Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Invitations completed

I'm a bad lil blogger. I finished the invites over a week ago now, but have only just sat down to blog them.

The final set:
  • Invitation
  • 6 page booklet, hand bound
  • RSVP card
  • RSVP envelope
  • Large envelope
So. Things I've learnt from making these invites:
  1. Try to pay someone else to do the invites if you can. If you know a good graphic designer, use them. Unfortunately, I hired myself!
  2. Try to remember to include in the RSVP: details for names of guests, and special dietry requirements. Guess who didn't remember.
  3. Get wedding invites done at least 4 months before the special day if you can. There were other wedding things that I should've been working on at this time.
  4. Adanas just weren't made for big runs.
  5. Make sure your rollers are perfect before commencing a big run like this.
  6. Get someone else to guillotine for you.
  7. Double or triple your allocated time limit for making the invites.

Overall, I'm reasonably happy with them. We've had great responses from the recipients so far.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My new press

Meet my new press!

I raced up to Brisbane overnight to see it before arranging transport. It was everything I hoped it would be. It's rather large, but not too big, moves quietly and fluidly, and is in good condition with little rust. The owner even set up the motor and rollers so I could see it in action. It's not as fast as I thought it would be, so I might not even have to slow it down. I've taken videos of it as well, and as soon as I work out how to upload them, I'll post the link here.

Will post more about it later I'm sure, but for now I have to be quick as I'm sleepy. As of tonight, I've found a transport company that says they can move the press for me, so I'll try to arrange that in the next couple of days.

While I was in Brisbane, I visited John, who one of my dear blog-readers told me about. His home was filled with type of all shapes and sizes, wood and metal. Sheds of type as well... heaven! I'll refrain from posting photos of his home, but here's just a sample of some of his type:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Invitations update

The large swirls on the original design of the invites just weren't working with my dodgy rollers, so I replaced them with a smaller version that the rollers could handle. Thank goodness they're done.

And now on to the booklets! We're making a 6 page booklet to go with the invites. They include a cover, info on the historic town we're getting married in, accommodation options, a map, gift registry, and the RSVP. Yes, I like doing things the hard way.

Rather than cut up 400 of the postcard-size pages ourselves, my good mate Mel took them to work (she works at an offset printers) and asked one of the boys to guillotine them for me. So I now have a free source for guillotining and scoring. Just have to make sure the sheets are as flat as possible before sending them their way. Once again, don't buy paper on a roll. Buy the sheets.

After a week of trying every trick possible to print the invites, I was expecting all kinds of drama with the booklet pages. Luck was on my side tonight though. I had first colour of the About, Accommodation and RSVP pages done with little worry. Best printing I've ever done on the Adana, and I'm more than a little pleased with myself tonight. All of the Accommodation and RSVP pages are clear and crisp prints with just enough of an impression and ink weight. That's 180 pages. VERY HAPPY. It's quite an enjoyable process when it all works!! I've been on a high all night.

The text for these pages will be black, so hopefully easier to print (black always works better). I'll do them tomorrow. I'm hoping to have all of the booklet pages completed by the end of tomorrow night. That's another 9 plates, or 540 passes through the press. Yeah. Long day tomorrow.

After that, my fiancee and I will bind them. We're debating how we'll do this, but rest assured, it will be the longest, most labour and time intensive way possible :)

PS. Thanks to PG from Middle of Nowhere for a mention on their blog. Now that I've discovered this gorgeous blog, I must make time to sit down and read through it properly. Oh how I love new blogs!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Ok, third post in one night. Sorry.

Just a quick shoutout to Amanda, who found my blog, and then me. I shared an inspiring phonecall with her last night. It's fantastic to know that this blog is being read by others who are finding it useful. It motivates me so much, so a big thanks to Amanda and everyone :)

Wedding invite issues

Spent the last two days trying to print our wedding invites. I mean full days.
The invites are split into these plates:
  1. Green pattern bar at top
  2. Main text
  3. Last 6 lines of text
  4. Little 8mm 'flourish' to break up text
  5. Large swirls over top pattern bar.
The first thing to go wrong was user error - the text plate was longer than my base. Yeah, I really thought that one through. Hence the cutting the text plate into 2 separate parts. The whole thing is only 2 colour, but 5 passes. Brilliant idea. I mean really, why make it simple when you can be this difficult?
The green bar had the most detail, but surprisingly printed easiest. The detail came out, and they looked great.

