Packing: What I have, What I need

My Current Packing. Is that an original Vandercook Mylar-Coated Underblanket?

Hi All!
On to my next newbie question. This is a photo of the current cylinder packing on my SP15, which has a standard .040 undercut. There are four layers:

1. Hanger : A red something that appears to be fabric coated with rubber.
2. Mylar or acetate.
3. Tympan paper.
4. Drawsheet – Tympan paper.

I’m not sure how old this setup is, but one impression on the drawsheet advertises 20-gallon plastic trashcans with domed lid for $1.40, so I am guessing it was a long time ago. The original packing list that came with the press included a Mylar Underblanket. Part number specified is X-25797, though my parts list tells me that is a Mylar Coated Underblanket for a Model 3, 4, 4T, or 215 rather than an SP15. So, I’m guessing this red blanket and transparent layer are indeed the Mylar-Coated Underblanket. But that (supposedly .018) plus the two layers of tympan, only gets me to .030, which seems pretty light, no?

I need to figure out what a newbie like me should use for packing from the git-go.

Reading Paul’s book, plus “The Gourmet Vandercook” suggests that a lot of folks are using a mylar drawsheet. I’d be interested in hearing your perspective on the pros and cons of mylar, as well as whether I should stick with the old Vandercook blanket as the hanger.


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Gerald Lange
11 years ago


This is horrid. You need a fairly hard but resilient packing.

Best is PolyPak (Mylar) on top, Kimlon underneath that, DrumHead or similar against the cylinder. Riegal Presspak in various thicknesses can be used on top of the Drumhead to increase to the necessary packing. All of these are pre-measured. I would also recommend a sheet of Riegal taped tightly to the Mylar to prevent burnishing to your printed paper. All these sheets should be used with the correct grain direction to prevent slippage:


Lad Boyle
11 years ago

You should get in touch with Fritz Klinke at NA Graphics – 970 387 0212. He can walk u throught what you need and sell it to you if you want to buy from him. He has drawsheets, etc already cut to fit your press.

I bought a mylar drawsheet that I really like. You can clean your mistakes.

Ray Nichols
11 years ago

Run a series of tests WITHOUT ink.

. . .

Assuming that the cylinder has the 0.040″ undercut you need to consider what thickness paper you are using and how much impression you want. There is an exercise I do when I’m doing a Lead Graffiti Vandercook workshop.

You need a good micrometer. The one I use is a digital one from Woodcraft that I got for about $35.

For a kiss impression the general rule is that you need packing + paper to equal 0.043. That means that you are impressing the paper to a depth of 0.003″ (i.e. 0.043″ – 0.040″)

We use 7 mill mylar as the tympan – 0.007
We also use a layer of Kimlon – 0.021

Then if your paper is say 0.007 that makes the total packing between the cylinder to be 0.035″ (0.007″ + 0.021″ + 0.007″)

At that point you need 0.008″ to get the total to 0.043″

The yellow tympan paper is 0.006″ and tissue paper (get a tablet from A.C. Moore or an art store) which is 0.002.

That brings the total to EXACTLY 0.043″.

. . .

Try that and see what your IMPRESSION looks like. You SHOULD BARELY see an impression. If the bed of your Vandercook has been worn down a bit you might need an additional layer of tissue.

You should take a variety of different papers you figure you will be using and run a series of tests showing the results of the various thicknesses of packing have with that paper.

I hope that made sense.

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