First Custom Job

As I mentioned last post, I’m currently working on several custom jobs. Today I set about printing, and I’m pretty happy with the results of this calling card:

It’s referred to as a “calling card” both because of the simple amount of information, and because it’s slightly bigger than a regular business card at 2.5″ x 3.5″. I had been wanting to try out French Paper’s Muscleonte paper (140#), and since Barbara wanted an aqua color this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I was curious to see if the extra heavy weight would take an impression well, but it seems it was a little too “muscular.” I finally got a decent impression after adding a lot of packing, but I probably won’t use this paper again.

As for ink, I finally dove in and bought some Earth Pride from Braden Sutphin last week on a recommendation from a fellow letterpresser. It’s vegetable based, contains less than 5% V.O.C.s, and comes in all the regular Pantone colors, unlike Van Son’s VS Zero which I was previously excited about. I decided it would just be too difficult to try and mix colors using only the CMYK of VS Zero, but since I bought some I may test out some of the solid colors at some point. Overall, I’m really happy with the Earth Pride. It doesn’t really smell like much, which makes my headache-prone sinuses very happy. It’s a little on the soft side, but not unworkable. It definitely forms a crust in the can and isn’t meant to be left “open” on the press for extended periods of time, but neither of those things really bother me. Cleanup was really quite easy using only vegetable oil. I’ll probably continue to experiment with other inks, but for now I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got.

As long as I had all the packing and everything set up on the press, I decided to go ahead and test print using some of my hand made papers recycled from junk mail. At some point I’d love to be using all my own paper, and after this exciting test I think it will just be a matter of figuring out how to produce sheets with consistent thickness. My various papers took impression much better than the French Paper, and I think the textural elements look really snazzy:

I was a little afraid of ink bleed on the hand made papers, but as you can see the print stayed really crisp. This means that either the papers rock, the inks rock, or the combination of the two rocks! I’m really excited to see that it worked, because I was starting to think that printing on my own papers wouldn’t be feasible. WOO!!

Note to self: Rubber bands are your friends, until they’re not.
I’ve realized that it’s pretty necessary to use a rubber band across the grippers of the Pilot, because I rarely use a sheet of paper big enough to be held on by the grippers. This was working well, as I had the rubber band positioned perfectly across the middle of the card where there was no printing. Until about the last 25 cards or so, I was getting pretty frustrated by an indentation in the cards I was sure was due to some uneven packing under the tmypan. Then the rubber band slipped a little and actually blocked out part of the print, and I realized it had been sitting right where the impression was happening.

I moved said rubber band higher up on the card so it just barely hit some of the crop marks, and all of my problems were solved. No more random impression, no more uneven print. I got a decent amount of prints done once I had fixed the problem, but I wish I had noticed it sooner. I can’t wait until I’ve been doing this for a bit longer and I have all these things stored up in my brain. Someday my prints will be perfect…or closer anyway. I find that in general, letterpress is a really good lesson in imperfection for me. And with that – I’m off…maybe more printing this weekend!

Pulp & Press Soundtrack 6/5/09: Depeche Mode (Hole To Feed).

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About Nina

I am a design consultant, writer, letterpress printer, nature enthusiast, and lover of local/organic food...with a dash of rock and roll. Also, I want to be a cowboy.
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