Friday, March 21, 2008

Varied Noisy - 1st colour




Just a sneak preview of what I'm working on at the moment - 400 x 2 colour postcards printed in wood and metal type. Second and final colour will be printed tomorrow morning, so stay tuned for the final product. But first, a little about my day...

Wood type and I are not friends.

Oh, it's such a lovely result when the prints are done, but the makeready is unbelievable. Or maybe I'm just exceptionally bad at working with wood type. Either way, I spent a good few hours today adding packing to behind the worn wooden letters to get them to type high. That's fine, I actually like doing that, but when every attempt gets a completely different result? Augh.

So it took me a long time to realise that each time I loosened the quoins, took out a letter, packed it, replaced it again and tightened the quoin, the pressure of tightening was causing the forme to bow just a little. I never overtighten the quoins, so it wasn't obvious at first. In the end, I placed a weight on the forme as I was tightening the quoins (making sure not to damage any type). Ok, problem fixed. From there, I ran a few (hundred) more proofs, every now and then having to stop and pack a letter which mysteriously shrank in height. After a while of doing this, I was able to predict how the letters moved in the forme after each impression. The pressure of each new print is enough to push some letters back (even if you thought it was flat on the table first) - causing them to 'mysteriously' shrink in height. So after a few impressions and tweaking, I had a good forme to print from.

PS. I'm on the hunt for a decent guillotine. I've been cutting paper by hand and sending bigger jobs to friends who can help, but I really think it's time to get one for myself. They can be so expensive so it's proving to be a challenge. Now, to ebay or not to ebay...

4 comments:

Ben Leivian said...

Great looking prints sofar. I can't wait to get my hands on any kind of letterpress (in Arizona). Your question about a cutter jogged my memory about a post on another site: http://dolcepress.com/blog/2008/01/30/xd-500-paper-cutter/

may day studio said...

These are lovely! Wood type (in my experience) takes an unbelievable amount of makeready...when I teach broadside-printing, my students are in awe of the sheer tedium of cutting and pasting tiny bits of paper to the backs of type. But when they're just right...watch out!

Kelly

Rose said...

Great blog.

Have you tried using masking tape under the wood blocks for makeready? It often works much better than cutting out bits of paper for me.

Looks like it was worth it in the end!

Poppy Letterpress said...

Hi rose, yes I actually used mainly masking tape to pack the type for this job, didn't know if it was the 'right' thing though, so it's good to know someone else does it too!