Monday, December 21, 2009

Packing for Poco Press

Thanks Preston for setting this blog.
Hopefully it could be a single source of info
for Poco Press fans.

Currently I'm trying to restore and learn to
use a Poco Press #0. I was wondering how much
packing is used for a Poco?

I tried looking for answers online, but without luck.




  1. It depends. My Poco is adjustable (see but I'm not sure they all are. Since mine had been disassembled, I was forced to adjust it, but I guess I wouldn't adjust yours if it isn't necessary.

    Anyway, the amount of packing depends on how it's adjusted. I had to use what seemed like a lot, about 0.12" total, split between the cylinder and the tympan. See

    I think the upshot is that you'll have to experiment. Furthermore, it'll vary slightly depending on the paper you're trying to print on and the impression you're trying to achieve.

  2. I use a Poco #1 and I do not think that it is adjustable. I use five sheets of .015" pressboard plus .007" of Mylar on the cylinder. I use 2 pieces of presspoard for a tympan and a .048" galley plate on the bed. this creates a very firm contact with a type high engraving block. This setup may be too much pressure when using type. I hope to test it out soon.

  3. It's good to start with too little and build up. Could start with a form locked in place with a sheet of paper and just pile on the packing (piece at a time) until you get an impression on the paper. Then figure out a convenient amount to transfer to the cylinder.

    I guess a convenient amount would be most of it, leaving out a bit for the tympan.

  4. Thanks Preston and Neil.

    Like Neil's, my Poco #0 is not adjustable, and so the distance between the cylinder and the bed is fixed. The reason I asked about the packing is because I thought the Pocos had a fixed cylinder undercut depth. I was hoping some number (cylinder undercut value) would be etched somewhere on the bed or on the side of the bed, but could not find any number (other than the serial number) on my poco.

    I shall experiment using Neil's suggestion (0.015 x 5, plus 0.007) and some extra sheets/pressboard.

  5. You ought to be able to measure it. It's a little awkward, but I can imagine various schemes and I expect you can dream up others. Depends on the tools you have handy.

    A nice way to start is with a 1" chunk of steel (or something). Then add layers of 0.01" mylar 'til it won't fit under the cylinder anymore. I'd cut long pieces (say 6" long) and add them one at a time, testing the fit by pulling on them. If one pulls out, it's too loose.

    Maybe better than a piece of steel would be a something type high - an old ornament or some such.

    Or course, just experimenting based on Neil's suggestion will work too.

  6. Hi group!
    I wondered about this as well. when you put packing it is the full size of the cylinder (minus the gap area) or do you place it only where the form will print. I only have smaller size press board material... I ended up putting yupo as the cover with packing under it. yupo is a waterproof material sold in art stores. So far it's working well.

  7. I should introduce myself as this seems like a smallish group right now. I post at Briar Press as portraitpainter. I have a Poco #0 which has been totally stripped of any paint so it has it's own sort of look. I put some notes on Briar Press as I was solving the mystery of Poco. Also some info and pictures of a hinge registration device I worked out instead of tympan and frisket.

  8. Hi Lynn,
    I made my packing cover the full cylinder (12 x 18). I used 0.01" mylar for the packing and "tympan paper" from NA Graphics to cover it all.

    I don't think the tympan paper was necessary. Neil uses mylar. In the the picture of Phillip Gallo's press, it looks to me like he's using mylar too.

    I don't know from yupo, but will check it out.


  9. Thanks Preston - what I meant by cylinder undercut depth is the thickness of depression on the the cylinder where the tympan paper wraps around.

    On some of the Vandercooks this number can be found inscribed on the edge of the cylinder.

    I was hoping the same would be true for a Poco and that it was only my Poco that was missing this etched number. I guess its trial and error :)