Hand-printed books of poetry,
Plus tips and supplies for fellow letterpress printers.

The Nipping Press Mystery

Nipping (Copying) Press

Did you know that Google can tell you what people were searching for when they found your site? Most of the search terms that trigger this site are what you'd expect; the books and sundries in our online shop. So why were people coming here expecting to find out about nipping presses? For a while, our website ranked in Google.co.uk's top five results for ‘Nipping Press’ and we're still about number 15.

There was only one mention, an a page about how we make our books. But it seems there is so little information online about these presses that once was enough. We can't stop these stray Googlers from being deposited on our (from their point of view) unhelpful page without deleting the words from the website altogether. So we decided to embrace them instead and create this little page all about, you guessed it, nipping presses!

What is a Nipping Press?

A nipping press is usually used by book binders. It firmly presses down all the pages so that the book stays closed and can be trimmed neatly around the edges. Most use a very simple corkscrew method to generate pressure. Turn the handle and a flat metal plate (platen) is lowered down towards another, flattening anything in between.

True bookbinders nipping presses usually have four pillars to produce firm and evenly distributed pressure. One kind of copying press, which is often mistaken for a nipping press, has a similar screw mechanism but only two pillars (see image above). Copying presses were originally designed to duplicate documents but they became popular with artists for small-scale print-making and are often sold specifically for this purpose. Confusingly, this kind of copying press is sometimes used as a nipping press.

Where Can I Buy a Nipping Press?

Finecut, Russels or Contrast Graphic Supplies

Can You Print with a Nipping Press?

You could try using a real nipping press as a rudimentary printing press but we wouldn't recommend it. Copying presses are usually ok for lino-cuts but the pressure is often hard to control and type is very likely to be damaged.

Where Can I Buy a Copying Press?

Aha! We thought that might be what you were really looking for. They're popular in art colleges because of their simplicity and compactness. Lawrence's sell both wooden and metal copying-style presses for relief printing.

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