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Comic books can be pressed and dry cleaned for an improved condition. What is comic book pressing? How to Press Comic Books using an industrial heatpress machine. This is a free DIY FAQ instructional beginner's guide to teach how to press comics yourself at home.

 

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Comic Book Pressing


 

WELCOME
Save money by pressing your own comic books with a T-Shirt Heat Press Machine. Most supplies can be purchased directly on Amazon or eBay to save time, money, and shipping costs. I started a personal journey trying to learn the tips and tricks of pressing comic books. I wanted to learn techniques without showing any evidence of pressing or damaging a book. There have been some bumps along the way through some trial and error. This is still a guide for beginners and the basis for a way to get started. It is very humbling but you will damage some books along the way. Start small with some cheap dollar bin comic books or reader copies. I have provided links for easy re-ordering, and for clarification on materials required in this free visual FAQ guide.

 

WHAT IS COMIC BOOK PRESSING?
Comic book pressing is the process of flattening out a comic book that has been wrinkled or damaged. Comics can get bent during shipping or have creaselines from heavy reading. Good news: Comic Books can be pressed using a t-shirt heatpress machine, a book press, a stack of short boxes, or anything heavy and flat. The idea is simple: to smooth out the waves and bumps on the cover of a comic book. This makes the overall grade and eye appeal of the book increase considerably. Comic book pressing is not restoration, more like comic book conservation. The difference can sometimes mean thousands of dollars when discussing high dollar key comic books.

 

REGIONAL CLIMATE FACTORS
Results may vary, depending on region and climate. I live in a Northwest state of the United States, so it is very humid here with lots of rain and moisture from the evergreen trees. It is also a coastal port city as well, so that adds to the climate, temperature, and elevation. If you live in the desert, you might want to increase the humidity time and use less heat at a lower temperature, for example. This is why you will see different varying opinions on the Internet for pressing books. Climate, regional, and other environmental factors weigh in on the success of pressing books where you reside. In the same vein, do not press books in your attic or garage. Dust, dirt, and humidity can also harm your books and create pebbling or divots.

This guide may seem out of order, but there are some steps and things you should know FIRST before beginning to press a book for the first time. Each book requires a different approach.

This guide will require countless hours of patience, practice and time.

Click on any photo to zoom to full size and see all its glory before you.
Updated on 8/12/2018 at 11:07 AM PST




SHOPPING LIST
You will need the following:

  1. A Digital controlled T-Shirt Heat Press Machine. I have used two versions:
    1. Clamshell digital heat press machine
    2. Swivel mount Tivor digital heatpress machine
    I prefer the 15×15 clamshell press for better control and built in alarm. Because it’s 15×15 it has a larger surface area for a better press. Both are available for a very affordable price on ebay. They can go for $100-$200 typically. The Tivor swivel unit requires regular adjusting of the bolts because they come loose over constant use.
  2. Patience and time for all the countless hours you will put into learning this technique.
  3. Box of 100 pairs of powder free latex gloves. Bookmark that reorder button page, too!
  4. Silicone Release Paper (SRP) ULINE has boxes of 1000 sheets cut to size for $85 shipped SAME DAY. (recommended)
  5. Conair Clothing steam humidifier gun or you can make your own Hydration Humidity Chamber (Optional, Advanced)
  6. Dental tools, specifically a dental pick and scraper.
  7. Absorene Book Cleaner putty 15 oz tub should be reordered over time and throw away each piece after each use. Cannot be reused to be effective.
  8. Absorene Dirt Eraser Pad should be reordered over time and thrown away after it has become too dirty to be effective. Cannot be cleaned.
  9. Mr Clean Magic Erasers, no scent or fragrance-free. Cut your own 1″ cubes to size. Throw away after 1 use. Cannot be reused.
  10. Lots of non glossy cardboard comic book backer boards of various sizes and thickness.
  11. 21″ box fan that uses 3 settings: Hi, Med, Lo.
  12. Golden Age sized Mylite2+Fullbacks for transporting/handling/cleaning/flipping/spinning books
  13. UV Black Light inspection flashlight for detecting color touch or amateur restoration
  14. 1 gallon of distilled water. Not spring water, not bottled water, not tap water. Distilled water only.
  15. Phone or tablet for photos of your process
  16. Lotion free Kleenex tissues, a dust cloth, or a can of compressed air to blow away dust shavings while cleaning and prepping
  17. Hangar 9 Sealing Tack Iron for dimples, divots, and stubborn spine dents (Optional, Advanced)
  18. 4 ft x 5 ft work space area at minimum for your press and supplies in a climate controlled room. Do not press comics in your attic or garage.
  19. Ball bearings, a single 1.5″ diameter silver chrome ball bearing (the silver ball, not the roller inserts) for rolling across surface after using a tack iron on: divots, indents, blunted spines, and deep indentations on covers. (Optional, Advanced)
  20. Magazine Sized backer boards for use between your SRP paper and the book being pressed. (Required, Important). I seriously do recommend buying 9"x12" steel plates 1/8" thick instead. They are a major component to this working successfully once you have mastered the basics. (Optional, Advanced)
  21. White polymer pencil eraser caps. (Do not get the pink ones.)
  22. Flathead screwdriver (staples, positioning, pushing down flat)
  23. Putty or paint knife (staples, positioning, pushing down flat)


PREPARE THE SURFACE OF YOUR HEAT PRESS MACHINE PLATE FIRST!
To prep, once you have your brand new heat presss machine, you will need to use gloves and sandpaper to completely smooth over the surface of the top plate to remove machine scores, burrs, scratches or other imperfections in the steel and paint coating. I use 120 grit and 180 grit sandpaper with a block of wood. If there are deep scratches or burrs close your eyes and glide your fingertips across the surface. If you can feel the indents and scratches, you will need to keep sanding until you no longer feel surface bumps, use another plate, or replace the unit entirely. This is an important step. The plate can and will transfer any imperfections to your book covers. Let's begin:

 

DOES THIS BOOK NEED TO BE PRESSED?
The first question you should ask is: Does this book need to be pressed? Signs the book would benefit from a press or dry cleaning:

  1. Non-breaking color creases
  2. Light bends on front cover or back cover
  3. Bunched spine
  4. Spine roll
  5. Folded comics
  6. Wrinkled front and back covers
  7. Production line spine bends
  8. Preparation for a comic book convention for a signing
  9. Using a third party presser prior to using a grading service for a signature series yellow label
  10. Dirt, oils, light staining
  11. Valuable
  12. Rarity

 


DEFECTS AND WRITING
Dry cleaning and heat-pressing comic books improves the overall look and feel of a book. It is not divine intervention. Things pressing will not fix:

  1. Miswraps
  2. Staining
  3. Foxing
  4. Rust
  5. Ink, ballpoint pen, crayon, marker, Sharpie pen
  6. Missing pages, pieces, tears
  7. Staple placement
  8. Rounded corners
  9. Edgewear
  10. Deep indentations that travel through then entire book on every page
  11. Crease lines with missing ink (color breaks)

 

DIGITAL CODES and INSERTS (ADVANCED)
New Marvel Comics modern age comic books have digital code inserts in the last 4th page of every interior book. Some books also have Tattooz inserts or other items, such as Image #0 coupons and Mark Jeweler's Inserts. These books require a different and careful approach. You need to make certain the digital code does not press or imprint a 1" square onto the back cover and adjoining interior pages.

