After reading a few blogs about the troubleshooting of letterpresses and the process of printing, I decided it would be helpful and/or entertaining to chronicle my own process. I first began letterpressing almost 2 years ago, and up until now I have either been taking classes or renting press time at places like Evanston Print and Paper. I have finally collected the money, space, and time to buy my own presses and although I’m excited – I’m sure there will be lots of trial and error and some frustration involved. Here’s one of the babies I’m going to test out next weekend, a New Style (motorized) 8 x 12 Chandler & Price platen press:
I’ll need to get new rollers for it, but those are supposedly readily available. I’ll also need all sorts of bits and bobs – furniture, ink, boxcar base, key…I’m going to try and make a more comprehensive list soon. The other press I’ll be buying is about 1/4th the size of this one, but since it’s more portable it is highly sought after and costs more than twice as much: the Chandler & Price Pilot. That guy will be going in my office/studio at home, whereas the big fella will be parked in a warehouse I’m thankfully being given free access to! Only problem with that is that it’s a big warehouse, and the heat/AC factor is pretty minimal. Might have to see about erecting some small walls and getting a space heater or something.
I’ve done most of my printing thus far on Vandercooks, which seems to be the press of choice for most schools. Maybe they’re less intimidating because there aren’t as many motorized parts, and maybe it’s also because there’s less potential for you to get a body part flattened. I have to admit that platen presses still make me a little nervous, so I’m just going to be printing reaallly slowly until I fully get the hang of it. The great thing about platen presses, though, is that they’re so much more versatile. I’ll be able to set them up to print, die cut, AND score. And hopefully my shoulder won’t feel like it’s about to fall off like after doing 400 prints on a Vandercook. Perhaps my next posting will be dedicated to the pros and cons of platen vs. flatbed presses…
I also intend to post here about making paper, which is another one of my favorite things to do and something I will be selling in my Tweedle Press shop as soon as I’ve made some more.