Saturday, October 6, 2007

First print on the eight-five

So after a full day, I have sorted all of my loose mixed type into font categories. I can't believe it's taken this long. Right now they're all in neat little piles, which tomorrow I have to organise into their typecases. Out of this mess, I found Gill Sans regular, italic and bold in various sizes from 6pt to 12 pt; Times Roman in 8pt, 10pt, and 12pt; and a couple of other fonts that I haven't yet identified. Nothing terribly exciting, but considering I wasn't sure if I was getting any type with the presses, I'm rather happy.

If I can get organised in the next month, I'd like to print my wedding invites. To do this though, I'll need to print from plates. For the life of me, I can't find out where to get them made. I assume that most letterpress printers make their own. I'll have to keep looking.

This is my 'studio' at the moment. I'm getting ideas of how I'd like to set this room up permanently.

This is the Times Roman 8pt that I found in the boxes, all wrapped up since new. The rubber bands and sticky tape holding the package together were deteriorated, and the paper was a bit mouldy. My guess is that they were purchased some 20-30 years ago, and never opened. I also found Times Roman 10pt and 12pt.

Below are my big achievements for today. After organising type all day, I locked up a chase this evening and started experimenting with impression. It doesn't matter how much you read about it all, you really can't learn until you try it. A bit of trial and (a lot of) error, and this was the result. Heavy on the outside, light on the inside, but it's a start!

Couldn't help but ink up the type and have a go. I still need to clean the eight-five before I start printing on it, so for now I inked the type manually with a hand roller (hence the horrible coverage). This was using the Pantone ink that I received yesterday from Prestons. I think I'll be going back there to get more colours next week.

Things I learnt today:
  1. Adjustments made with the impression knobs behind the form aren't as easy as I first thought. It's not always obvious which knob to adjust.
  2. Strathmore wasn't the best paper to start with.
  3. Staring at tiny type all day gives me sore eyes.
  4. The composing stick is my friend. Especially when sorting type.
  5. I need more storage already.
  6. And the most obvious enlightenment I received today - after trying to pack the tympan with little luck (hard to do when you've never seen it done before!), I noticed this on Briar Press:

Well, duh. Makes sense, but just not obvious enough to me earlier today! I'd been folding the packing over the edge as well as the tympan. This was probably the cause of the light impression in the middle of my type. At least I know now. I'll try again tomorrow with better packing.

In other news, for those of you that haven't yet found it, go visit Sunlit Media's blog, Adventures in Letterpress. Besides inspiring me to create a blog to document my journey, it's been incredibly helpful watching someone else start from the beginning and achieve great results.

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