Then the main text. I didn't think this would be too difficult, but this is the stage where I realised that my rollers were uneven. They have a 0.3mm dip in the middle. So they inked up evenly, but left a random uninked line on my plate. Normally, turning the rollers a few degrees solves this problem, but it just wasn't happening this week.

I got it done eventually, and then added the last 6 lines of text and the green flourish. I'm not happy with the quality of printing at all on these. I'm a perfectionist though, and my fiancee assures me they just have a quaint 'handmade' feel to them now.

The last few hours have been spent trying to print the swirl at the top. You might recall seeing the digital preview of this a couple of posts back. I had no luck with it. Heavy ink, light ink, rollers too high, rollers too low. For tonight, I am admitting defeat. We're looking into other design options now. I have a small version of the swirl that I might use instead. Less surface area. Will try in the morning.

Things I've learnt:

  1. Don't expect to get an impression with an Adana. If you do, bonus.
  2. Don't decide to print your own deep impression wedding invites without first understanding Point 1.
  3. All the problems I was having with the wood base a few weeks ago? Yeah, that wasn't actually the base causing all those problems afterall. It's my rollers. They're not even. They need replacing. This is a bad thing to discover as you start to print wedding invites on a very short timeline.
  4. You need to respect the age of a press like this. It will be old, and may have travelled far and wide. It will have character. This can be good or bad. Either way, it is still a beautiful machine.
  5. My new metal base is the bees knees. It is shiny, and even, and perfect. Plates stick to it with just a little spray adhesive and don't curl up if the weather gets hot. It is so easy to clean up.
  6. Nail polish remover - now an essential part of my clean-up process. A little nail polish remover on a cotton bud cleans up ink and spray adhesive easily. It evaporates quickly, so the base and plates are ready to go in seconds after cleaning. The fumes don't hang around like kerosene. It doesn't eat photopolymer plates. Only use it for little touch-ups, and cleaning off spray adhesive though. Oil or kero for main cleanup of press and rollers still.

Ok, I think that covers it. Will try the alternative design tomorrow and post the results.

Found a floor press

Today's blogging will come in the form of two posts. A lot's been happening.

First post: The good news

Yes, I found a Chandler & Price OldStyle for sale, about a 10 hr drive from where I live. I looked into various transport options, and decided that, though difficult, this was the only option I really had.

A day later I dropped in to see the local printer who had made the film for my wedding invite plates. I showed him the press online, but he wasn't convinced it was a good buy. Needed a bit of work. After talking to him about how rarely presses like this come up and that my options were few, he googled for 2 minutes and not only found me a press in better condition that was possibly easier to transport... but it was FREE.

So I spent a good deal of my afternoon talking to the owner, Ken, and getting very excited. It sounds like it's in great condition, last used about 4 years ago, kept indoors, had a good even impression, 2 rollers in good condition (it holds 3, but Ken always printed with just the 2), and is motorised. I've already looked into options for slowing the speed right down. Ken's also got a chase for it, and some quoins and furniture that he'll also throw in. All. For. FREE.

So this is the press:

It's a Collie's Paragon. If anyone out there knows more about this brand, please contact me. There is nothing on the net about it. Our best guess is that it's actually a C&P NewStyle that was badged "Collie's Paragon". I think Collie's was actually an ink company at the time. Ken's guess is that the press is about 80 years old.

Runs on mains power, not three-phase. Ground size is 1.2m x 1.2m (inc. flywheel, axis) and stands about 5 ft high ("wife-high" as Ken put it). This is a huge press. I really wasn't looking for one this big. But again, it's FREE.

It's in Brisbane, so I'm going to fly up in the next week or two to inspect it properly. Ken's willing to give me a bit of a lesson as well, so I'm looking forward to that.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Press questions

Ok, let's just say hypothetically I was looking for a C&P floor press. Let's just say hypothetically I found one, and needed to ask the hypothetical owner some hypothetical questions about the condition of the press to see if it's hypothetically the right one for me... Just hypothetically.

What questions would you recommend I ask? What are some things I'd need to watch out for?