 

PRACTICE ON 6 TYPES OF BOOKS
You will need to practice first on 6 basic types of comic books to learn the process slowly. Practice on your own books first. Practice treating each book as if it were priceless.

  1. Golden Age Books are brittle, require steam or humidity, and require extra care when handling.
  2. Silver Age Books can also be quite brittle, and have edgewear like crazy. Watch for rusty staples.
  3. Bronze Age Books have a different type of paper, semigloss and with inserts.
  4. Modern Age Books with Glossy Magazine Paper books can have pages stick together if too hot! Under 150F and under 5-7 minutes at a time. (5 minutes on each side) The pages will stick together otherwise and you will create a razor blade comic book. It is not necessary to place one sheet of Silicone Release Paper (SRP) between each page of the entire book before pressing to avoid pages sticking together so long as you do not go any higher than 150 degrees.
  5. Foil books (Convention exclusives) are more intimidating if anything. Watch your fingerprints! Always wear gloves. Same rules apply as if it were a glossy modern with glossy pages. Too hot and too long will ruin the book! Keep a backer board at the centerfold for foil books.
  6. Modern Marvel books have digital code inserts found at the last 4 pages. You will need to use copy paper sheets, or a magazine backer board to prevent the 1″ square digital code from imprinting on last 4-5 pages and back cover.


There are more to practice on, but this is a great head start for the learning process. Different books require different angles of approach. Practice how you handle a comic book as well. Always wear gloves. Always lift and remove comics from their bag/board by pulling the entire comic and board from the bag. Always use a second bag/board to flip books over so they are supported.

 

PRESSURE SETTINGS ON PRESS MACHINE
Use the adjustment screw and washer to adjust for pressure sensitivity against thickness of book. It takes time and practice to master this through experience. For the swivel Tivor model of heat press machine, you will need to watch that top long bolt at the very back top side of unit the adjustment knob resides on. Over time the entire shaft or bolt itself becomes loose. It is necessary to finger tighten the bolt when consistently using the swivel action back and forth between presses.

 

MAKING THE INITIAL PRESS
Make sure when the hot metal plate is going down on the book that it clamps down with firm yet little resistance. You are not wanting to press the handle down so hard that it takes great feats of human strength to clamp down on the comic book. If you are doing this, then you are creating razor blade spines to shave with. Do not create razor blade spines. This also can cause staples to push through front cover or spine. This is known as “staple popping”. This can also cause the staples to appear sunken into the book as well. Use caution and self control when pressing the plate down on the book being pressed. This is crucial to a successful press. The goal here is to press with the mindset of a grading company looking at your book. Smoothness and glossiness. Deep folds and color breaking crease lines cannot be fixed. Press so that is is not evident you pressed the book.

 

TEMPERATURE SETTINGS
Paper burns at 451 degrees fahrenheit. Most comic books can be safely pressed at 170 degrees but not any higher. Glossy comic books with glossy paper will melt and stick pages together if using temperatures higher than 160. I typically press most comics at 155 degrees. Brand new modern age comic books, foil edition covention exclusive books, glossy paper comic books, magazines, and books with inserts should be at a lower temperature, at 140-150 degrees but left in the press a lot longer to compensate for the lower temperature. I have success with 150 degrees for just 5 minutes on each side for glossy moderns, without making all the pages stick together.

 

RECOMMENDED TEMPERATURE DURATIONS

Determine what age the book is. Then determine what type of cover and paperstock the interior pages are made from. I would not press a book under high heat for longer than 15 minutes per session. Too much heat can cause flaring and damage a book. If your press machine does not have a built in digital timer, you should get one or set your phone timer. The following chart displays recommended times and temperatures per book, per side, per flip:

Age
Year
Cover
Interior
Fahrenheit
Minutes
Flip
             
Modern
2010-Present
Glossy
Glossy
150
7
Yes
             
Modern
2000-2011
Glossy
Flat
155
6
Yes
             
Modern
1996-2000
Semi-gloss
Flat
160
5
Yes
             
Modern
2015-Present
Foil
Glossy
150
5
Yes
             
Dark
1986-1996
Glossy
Flat
150
8
Yes
             
Bronze
1970-1986
Flat
Flat
155
7
Yes
             
Bronze
1970-1986
Glossy
Flat
150
5
Yes
             
Silver
1956-1970
Flat
Flat
160
6
Yes
             
Golden
1938-1956
Flat
Flat
160
8
Yes
             
Golden
1938-1956
Flat
Newspaper
160
10
Yes
If you are using metal steel plates in your press, you do not need to flip the book. You will press once for the duration of time and shut off press without flipping book.


After the heat press stage is complete, you will shut off the press. Leave the book in the press with the temperature shut off and cool down for several hours. 6 hours is minimum time before removing from press. Probably ideal to leave the book in the press for 24 hours or more.

 

DURATION OF PRESS
In order to maintain the pressing, and not have “muscle memory” of creases and spine bumps, you have to let the book be completely cold inside the press before removing it. Heat is the number one ingredient for a successful press. Pressure is number two. These 2 main core principles are crucial to the pressing process. Humidity and moisture are varying factors depending on paperstock and condition. Most books can be cooled down quicker than naturally. If you just simply use a standard $20 box fan at the store, this will cut your cooling down time to 8-12 hours instead of 1-2 days. You can also buy a second identical press and use that one as a “cooling press” as the other cools down. Alternate for 2-step pressing to save time and maximize your time constraints. If you are having trouble pressing a book, leave it in the press for several days or even a week!



Basic one time press under high heat for 10 minutes and left in press machine for 24 hours. This book could use another press one more time to get that last bit of faint vertical bend traveling along spine.

After the second press the faint spine bend is gone. 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths Issue #8.

Be sure you feel the top of the plate with your hands before removing any book from the press. You are making sure the press plate is ICE COLD. Not even warm or room temperature. Make sure the press plate is cold to the touch. If you have a second press, place the book inside the press that has a completely cold press plate for faster cooling.

 

WAVY COVERS AND EDGE FLARING
If you take the book out of the press too soon or too much heat (or both), it causes corner flares. This does not ruin the book, but it does require a second press at less heat with an overnight cooldown time of 24-48 hours. Too much moisture can also cause a wavy cover. Remember, most books do not need humidity. Try experimenting with different humidity times and cool down times based on your climate. If your book has flaring you should lower the heat duration and humidity levels when pressing the book in question.

