Use of Foundry Type in Hot Foil Stamping

BernardBNYC's picture

I have been doing some hot foil stamping on book covers and spines (bookcloth) and I would appreciate any comments or information on using foundry type in a hot foil stamping machine. While foundry type is a softer metal than that used in hot foil type I think that it would work for small runs, maybe 2 or 3 covers. I base this on the fact that foundry type, which I understand is lead, has a melting point above 600 F degrees while hot stamping requires 300 degrees F or less.

Joshua Langman's picture

I've never done this, so I can't say definitively that it won't work, but I wouldn't expect it to. It has to do with, among other things, how the metal conducts and holds heat. I doubt lead has the right properties. Also, precisely because it is softer than brass and has such a low melting point, I wouldn't try it. But feel free to do so and report …

PublishingMojo's picture

I suspect it's possible. Once I made dinner reservations at an upscale place that I hadn't gone to before. On the phone, it seemed odd that they asked me to repeat the spelling of my name. When we arrived the next evening and they seated us at our table, there was a shiny gold matchbook in the ashtray with my last name stamped in black foil on the cover. They wouldn't have had time to get a stamping die made (and the cost would have been prohibitive), so it seems likely they had a case of foundry type or Monotype, and were custom-stamping the matchbook covers directly from the type. (It's possible I asked the waiter about it, but as you can imagine from the fact that there was an ashtray on the table, this was a long time ago.)

BernardBNYC's picture

I came across some good information from David S. Rose of Five Roses Press on the topic of Type for Hot Stamping and Foiling. His write-up provides a great overview of the 'types' of type. I thought it very well done. Well, I will be trying the foundry type and have some confidence that it will work. I will be cautious as I do not want to deal with the health issues of melting lead. I will post the outcome. I am hoping for a nicely stamped bookcloth cover and not a toxic paperweight.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I was excited to see your post! I had been wondering exactly the same thing and did some research as well, last year.

Two important variables to note, besides those mentioned on the page you linked:

1) The required heat for hot foil stamping varies greatly depending on the material being stamped on. I have a saved PDF guideline doc somewhere.

2) Hot foil stamping machines vary dramatically in how accurately/well they maintain an exact temperature. My Kingsley machine has a temperature gauge, but basically you manually twiddle a dial that may or may not result in any particular temperature, so holding a specific temperature is a bit of an art.

My conclusions have been that I could do the stamping I want to do (foundry ATF type on book cloth or leather) with my machine, but there is a noticeable, albeit not hug,e risk of damaging the type. This is a bit perturbing to me as the font I want to stamp with is nearly irreplaceable. :(

hrant's picture

Hmmm, what temperature can a PPL handle?


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