What to Look for in a Paper Padding Press

Paper Padding PressPaper padding presses (found here) are simple yet highly effective tools when it comes to creating your own scratch pads and notepads. They can pad a wide range of paper styles and types. While these machines are ultimately simple in design, there are a lot of differences from one model to another. Having spoken to several customers over the years regarding these presses, I have come up with a list of features you may want to consider having when purchasing a machine.

To begin with, padding presses are essentially clamping mechanisms that help keep paper in place while applying glue. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Many people, after receiving their presses, are often surprised to see that some of the models out there are nothing more than a few slabs of wood, a few hardware clamps and some piping that has been fitted together to create a support or frame.

Some people even make their own padding presses. One thing I can tell you about our manufacturers is that they have years of experience making these tools and they work very well. I still recommend using a manufactured padding press when making your own notepads. With that said, here are a few features you need to be aware of when shopping around.

  • Capacity – All padding presses are rated by the capacity of paper they can handle. This is usually measured in inches. An example would be the Blane Graphics Mini 2 (found here). It has a 12 ½” padding capacity. That means you can put up to 12 ½” of paper in it at a time. Those large pads can later be cut down into smaller pads. Some of our larger padding presses can pad dual stacks of paper (side-by-side) for even more capacity.
  • Size – Be sure the padding press you buy can handle the sheet size you’re padding. A larger padding press can still be used to pad smaller sizes of paper. The reason I bring this up is that some padding presses are only 4 ½” wide and can’t pad letter-size paper. Just be sure the padding press you buy fits your paper.
  • Padding Press with Swivel BaseSwivel Base – This is a feature I personally like. A swivel base allows the padding press to be easily rotated 180 degrees to allow you to easily apply glue to the back of the paper. Padding presses without a swivel base require you to either go to the other side of the table to apply the glue or manually turn the entire padding press around, which can be laborious. The Blane Graphics Superpad padding press (found here) is a good example of a press with a swivel base.
  • Tilt Base – In order to get the paper two square up properly, it needs to be jogged. This is necessary for the glue to be applied evenly and for the pad to look professional. While you can use a paper jogger prior to placing the paper in the press, some manufacturers have gotten creative using a tilt base. A tile base uses gravity to naturally square up the paper. Most padding presses are set at an angle for this purpose, but it is a feature you may want to look for. The General Graphic PP-2 padding press (found here) is an example of a press with a nice tilted base.
  • Material – This isn’t quite as important in purchasing a machine, but you should be aware that most padding presses are made mostly out of wood. Some, especially those made by Martin Yale, are made from metal. While metal is nice, the wood padding presses hold up remarkably well.
  • Glue Padding glue (found here) is available in both white and red colors and in pint or gallon containers. The glue usually takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes to try depending on how thick you put it on. Some people like to leave the padding press for 30 minutes to an hour in order to ensure everything has dried properly.
  • Tools – There are a few padding tools (found here) you may want to buy for your padding press. This includes the glue, a padding brush, a pad counter (aka paper stabber) and a pad knife. The padding brush is used to apply the glue, the pad counter makes it easy to separate large padded stacks into equal smaller pads and the padding knife is designed to make it easy to cut the glue on larger pads into smaller pads. I recommend you at least have glue and a brush for your padding press.

This is how a padding press works:

  1. Put the paper in the padding press.
  2. Tighten down the paper clamps to keep the paper held tightly in place.
  3. Remove the back jogging plate from the padding press.
  4. Apply the glue to the back of the notepad.
  5. Wait for the glue to dry.
  6. Loosen the clamps
  7. Remove the paper.

It really is that easy. The longest part of padding your own notepad is the glue drying time.

Here is a video demo of a padding press in use:

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If you want to create your own scratch pads and notepads, you should seriously consider using a paper padding press. The machines themselves are pretty cheap, but they can literally be used for years. I have heard of people with a padding press over a decade old that are still using them as if they were new. I have found that schools, doctor’s offices and other businesses like to use padding presses. You can find our entire selection of padding presses here.

We have been selling padding presses since 1980, so we have a lot of experience on using them and choosing a good model. Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 for answers to your padding questions. If you own one, or have some additional advice, please feel free to post that information right here as a comment. Thank you for reading and have a great day!

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