 

Flaring is caused by too much heat, too much pressure, or too much moisture. Sometimes all of the above are contributing factors. Less is more. Removing the book too soon from the press while still hot can also cause flaring.

 

REVERSION AFTER PRESSING
Check back and verify your book retained a good press after several weeks. I recommend this step especially if you are pressing a book for a client, friend, or a grading company! It is entirely possible to come back several months later only to find your hard work performed on the book reverted back to it’s previous state. If this happens, you are definitely going to have to press the book for a week or longer to keep it’s shape and press.

 

PEBBLING
Be sure to use Silicone Release Paper (SRP) on your books and documents inside press. “Pebbling” can cause divots on the surface of a book if the press plate or pressure pad isn’t clean.

 

Make sure the silicone mat and pressure plate are clean and free of debris. Make sure the pressure plate and silicone release paper being used against the book is clean and free of dirt. “Pebbling” can cause divots on the surface of a book if not the press plate or pressure pad isn’t clean. This is caused by anything from a speck of dust, dirt, or cleaning shavings from using Absorene or Magic Eraser.


SANDWICH RECIPES
You must have a completely flat surface larger than the book being pressed. You want to make a comic book sandwich. The magazine board at the centerfold should be pressed up snugly against the staples but not underneath the staple prongs. The copy paper or backer boards placed inside interior pages should be pushed up snug and even against the spine as close as possible without movement. The copy paper or SRP paper placed underneath covers should be pressed up completely flush against the spine. If you are not careful with the placement of interior pages or use too much pressure, you will cause verticle lines to travel down length of spine vertically. It is important you do not use too much pressure and you have your copy paper sheets pressed firmly up against the spine.

 

Most books will follow one of 3 sandwich recipes:


REGULAR PRESS
Boardstack (3)
SRP Paper
Book Cover
Centerfold Board (1)
Book Cover
SRP Paper
BoardStack (3)


SPINE TICKED BOOK
Boardstack (3)
SRP Paper
Book Cover
Copy Paper (1 or 2)
Interior Pages
Centerfold Board (1)
Interior Pages
Copy Paper (1 or 2)
Book Cover
SRP Paper
BoardStack (3)


MARVEL DIGITAL CODES BOOK
Boardstack (3)
SRP Paper
Front Book Cover
Copy Paper (1 or 2)
Interior Pages
Centerfold Board (1)
Interior Pages
Copy Paper (1 or 2)
Digital Code Page
Copy Paper (1 or 2)
Interior Page
Copy Paper (1 or 2)
Interior Page
Copy Paper (1 or 2)
Interior Page
Copy Paper (1 or 2)
Interior Page
Copy Paper (1 or 2)
Back Book Cover
SRP Paper
BoardStack (3)

 

 

HOW TO PRESS A BOOK
You can avoid “Pebbling” and surface patterns by setting two or three magazine sized backer boards on mat. You want to make a comic book sandwich. You can press a comic book in 20 steps. Here is a visual of that concept simplified:

1. Get magazine backer boards ready. Warm up press machine to desired temperature and wait until it is HOT and ready.

 

2. Super bright white copy paper is used as a buffer for digital codes, tattooz inserts, or other inserts inside a comic book.

 

3. Clean and prepare the 15x15" Clamp Style heat press machine surface.

 

4. Get 3 magazine backer boards. Stack them on heat press machine. Glossy side down away from plate.

 

5. Get 3 magazine backer boards. Stack them on heat press machine.

 

6. Set a sheet of cut SRP (Silicone release paper) on your stack of 3 backer boards.

 

7. You can buy large 16×24 inch sheets of SRP paper from ULINE and cut them into 4 smaller sheets.

 

8. You can reuse SRP paper up to 4 times. Do not reuse copy paper. It is scrap paper after 1 use. Backer boards can be reused, some people say do not reuse. Some people even say to change backer boards when you flip the book. See what works best for you.

 

9. Place a backer board at centerfold. If you have spine ticks, place 2 sheets of copy paper under front cover and back cover. Depending on how deep the spine ticks are, you may need to place copy paper at page 2 and page 3 of front and back of covers. Make certain your copy paper and boards are snug up against the spine as close as possible.

 

 

If you have a digital code in your book, see recipe above for the stacking of paper and boards. If the book is thin with fewer pages, you can use a magazine backer board on the following page of digital code. Thicker books require copy paper. Do not reuse your copy paper. It is now scrap paper after 1 use.

 

 

10. Set a sheet of cut SRP (Silicone release paper) on your stack of 3 backer boards and comic book being pressed.

 

11. Get 3 magazine backer boards. Stack them on your stack of boards, comic, and srp paper that is set on heat press machine surface.

 

12. Place 3 magazine backer boards evenly. Stack them on your stack of boards, comic, and srp paper that is set on heat press machine surface.

 

13. Make sure book is inside all outside edges of top and bottom stacks of backer boards. If your book is outside the outer layer of boards, you will imprint vertical lines down your covers.

 

14. Use the pressure adjustment screw. Turn it clockwise to increase pressure. Counter-clockwise decreases pressure. The idea is to turn the knob to increase firm pressure at first before clamping down on book. When you are ready for the initial clamp of press, turn the knob counter clockwise and back it off slowly as you clamp down press. There should be firm but slight little resistance. Do not press too hard. The adjustment screw will help you with this. Think of it as driving a stickshift vehicle and you are learning the clutch and gas pedal. Using too much pressure will damage your book. This will pop staples, cause vertical lines or seams to travel down the length of the spine, or wose. Make certain to use firm but light pressure.

15. Press book with clamp down for 5-7 minutes and lift up clamp slowly. Sometimes the backer boards will stick to plate.

16. Flip book over so the opposite cover side is facing the hot plate of press. Some will recommend you replace the backer boards. I do not.

17. Repeat steps 1-15. After the second 5 minutes is up, you will simply shut OFF the heat press machine. Leave book inside press "as is" for 24-48 hours before removing.

18. After 24-48 hours is up, carefully and slowly lift clamp on press. Remove stack of boards and your book carefully and set on a flat, clean, level surface.

19. Remove boards and SRP paper by slowly sliding each one out one at a time in the process.

20. Photograph your results, or place inside a bag and board. You are done.

 

 

PRESSING SQUARE-BOUND SPINE GLUED GIANT COMIC BOOKS (ADVANCED)
There are certain books that come to mind: SILVER SURFER #4, GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1 & #2, GIANT SIZE WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, CONAN THE BARBARIAN ANNUAL #1, and others. This process is similar to all other methods outlined above but with some added steps:

1. Measure the thickness of book being pressed. Take note if any staples are popping through front cover or back cover. You may need to use a flathead screwdriver or putty knife to gently push staple prongs down flat.

