheet size of 19" x 41" using Vandercook cutting templates. Please specify press model when ordering. Mylar can also be ordered for square or rectangular shapes up to the 19" x 41" maximum for the same price per piece cut. Please specifiy size required. See part number MY007a for larger sizes of Mylar over 19" wide.
"Mylar, .007", sizes over 19" wide"
For Mylar sizes up to 25" wide x up to 41" long. Cut to size for Vandercook presses same as the description for MY007 included in cost of Mylar. Please specify model of Vandercook. We do not have specifications for presses other than Vandercook.
"Oiled Tympan for Miehle Vertical, 20x22, die cut and scored. 500 sheets"
Note that the 20" dimension is across the cylinder and the 22" dimension includes the tail that wraps around the tympan take up reel.
"Paratex, Compressible Blanket, 15"x22" "
Paratex is a compressible press packing material that is designed to replace the now discontinued Kimlon. We stock the 2 basic sizes that fit most Vandercooks, other sizes are available on special order. Paratex is used as an underpacking meaning that a top sheet, either Mylar or tympan paper has to be used as well, and other packing to bring everything up to type high. Packing plus the top sheet should approximate the cylinder undercut, which on most Vandercooks is .040".
"Paratex, Compressible Press Packing, .020", 18x26"
PA18x26 Quantity
"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, .016, 10 sheets"
TP-516-1 Quantity
"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, .012, 10 sheets"
TP510-1 Quantity
"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, .008, 10 sheets"
TP508-1 Quantity
"Non-slip Hard Packing, sheet size 12x18, .005, 10 sheets"
TP505-1 Quantity