The Acanthus is Coming


Our printing plant is in the final stages of work on “Carving the Acanthus Leaf” by Mary May. And, as always, our books are a creative struggle to the end.

This week we’ve been working on the “diestamp,” the debossed image on the inside of the dust jacket. We take great pains with our diestamps because they will live on longer than our dustjackets. (If you want to see my favorite diestamp, check out the one for “Calvin Cobb – Radio Woodworker!” and see if you can figure out the Easter egg.)

Diestamps are old technology. And though many printing plants can produce amazing covers with holograms, laser cutouts and unusual leather finishes, getting a diestamp with fine detail is a struggle. Almost every time I send our diestamp to the nice people at our prepress service, I am sure they smack their collective foreheads.

Their response is usually: I don’t think we can hold that level of detail without the image blurring.

To their credit, they are willing to try different approaches. Lately, we’ve been using a stamp made from magnesium and some different foils to see if we can achieve the fine lines shown in the samples above. In this case, we found the correct combination of a magnesium die and a cream foil that gave us the effect we’re looking for.

With the diestamp complete, our job is over. It’s up to the printing plant to bring all the different parts – the book block, boards, endsheets, cover cloth and dustjacket – together to complete the book. We haven’t been told when the book will ship, but history suggests it will be in within the next three weeks.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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8 Responses to The Acanthus is Coming

  1. tpobrienjr says:

    Thank you for sharing the diestamp story.

  2. Michael Rodgers says:

    I have enjoyed every one of LAP books but, as a carver and a fan of Mary’s, I have been especially looking forward to this one. I know this has been a challenging project and am very grateful that you have hung in there with it. Thanks!

  3. Philip Cranford says:

    What is your decision to go with a magnesium die plate purely related to cost? Or was there some other benefit that weighed into your decision?

  4. marymay485 says:

    Oh this is just too exciting and I love how it turned out! Great job, Christopher, and thanks for the extra effort. Holding my breath until the book is in print. I’m turning a bit purple…close to the color of the book cover.

  5. Barney Krinsky says:

    Easter egg in die stamp? The clock shows 10-10, radio speak for transmission completed – standing by.

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