2. Place 1 sheet of SRP paper on top and bottom of book. Place 1 magazine backer board on top and bottom of book.

3. Place a stack of magazine backer boards the same exact thickness and height of book.

3. Slide and postion stack of boards right up against the side of spine of book. Your stack should be positioned side-by-side of book in question.

4. No centerfold backer board in this book.

5. Set clamp down carefully and slowly on press, using adjustment knob as necessary to decrease pressure.

6. Press as normal with above steps on "HOW TO PRESS A BOOK"

 

 

USING 9x12 STEEL PLATES (ADVANCED)
Once you have mastered the above techniques, it's time to go the next level. I have tested this method to very successful results. These plates are metal, steel, cold, and heavy weighing in at 5lbs each. Using this method, you are basically converting your t-shirt press into a full blown industrial book press machine. The instructions are quite different. You start everything cold, set book, turn on press, let it get hot, turn off press, do not flip book. Simplified but very, very effective. I will explain:


STEEL PLATE PRESS METHOD
9" x 12" Steel Plate
SRP Paper
Book Cover
Centerfold Magazine Board (1)
Book Cover
SRP Paper
9" x 12" Steel Plate

 


1. To prep, once you have ordered your 2 steel plates you will need to use gloves and sandpaper to completely smooth over the surfaces of the plates to remove burrs and scratches or other imperfections in the steel. I used 120 grit and 180 grit sandpaper with a block of wood. If there are deep scratches or burrs close your eyes and glide your fingertips across the surface. If you can feel the indents and scratches, you will need to use the other side of plate, or replace it entirely.

Leave the press machine OFF and COLD during this procedure. Look at the thickness of 2 steel plates on top of one another. Now use the adjustment knob of your press machine and counter clockwise turn that knob until there is a gap when the press is closed. Make sure this gap is bigger than the thickness of your comic book, and the 2 steel plates. This is crucial.

 


 

2. Set 1 steel plate measuring at least 9" x 12" or larger on your clean silicon mat of press. I still use the mat as a tiny bit of cusion when clamping press down. Keep your plate sideways so the book spine is in the inside of press where the most pressure is at clamp of press.

 

 

3. Super bright white copy paper is used as a buffer for digital codes, tattooz inserts, or other inserts inside a comic book.

 

 

 

4. Set a bottom sheet of cut SRP (Silicone release paper) on your bottom metal steel plate.

 

 

5. You can buy large 16×24 inch sheets of SRP paper from ULINE and cut them into 4 smaller sheets.

 

 

6. Do not reuse copy paper, backer board, or SRP paper using this technique. It is scrap after 1 use.

 

 

7. Place a magazine backer board at centerfold. If you have spine ticks, place 2 sheets of copy paper under front cover and back cover. Depending on how deep the spine ticks are, you may need to place copy paper at page 2 and page 3 of front and back of covers. Make certain your copy paper and boards are snug up against the spine as close as possible. Set your book "sandwich" carefully placed in the middle on bottom SRP paper and bottom steel plate.

 

 

If you have a digital code in your book, see recipe above for the stacking of paper and boards. If the book is thin with fewer pages, you can use a magazine backer board on the following page of digital code. Thicker books require copy paper. Do not reuse your copy paper. It is now scrap paper after 1 use.

 

 

8. Set a top sheet of cut SRP (Silicone release paper) on your steel plate and comic book being pressed.

 

 

9. Set your top steel plate carefully and calmly on your stack of boards, comic, and srp paper that is set on heat press machine surface. Make certain the book is inside all outside edges of top and bottom stacks of backer boards. If your book is outside the outer layer of boards, you will imprint vertical lines down your covers.

 

 

10. Remember that crucial "gap" I mentioned above in step 1? Make sure your gap is as large as the thickness of both plates and your book being pressed.

 

 

11. You want the press to clamp down barely on the plates. Gently and meaningful but not forced or aggressive. Make sure the press machine is OFF.

 

 

12. Use the pressure adjustment screw. Turn it clockwise to increase pressure. Counter-clockwise decreases pressure. The idea is to turn the knob to increase firm pressure at first before clamping down on book. When you are ready for the initial clamp of press, turn the knob counter clockwise and back it off slowly as you clamp down press. There should be firm but slight little resistance. Do not press too hard. The adjustment screw will help you with this. Think of it as driving a stickshift vehicle and you are learning the clutch and gas pedal. Using too much pressure will damage your book. This will pop staples, cause vertical lines or seams to travel down the length of the spine, or wose. Make certain to use firm but light pressure.

 

 

13. Turn the press ON. As soon as the desired temperature of 150-160 degrees is met, shut the press machine OFF. Do not wait for the timer to count down.

 

 

14. Once the press machine has reached desired temperature, you do not need to flip the book or remove anything. The metal plates are now 150-160 degrees, so you can't handle the plate temperature anyway. Since steel is a great conductor for heat, both surfaces of the book are flashed with instant heat from both sides. The book and plates will cool back down to a very cool, cold temperature once 24 hours have passed.

15. After 24-48 hours is up, carefully and slowly lift clamp on press. Remove top plate very slowly and carefully. Try to lift the plate straight up and not at an angle. Set your book sandwich stack down carefully and on a flat, clean, level surface. I would not reuse copy paper, backing boards, or SRP paper using this method.

16. Remove boards and SRP paper by slowly sliding each one out one at a time in the process. Latex gloves help grip the book from the spine as you slide each sheet away from book.

27. Photograph your results, or place inside a bag and board. You are done.

If you are pressing a squarebound giant sized book, the steps are the same. Only deviation from this is to make a stack of backer boards the same height as book before setting top metal steel plate on top of book with stack of backer boards pressed up against alongside spine.

 

 

BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY
Use a phone or tablet to take photos before, during, and after your work. Photos can provide clues to your own work as a resume for others considering your services. Photos also can show proof that damage was done to a book before you started working on the book. Photos can provide a lot of details and clues to everything. Lighting is key. Hold your camera or tablet steady before taking the shot. Do not take blurry dimly lit photos. That is worthless to you and anyone else inspecting your work. Take all your photos under a well lit room with lots of windows during the daytime. Take photos at every angle of the book so you can see the bumps, waves, bends, creases, and folds of the book in question. Start a facebook photo album if you don’t own a website or gallery page. Photos mean everything! If you don’t have time, make time.

 

This is not a good example of a photo that displays your work.

 

This photo displays the entire book in one shot, with lighting at an angle to show others the overall “sheen” or “shine” of the surface of book. Lighting is key.

 

WORK AREA AND DESK SURFACE
Be sure your work surface area is clean and smooth. Using mylite2+fullback under the book can prevent surface wear and staple rub.

