So Speedy!

So I went in to print on my 8×12 last week, and I decided that with 300 prints at 3 passes each I absolutely HAD to get brave enough to use the motor. Pushing the wheel with every print for all 300 of the Empty Boxes teaser cards (and sometimes an extra push in between for more ink) nearly killed me – but really wouldn’t have been possible to use the motor with. I had to firmly slide the inside fluting of the cardboard onto several gauge pins to keep them in place – something that took more time than a quick switching out would have allowed. So anyway, here are a few things I learned:

1. Ye who spends good time on makeready will be greatly rewarded.
I took my time measuring out sheet placement, gauge pin placement, and packing so that when it came time to actually run the (very nice & very expensive) paper through the press, the prints came out really nicely. That was pretty exciting.

2. Kort Adjustable Quad Guides are my friends.
Gauge pins and me, thus far, haven’t really gotten along. I finally decided to try some of the ones that Boxcar Press recommends, and they really are pretty sweet. Expensive, and they take a little extra time to get into the tympan, but you really feel like they’re going to stay put. Also, it’s much easier to adjust them a little without having to unstick and restick little clampy feet that tear up your tympan. Hooray for Kort!

(image from NA Graphics, where I bought the pins)

3. Printing with the motor on, even at speed 3 out of 15, is way faster.
Once I was happy with the quad guides, feeding the paper in and out was a cinch. Occasionally I’d have to push the throwoff lever, whether for more inking or to just give myself a little more time to get the paper in, but I think in all those prints I did I only managed to accidentally print on the tympan once. Not bad. This really makes me feel like an order someday for 1000 of something would be totally doable.

(now available for purchase on Tweedle Press and Etsy)

4. With heavy coverage, even a powerful 8×12 can’t get much impression.

Although the red bits of these cards created a good punch, the black printing area was just too heavy to really get into the paper. I suppose this is one of the limitations of a platen press. Maybe someday I’ll have a bigger studio and can find myself a nice Vandercook for jobs with heavy coverage.

5. Yes, I use sweater drying racks to dry my prints. What? It works.

And now for few miscellaneous notes:

  • Remember the cardboard postcards I printed the other week? Well, the website for Empty Boxes is finally up and you should check it out. This is a new company I’m part of that is trying to help companies reuse as many shipping boxes as possible before recycling or trashing. It’s totally eco, and totally neat.
  • Next week I’m participating in No Impact Week, which is a shortened version of Colin Beavan’s “No Impact Man” experiment. During this week, participants will take a hard look at everything they do in their daily lives the negatively affects the environment, and try to curb as much of it as possible. Hopefully some of the things we learn will turn into habits. Check it out!
  • I know I mention them frequently, but The Evanston Print and Paper Shop rocks! They routinely save my butt with last minute plates, paper cutting, and other things. In fact, I’m heading over there today to cut down the aforementioned Cheshire holiday cards.
  • Yesterday I added a new product to the Tweedle Press Shop and Etsy Shop: Dead Things / Birdo Coasters. Cute and creepy, makes a great gift!

Pulp & