Cards and Experiments

:: the tricky little lock-up ::

I printed some new business cards for myself last week. To save money, I set the card on wood and metal type instead of getting a polymer plate and printed the cards on scraps I had gathered from previous projects. Setting the type and getting the composition just right took some time, but the printing was quick and easy. I switched colors a few times for variety. To make them more versatile I trimmed them long and narrow so that they can double as bookmarks and price labels for books as well. 

:: done and done ::

I also did some polymer plate experiments on my Chandler & Price, Junior. So far, I've only printed wood and metal type on it. Polymer is a little fussier and I was worried the results wouldn't be so great. I set up a variety of plates, a halftone, a block of large text, and another much finer lined text. Not bad at all, these aren't even the recommended deep relief polymer plates. 

:: nice ::

:: very nice ::

:: little over inked, but nice! ::

That's a relief. Good job little C&P. 

Green Days

:: that's my mom ::
Summer is here, the trees are green, and so is the new typecase! Last weekend, I visited my parents in Delaware, we took a walk in Brandywine Creek state park. I live in South Philadelphia, where apparently they hate trees for reasons I will never understand. Going to Delaware is a nice change.
:: that's my new typecase ::
Last month was very productive. I spent a lot of it cleaning and rearranging the studio, which certainly is looking better than before. I also made my first test print on the press. To give you an update on the press, all that needs to be done now is

- reattach the feed boards
- figure out where it's going to sit in the studio
- plug it in!

:: that's the Cooper wood type in the back that I'm dying to use ::

I'm so happy I bought these type cases. I didn't really have the room for them, but now that I've sold my old typecase and the galley cabinet, I know I made the right decision. Look at all that wood type!

:: and that's more wood type ::

Things are looking pretty good. There's days where I feel completely overwhelmed, but I know I'm doing something right. I just need to be patient.

The First Print

:: first print ::

This weekend, after a year of searching and false starts, cleaning and oiling, adjusting and taping, I finally pulled a print on my very own press.

It may not look like much, but this print is the beginning of much, much more...

Note: In case you're wondering why this print looks the way it does, it was a test print to make sure that the platen, the flat metal surface on which you lay your paper, was perfectly parallel to the press bed, the other flat metal surface on which your type sits. To test this, I set type in all four corners of the chase (the chase is the frame that holds your type, see picture) and adjusted the platen until all four corners printed evenly and equally.

If you're trying to do this, here's the information I found most useful.

How to Adjust/Level the Platen on a Chandler & Price

- First, make sure your rollers are set properly (this is an entirely different animal)

- Spray the platen adjustment bolts with some WD-40 and let them sit for a few minutes. While you're waiting you can do this. (adapted from Green Dolphin Press's FAQ's)

Get a cap M or H, 48 pt. or larger, something you're certain is type high. Tape a 2 pt. lead to the face. Find a piece of string a couple of feet long and tie one end around the sides of the type. Remove the tympan and all packing. Close the press, stopping it with the platen lock (under the delivery board) snapped into place and the rollers at the top of the plate.Grasp the string and let the piece of type slide down between the platen and bed on the left side. If it won't go in, the platen is too far in. If it rattles around, the platen is too far out.

- Each bolt has two nuts. The one closest to the platen, top bolt, is the one that actually raises or lowers the platen. The one furthest from the platen, bottom bolt, locks the adjustment in place. It must be loosened first to make an adjustment and then tightened once the adjustment has been made.

- Get
two wrenches.

- Use a wrench to loosen all the bottom bolts by turning them counter-clockwise. Using the type on the string as a guide, judge where the platen needs to be adjusted in or out.

- Now you can adjust the platen by turning top bolt. Turn it counter-clockwise where the platen is too far out, this will raise it and close the space. Turn it clockwise where the platen is too far in, this will lower it and increase the space.

Make you adjustments slowly, bit by bit, back and forth, using the type on the string as your guide. To lock your settings, hold the top bolt with one wrench, and tighten the bottom bolt with your other wrench.

- Put on your rollers and ink up the press. Set 4 48 point or larger, definitely type high pieces of type in all four corners about 5 picas from the edge of the chase. (see picture). Put in regular packing, a sheet of tympan paper on top, a piece of red board bellow, and a couple sheets of text weight smooth paper under that. Pull a print and take a look. Add packing if needed.

Where it's printing light, raise the platen, where it's darker, lower the platen. Look at the back of the sheet too to see make sure the impression is the same in all four corners. Remember, make your adjustments slowly, back and forth. Every time you make an adjustment, lock it in, and then pull a print. This will take a while, when you move one, it will affect the others slightly, but eventually you'll zero it in.

- Congratulations, you just leveled the platen.

Fortune Cookie

A fortune cookie told me the other day, do not let what you do not have, prevent you from using what you do have. I answered, how did you know I was secretly obsessing over not having found a Vandercook yet? It replied 39 5 12 4 7.

That cookie is right. It's so damn right. I'm lucky to have a space and great little Chandler & Price just waiting to get to work. Yes, I still want that Vandercook. Really bad. But it may be awhile before I find the right one...at the right price.

Yesterday, I took pictures of the galley cabinet, type case, and now furniture cabinet I've decided to sell. There is now a flickr set with measurements, descriptions, and prices of what I am selling to make room in the studio. I'll be posting it on Briar Press soon too.

While I was there, I shot a quick video of me turning the flywheel of the press, so you can see the motion of the press. Plus you get to see how awkward I am around cameras.


Press Month began on Sunday with the addition of a two new type cases to the studio. As you can see in the photograph below, I have not yet found space for said type cases...It looks like I will be playing a little studio Stackenblochen.

:: Type Type Type! ::

But who can resist type!

Borders, ornaments, and oh so much more...

...and glorious, glorious wood type.

No, I couldn't resist. This means though that I am cut off.
That's it. No more. My 500 square foot studio has reached capacity.

By the way, this month, I'll be selling a single type cabinet (with type) and a galley tray cabinet, that also contains type, dies, and spacing material. You, dear readers, have first dibs. Please email me if you're interested.

So here we go, Press Month begins, and I submit to you this "before" picture, and we'll see where we are come June.

:: before ::

It's Press Month!

That's right, Press Month has begun. May is the month that I have decided to devote all my time and energy to getting my little C&P running and generally, putting the studio in order so that things will run a bit more efficiently at Huldra Press. Thanks to the timely arrival of the tax refund check, I'll be able to do all these things and also pay the rent.

:: that's Junior ::

It's been two months since I bought the press, during which I've given it a thorough cleaning and added oil to all the oil points. So now, when you give the flywheel a good push, it all the parts move smoothly and silently, which is very, very good.

Next, I need to
- level the press
- adjust the platen
- adjust the rollers using tape
- reattach the feed boards
- reconnect the variable speed motor

And print!

Since I don't have any exciting photographs of this great endeavor just yet, instead I'll share some things I've been looking at.

I really love David Neale's jewelry and recommend that you take a look at his charming blog and website to see the variety of work he makes. And I want these very badly.

A group of (handmade!) sketchbooks by the artist. Beautiful color and pattern.

There's something wonderfully 90's about this album art, if you follow the link, you can see a video clip of the booklet which comes with the cd, which is quite nice.

Yo Teach!

:: that's me leaning on the press in my jaunty vest ::

I taught my first class last Saturday, hosted by Aimee Wilson of Red Wheel Press and I had a great time, thanks to our wonderful students. The class covered the fundamentals setting type and printing on and maintaining a Vandercook proof press.

:: setting type ::

After the demo, everyone designed, set the type for, and printed their own personalize stationery. We're going to post a schedule of upcoming workshop dates very soon, so I'll keep you updated and please spread the word if you have any friends that might be interested.

:: printing ::

Last Friday (it was a busy week) I also bought a press, his name is Junior and he is a 8x12 Chandler & Price New Style. Thanks to my friend Mike who lent us his time and truck and my boyfriend Mike, who helps me so much... I can't even tell you, and the other Mike who sold me the press, the move went without a hitch and it was in my studio, safe and sound, in 3 hours.

Those of you who have been following the blog for awhile will know that I've been spending the last year restoring another press, a 10x15 Chandler & Price Old Style. After many ups and downs, hours and hours of research and elbow grease, and sometimes tears, I finally decided to let it go. I posted an ad on Briar Press and am selling it in parts, in hopes that it'll be of use to other printer's restoring their presses.

The old press wasn't a total loss though, I learned so much, and this time around made a much wiser purchase. The press needs a good cleaning, but it's complete so, fingers crossed, it should be up and running in a month or two.

:: oil wells ::

The niftiest thing about the new press, Junior, has got to be these little lidded wells for oiling. They're adorable and functional!

:: monkey ::

That's all for now, it's going to be a very busy next couple of months, so I'll be posting new work and progress on the press whenever I can. Thanks for reading!