Always use gloves. Always. No fingerprints! Heat is the number one ingredient for a successful press. That heat can also transfer oils from your skin to the plate or the comic book. Before you start using the press, put on some latex gloves. I prefer the small size so you get a firm sensitive grip.

A clean, smooth, and flat work surface is crucial when cleaning and pressing comic books.

You can prevent un-necessary surface rub or wear on the book being cleaned or handled. The best way to do this is to use Golden Age size Mylite2 + Fullback boards to handle and transport books. You can even use 2 of them above and below the book to flip the book over easily as well. I use a glass artist table folded down flat with a cutting mat on top of that. I have placed a sheet of plexiglass down on top of the cutting mat as well for a smooth shiny surface to work with. It’s a good idea to keep a Golden Age size Mylite2 + Fullback board underneath the book while on the desk surface so you can swivel and slide the book without damaging it.

You can prevent un-necessary surface rub or wear on the book being cleaned or handled. The best way to do this is to use Golden Age size Mylite2 + Fullback boards to handle and transport books. You can even use 2 of them above and below the book to flip the book over easily as well. I use a glass artist table folded down flat with a cutting mat on top of that. I have placed a sheet of plexiglass down on top of the cutting mat as well for a smooth shiny surface to work with. It’s a good idea to keep a Golden Age size Mylite2 + Fullback board underneath the book while on the desk surface so you can swivel and slide the book without damaging it.

You do not want to spin the book on a bare table surface. Ever. Next you can gently place a Golden Age size Mylite2 + Fullback board inside the cover of the side of the book you are cleaning. This places firm pressure on the other side of the surface you are cleaning.

Place a mylite2+fullback inside your cover being cleaned but not all the way against the spine. Don’t press too hard either when cleaning or you will have a light visible vertical line running down along the spine you will have to press out later.

 

 

ADJUSTMENT AND PREPARATION FOR THICK SQUAREBOUND BOOKS
For the swivel Tivor heat press machine, remove the top plastic knob off the rear adjustment screw. Place 1 large flat washer below the adjustment bolt at the very top rear of the unit. You will most likely have to search the hardware store for the required washers with a large enough diameter. Then place your plastic screw knob back on top of that. This gives you adjustment and a spacer between the plate and the rubber pad. Sometimes you will use stacks of silicone release paper usually 1/8” thick below your comic book as a spacer between the rubber pad and your book being pressed. Sometimes just one sheet above or below the book. A lot of this depends on the thickness of the book. Graphic novels, square bound, and 70s giant size edition 72 page comic books will require you to back the pressure plate off so you do not apply too much pressure on the thicker books. Use one sheet of Silicone Release Paper (SRP) on top of the book as a spacer between your book and the very hot pressure plate above it. Using this trick will also prevent the surface of the rubber pad below to imprint any patterns or surface imprints onto your books being pressed.

 

INSPECTION PROCESS
Use a UV Black-Light inspection flashlight to detect signs of color touch. Wear a fresh pair of latex gloves as you get started. Take a moment to examine the book. Always lift comic books out with the backer board as you slide them out of the bag. You do not want to scratch the back cover. Do not press books with stickers, tape, food, gum, or candy debris. You will need to remove it prior to pressing. Even if this means scraping or damaging part of the book to get it off. Sometimes color breaks and ink removal are part of the debris removal. You have to use judgement and experience whether it will benefit or harm the book's overall value, condition, and appearance. Mark Jeweler insert comic books and other books with centerfold posters should be okay.

Look at every angle, every corner of the book. Take photos with your tablet or phone. Take extra time to inspect the corners and spine around the staples. Look for and count spine ticks and which have color breaking lines along the spine. Are the corners rounded? Is there edge-wear along the spine? Is there edge-wear along the top and bottom covers? Flip the book over using another backer board so you do not stress the spine. Look for scrapes or light scratches on the back cover. Use the black-light UV inspection flashlight to detect color touch or amateur restoration techniques. Super valuable key books should be inspected for color touch, just in case. It’s also a good idea to inspect the staples to look for signs of replacement. One sign of staple replacement is when staple indentations do not line up with the current staple heads position.

Use a dental pick and scraper to carefully lift and place tears or folds where they should be before pressing or cleaning.

As long as the book is not brittle or rigid… Look for corner flaps and tears that need to be set in place. This step should be done first while the book is dry and not under any heat or pressure. You will use a dental pick and scraper for this step. If the book is too brittle or old, then you should use the humidity chamber approach after cleaning the covers instead.

It may be tempting to just use your fingernail, but could potentially rip or tear the crease worse. Dirt and oil under your fingernails could get trapped in the paper fibers as well. Golden age books are very forgiving with corner flaps and minor tears.

You want to do this step first before cleaning or pressing. This step is important to try to inspect the book carefully and turn each page for inspection. You are also looking for cutouts, missing pages, and missing centerfolds during this stage.

Absorene Dirt Eraser Pads are the greatest tool to start with dry cleaning the cover of your book. Get one here at this link on Amazon.

 

DRY CLEANING COMIC BOOK TIPS
Use a dental pick and scraper to carefully lift and place tears or folds where they should be before pressing or cleaning. For dry cleaning, it’s always best to start in a non-aggressive manner, so start small with just a simple clean eraser from a Number 2 pencil. I also use eraser tops as well. You will need to clean your pencil eraser often as you lift the dirt and oils from your comic book.



Cleaning a book should be approached in stages. Starting with latex rubber gloves, use a dental pick for lifting up folds and creases. Do this first. Lightly dust off and wipe the surface clean lightly with a lotion free Kleenex, dust cloth, or a can of compressed air. Try using a regular unsharpened #2 pencil eraser end to remove light staining on cover. This noninvasive method is recommended before using anything else.

 

Use the Absorense Eraser Pad to clean your pencil eraser top.

 

Next, if you have an Absorene Dirt Eraser Pad, wipe this across the surface of both front and back covers. Use the eraser pad lightly, let the weight of the pad be the only pressure as you gently glide it across the cover surface to remove dirt and oil.

Dirt and oil grime from production on a brand new modern age marvel 1:1000 retailer incentive copy of Venom #1 (2018)

 

(After) Dirt and oil grime removed from production on a brand new modern age marvel 1:1000 retailer incentive copy of Venom #1 (2018) Using a simple pencil eraser top.

 

So this is a pretty big secret, even if you don’t press comics. You can clean most comic book covers in this manner, regardless if you are pressing the book or not! You don’t need a press in order to perform this method.

 

Use Absorene putty next to delicately lift dirt and oils. You roll lightly and gently across the surface to remove and clean the paper at its fibers. If you do not have Absorene, try using a regular pencil eraser or a gum kneaded eraser. You will have to knead and work in the eraser until it becomes soft like the Absorene. Never rub the kneaded eraser, always blot or push downwards then lift upwards with straight up and down motions. Never use the kneaded gum eraser sideways or against the paper grain. Most of the time, 90% of the time, the pencil eraser and absorene eraser pad will do most of the work for you. If you cannot lift a stain, that’s okay – just remember we are not restoring comic books.

Go slow with the Absorene around corners and tears. You should place a perpendicular mylite2+fullback against your hand so that you do not lift up the cover or page being cleaned.

 

HOW TO USE ABSORENE PUTTY
Absorene comes inside a small plastic storage tub. It looks and feels like Play-doh. You want to take small 1/2″ cubes and roll it across the surface of your book covers and pages for dry chemical free cleaning. You will roll very lightly with light pressure as you roll “logs” across the surface being cleaned. I also have great results with warming the book up in the press for 5 minutes on each side on low heat at 150 degrees. When using the Absorene, take great care along cover edges and corners or you will lift up the cover unexpectedly and cause a crease. Worse yet, if you go too fast due to being impatient with your time – you can cause a rip and tear the cover. It helps tremendously to use backer boards to the left and right of the areas being rolled with Absorene. Try it to see if this works for you.

 

USING MR CLEAN MAGIC ERASERS AND ABSORENE TOGETHER
Cut 1″ cubes of Mr Clean Magic Eraser to alternate from Absorene and Eraser along spines. Never reuse a magic eraser cube. Apply firm but gentle pressure against book. Erasers are best used for white or light covers. Avoid red and black with the magic eraser!

For small spaces or around dark print area, use a pencil eraser with a tiny torn off piece of clean magic eraser material. Use the pencil as a hand tool to better control the magic eraser around corners, spines, or red/black/yellow print area.

Magic Erasers are great for white rear covers or white front covers. Warning: Black, Red and Yellow ink are easily lifted off the cover with the Magic Eraser! Use a Mr. Clean magic eraser very carefully. Always cut fresh 1” cubes with scissors. If you try to keep re-using the same magic eraser, you will start rubbing dirt into all the crease lines of comics, which creates new dark crease lines and makes the visual appeal start to drop significantly, so be warned about the magic eraser! Use this product with light pressure. Never use circular swirls when trying to lift up staining with a magic eraser. Make swift light strokes in one direction, never back and forth, and never in swirls. This will take time. Do not wax on and wax off. You only wax one way. You do not want to send the very same dirt lifted up from the magic eraser into a crease line crevice or crack on cover.

For small spaces or around dark print area, use a pencil eraser with a tiny torn off piece of clean magic eraser material. Use the pencil as a hand tool to better control the magic eraser around corners, spines, or red/black/yellow print area.

This is why you should alternate with the Absorene and the Magic Eraser. After using the Magic Eraser, it causes white powder dust shavings filled with dirt and oil. Even using a new Magic Eraser cube will push those shavings and dust back into the cracks and crevices of the spine being worked on. You will need to blow the dust away with a can of air. Alternate and use the Absorene to clean the area just cleaned with the Magic Eraser. Back and forth. Patience is key. Sometimes it feels like the Absorene just isn’t working but it is. Keep at it and you will eventually start to see staining and other debris being lifted slowly. It takes time to figure this one out. The magic eraser is very forgiving on white or light covers. However, use extreme caution using this technique on all black covers or very dark covers. The magic eraser does lift ink! Because of this, most professionals do not advise using a Mr Clean Magic Eraser. Most will suggest to use Absorene, because it is actually made for cleaning historical documents and archival paper such as the Library of Congress. If you are just starting out and learning the whole process, try using these products on some cheap books first to get a feel of the process. Remember, this is just a guide for beginners!

Before and after back cover photos of upper right corner dirt oil buildup along a staple bump. Magic Eraser and Absorene did wonders to this corner with minimal effort to lift the staining.

 

Before and after back cover photos of upper right corner dirt oil buildup along a staple bump. Magic Eraser and Absorene did wonders to this corner with minimal effort to lift the staining.

 

DRY CLEANING IN STAGES
What I do is approach every book with cautious cleaning tactics first, to see what is effective with the least effort. Less invasive first, to a more increased aggressive cleaning stage each time, to see what works. I like to start small, slowly increasing my efforts:

Start by carefully chipping or scraping away gunk, boogers, candy, or mud with a dental pick. Press down staples flat with a putty knife or flathead screwdriver.

1. Used dry sheet.
2. Kleenex lotion free tissue.
3. Number 2 pencil with a white polymer eraser cap.
4. Clean eraser cap regularly with absorene eraser pad.
5. Absorene eraser pad across cover surfaces.
6. Absorene book cleaner putty across cover surfaces.
7. Mr Clean Magic Eraser tiny cubes cut, rub along spine and light colored surfaces of cover. No black or red or yellow inks.
8. Alternate between magic eraser and absorene eraser pad to remove magic eraser shavings.
9. Deep staining or moisture stains cannot be removed using these basic non-invasive dry cleaning methods.

 

STAPLES
Staples can push through the front and rear cover. Dirt and oil like to get trapped around elevated bumps along staple on back cover. If you can already detect staple rub on the front or back cover you should probably use copy paper or a backer board inside the cover. Press with lighter pressure using the adjustment screw on press machine. Squarebound books like Silver Surfer #4 or Giant Size X-Men #1 have this effect with staples and pressing. Cleaning staples is not recommended either. Watch for rub and try not to clean them or scratch them up too much. It can be evident if there is staple cleaning with third party Grading Companies such as CGC and CBCS so I caution you on scuffing up staples. Rusty staples should be lightly scuffed but I would not recommend it.

THE HUMIDIFICATION PROCESS

Paper records such as maps, newspapers, and documents that have been rolled or folded for long periods of time often may be safely flattened using carefully controlled humidification.

Not all books require moisture. Some books would benefit from humidity. Brittle pages, Golden Age books, frustrating blunted corners without color breaks, blunted spines, spine rolls, and rolled up or folded in half comic books. But why would you use moisture on books? The reason for this is the fibers of the paper must be relaxed for the process of pressing to actually take hold and remain. You can do this with a simple humidifier or clothes fabric steamer. Use the steamer for a few seconds to only make the pages curl. As soon as paper movement is seen, move to a different area or stop using steam. When creating new centerfolds, fixing spine denting, and working with golden age books – you are required to use steam. This is a very delicate process and should be used with moderation.

DISTILLED WATER
Always used distilled water. There are no minerals or dirt in distilled water. Otherwise you will get water spots and staining from the minerals if you do not use distilled water. Always empty the water chamber when not in use either, or you will get mildew. Mildew and water are paper’s worst nightmare, so this is not an easy process to learn.

USING HUMIDIFICATION
Most books will not require humidity. If a book is old, brittle, feels very dry and rigid to the touch – then you should probably use humidity. Time and patience will guide you. Always better to use not enough humidity with a slightly disappointing press with no damage to the book and do it again than to use TOO MUCH humidity and ruin the book, right?! Too much humidity and too much heat can cause edge flaring and a wavy cover. If you are using a clothes steamer, be sure to steam from a safe 1-2 foot distance so droplets of water don’t splash on the book. This can create light circle spots when dry. Also do not over steam staples or they will rust. The safest method would be to make your own hydration humidifier chamber with basic supplies at Home Depot.

 

MAKE YOUR OWN HUMIDIFICATION CHAMBER (ADVANCED)
Boil a pot of distilled water on the stove top. Pour the pot of boiling distilled water inside your chamber to provide accelerated steam evenly to the book. Here is a step-by-step pictoral using simple materials at your local harware store:

 

In the example given, this was a free promotional comic book from 1975. It had bad staining and long deep indent lines diagonally on the back cover. I had never attempted to make my own humidity chamber before, so I thought I would try this out. I had previously been using the Conair Clothes Steamer method, but it's not reliable and you risk damaging books with water spots. This way is deemed much safer and dependable.

The initial test in the example given was 22 hours left overnight inside the chamber at room temperature distilled water. After much testing and trial and error, I have determined you should boil a pot of water on the stove top for 15 minutes and pour that into the bottom of your storage tub. Place your plumbing rings and barbeque grill on top. Next place 2 window screens and set your book centerfold down. Place 2 additional window screens on top of your book. You can double stack 2 books, separated by 1 window screen, but it works better with just one at a time. With boiling water at the bottom, I'd close up the storage tub and set something heavy on top to make it air tight. Leave book unattended for 30 minutes with boiling distilled water. Leave book unattended for 4 hours with room temperature distilled water.

There are several websites available online, including the Library of Congress at your disposal. According to the National Park Service, “Paper records such as maps, newspapers, and documents that have been rolled or folded for long periods of time often may be safely flattened using carefully controlled humidification.

 

DO-IT YOURSELF SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT
“There are three basic steps to humidification: cleaning, humidifying, and weighting or flattening. Each step requires somewhat specialized equipment that can be easily constructed from materials gathered from common sources, such as hardware and fabric stores.

 

DRY CLEAN FIRST, HUMIDIFICATION SECOND, PRESS LAST
It is important to remember that any dirt on the surface of the paper may become muddy during humidification and will set further into the paper fibers. This will make the paper difficult if not impossible to clean in the future. The surface of the paper should at least be swept with a soft, natural fiber brush before humidification. If the papers are heavily soiled, consult a paper conservator about surface cleaning before proceeding.

Before proceeding with humidification, remove fasteners such as clips, staples, brads, and rubber bands. “

Extreme care must be used when initially opening papers that have been folded or rolled. While some papers remain supple over time, others may grow increasingly fragile due to inherent weaknesses, widely fluctuating temperature and relative humidity, or exposure to light and/or to chemicals in the atmosphere. As a result, paper remembers creases, folds, and curls. If records are not flattened carefully, they may crumble and their valuable information will be irretrievably lost. Never attempt to open a rolled or folded piece of paper if you are uncertain of its physical condition, particularly if the climate is extremely dry (less than 35% relative humidity).

SOURCE: https://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/13-02.pdf

 

DO NOT REMOVE THE STAPLES
So with that in mind, you really should remove the steel staples from the comic book. With that disclaimer stated, we aren’t going to remove the staples from the comic book. We are not restoring the comic book. We are only cleaning and flattening the book. Removing/replacing staples counts as restoration, and we don’t want that. Since the duration time period inside our homemade humidification chamber will be only be 15-30 minutes, I do not believe that is long enough for iron oxidation to set in on a staple that currently shows no signs of rust. Scientifically, and depending on your climate conditions, it’s more realistic to assume light rust would begin to set in at the microscopic level within 2 days. Steel can start to corrode (microscopically) immediately upon exposure to the elements. Since we are leaving the comic book in for 15-30 minutes, it’s probably not going to cause rust. The heat press will absorb the humidity moisture and dampness of the book within minutes before rust can take proceed.

 

 

SPINE ROLLS (ADVANCED)
1952 Vault of Horror #23. Before and After photos showing an example of a successful and healthy spine roll fix on a golden age horror comic book. (Click to ZOOM)

Books like this should be approached in a very careful manner, especially given the age and state of the book's pages. What is necessary to do is create a new centerfold. The way to start this is by completely flattening the centerfold cover side up and cover side down.

 

BLUNTED SPINE FIX (ADVANCED)
Start with a light press using backer boards and SRP with the 15×15 press. After 5 minutes on each side completely flattened out, lightly fold the book back over and press down to make your new fold.

Start with a light press using backer boards and SRP with the 15×15 press.

After 5 minutes on each side completely flattened out, lightly fold the book back over and press down to make your new fold.

 

An example of how to create a new centerfold for spine roll fixes using a swivel heat press machine. First begin by laying the book flat in a hydration chamber for 1-2 hours. Next, lay the book flat face down in the press with 2 backer boards at the staples on top and botton. Flip the book after 5 minutes on 160 degrees. Begin making your new fold by folding the book in half and pink the edge tight and make your new fold with the press for 2 minutes. Proceed to press as normal afterwards. 1977 Ms Marvel #1.

 

 

SPINE ROLL FIX (ADVANCED)
Spine roll fix alignments can be fun. I mean that sincerely. They can be real fun and rewarding to work with. One method I’ve seen now in the pressing world is to adjust that spine so all the spine creases and dents move to the back of the book for a better eye appeal inside a graded case. This does not trick the graders nor are you trying to pull “a fast one” but you are making the book have a better eye appeal when considering reselling or displaying the book.

When aligning the spine, the first step is to flatten the entire book at the centerfold. This can be very stressful on the outside spine, and the staples inside. You can crush the staples right through the book if you are not careful! You can also create new stress lines on the outside of the book. Here is how to prevent all of this:

  1. Steam the book with some humidity. Do this with a clothes steamer or a Do-it-Yourself Humidity Hydration Chamber.
  2. Set the press to 160 degrees. This part of the process does not matter if golden age/silver/modern/foil.
  3. Get a 1/8” stack of backer boards, gloss free, or at least put the gloss away from the covers. Place them down the center of the rubber pad on press.
  4. Get the book in question. Find the staples. Find the center.
  5. Flatten the book from the inside face down, staples down. Set the book carefully onto the stack of backer boards 90 degrees perpendicular to the pad. If you are using the Tivor Swivel Mount Heat Press Machine, you will have an overhang obviously. That’s fine. You’re going to rotate in 5 minutes to do the overhang side if so.
  6. Stick one backer board on top of your spine. Carefully and slowly lower the press onto the comic and make sure the spine flattens out.
  7. Keep the book this way for 5 minutes.
  8. If you are using the Tivor swivel press machine keep reading. Otherwise skip to step 13: Now swivel everything around and press the overhang portion of the comic book spine. Press for 5 minutes.
  9. If using the larger 15×15 heat press machine, press for 5 additional minutes.
  10. Now remove the book, keep the boards there. Maybe take the bottom backer board and put on top in case there was a staple indent.
  11. Flip the book over on its opposite side, with the staples now facing up.
  12. Set the book carefully onto the stack of backer boards with the staples facing up – 90 degrees perpendicular to the pad. You will have an overhang obviously.
  13. Stick one backer board on top of your spine with the staples facing up. Carefully and slowly lower the press onto the comic and make sure the spine flattens out.
  14. Keep the book this way for 5 minutes.
  15. Now swivel everything around and press the overhang portion of the comic book spine. Press for 5 minutes.
  16. The book should now be completely flattened out after 10 minutes total duration of pressing flat against cardboard backers.
  17. You are going to make your own new centerfold now. Remove all backer boards and anything left in the press. Only should have a rubber pad and a metal plate above, nothing else. No SRP Paper, either.
  18. Using latex gloves, you are going to fold the book carefully in half. Stand the book up on its bottom edge when doing so.
  19. Pinch the middle center with your index finger and thumb TIGHT so no movement happens between pages.
  20. Stick the pinched comic with your fingers in sideways, allowing 7/8 of the comic’s surface on top of the rubber pad.
  21. Bring the metal plate down onto the comic and press down . You want your fingers so close to the plate that it will almost press your thumb down.
  22. Do not let the book move or travel with the press. You get only one shot at this!
  23. The reason you are using 7/8 of the surface is to minimize travel of the book when the press goes down on the book. If you barely place the comic in close at the spine, the entire book will travel and move on you as its being pressed! This step will take you time and practice to get the hang of it. Start small on simple dollar books to practice spine roll fixes!

 

SPINE ALIGNMENTS AND BLUNTED CORNERS (ADVANCED)
You can actually do the spine realignment on any book, even a brand new modern book! I recommend this for blunted corners and deep spine indents or bunched up corners. This method is preferred instead of just shoving backer boards into your centerfolds and interior covers. If you only use backer boards or stacks of paper, you risk imprinting edges of the paper or backer boards into your books. Evidence of this is a simple vertical line that travels the length of the spine.

 

Blunted non color breaking spines can be intimidating.

 

USING A BALL BEARING AND SEALING TACK IRON (ADVANCED)
A dent or divot in the cover of a book can be frustrating. This can be pre-existing or if you have debris and dirt on the pressing plate (or cover of book) before pressing. You will need: One ball bearing, 1.5″ inch diameter, and a tack iron.

If you see a pre-existing divot or dent in your cover you can try this trick out before pressing. Or, if you had some dirt or debris on the pressing plate and/or comic book then you can try this method to fix your mistake. Find or purchase a one and a half inch (1.5″) steel ball bearing.



1.5" Ball Bearing. Wipe your balls first! They are coated with lubricant to prevent rust.

 

A tacking iron speeds this process up instead of using the press machine. You can use the press machine if you don’t have a tacking iron. The tacking iron helps localize the area being focused on. Start by placing SRP underneath the cover being worked on. Make sure a clean smooth surface is underneath the comic book. I use a golden age mylite2+fullback so I can move the book around with ease.

 

After placing SRP above and below cover, heat and flatten the spot with a tack iron for only a few seconds.

After placing SRP above and below cover, heat and flatten the spot with a tack iron for only a few seconds at a time. Press gently downwards in intervals, but not when sliding back and forth or you can cause scratches.

Place a small cut sheet of SRP on top of the cover being worked on. You can place a backer board underneath the cover as well if the initial process doesn’t work the first time. Keep in mind this method doesn’t always work. For example, if you can see the divot pass through onto the next 4 or 5 pages of the book, this method might not be successful for you. If the divot or dent removed ink and caused a color breaking divot you can press it back out but the ink removed will still show the dent.

After placing SRP above and below cover, heat and flatten the spot with a tack iron for only a few seconds.

After you now have the SRP and backer board in place, begin heating up the tack iron to 140-150 degrees for moderns or 160-165 degrees for bronze and copper. After just a few seconds the book should be warm to the touch.

 

Set the ball bearing down on the heated spot, and press down firmly with the palm of your hand, rolling the ball bearing around the spot in a circular motion.

 

 

Place your ball bearing down on top of the SRP on cover and begin rolling the ball around the location of the divot. Press firmly with the palm of your hand as you press down with pressure and roll the ball in circular motions.

 

 

You can pinch the ball bearing as well and roll it around firmly in a circular motion. You can also pinch the ball bearing with your thumb and 2 index fingers while pressing downward with firm pressure. Alternatively, you can carefully open the cover and perform the process on the underside of the cover if you can see the bump from other side. This method is risky because you can put stress on the spine and create spine ticks. Only try the underside if you feel the ball bearing isn’t working well on the top side of the cover.

Set the ball bearing down on the heated spot, and press down firmly with the palm of your hand, rolling the ball bearing around the spot in a circular motion.The divot is gone from the trade dress logo on cover. The cover will be wavy from the localized tack iron. You are now ready to press the book as you normally would.The divot is gone from the trade dress logo on cover. The cover will be wavy from the localized tack iron. You are now ready to press the book as you normally would.The divot is gone from the trade dress logo on cover. The cover will be wavy from the localized tack iron. You are now ready to press the book as you normally would.

 

 

Divot is now out of front cover of book. You are now ready to press the book as usual.

 

 

After 2 complete pressings, the divot is completely gone from the cover of book.

 

 

CONCLUSION
150-160 degrees or lower seems to be the “sweet spot” on most books to play it safe. Pressing under high heat for less than 5-7 minutes on each side is good for most books. Keep moisture and humidity to a minimum on your books. Always keep a timer with you and don’t forget to set your timer! These steps are some of the things that can be done to successfully press a comic book, magazine, or poster with minimal to no damage to the item being pressed.

These tips will hopefully save you money, and guide you along the way as YOU learn and pick up new ideas and better ways to accomplish things. I am not a professional presser, and I’m not a professional grader. However, these are the methods I use when I press comic books as a hobbyist.

All of this is a learning process. I encourage you all to share your ideas among everyone so that we can all prevent damage to one another’s books. I am open to any feedback and suggestions. I also reside in a coastal Northwestern state, which is more humid than inland states. Your results may vary based on humidity and temperature of the climate you reside in.

Thank you!

KaptainMyke

 

 

 

 

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1949 Quality Comics Group PLASTIC MAN #17
Before and After

 







1952 E.C. Publications VAULT OF HORROR #23
(Before and After)




 

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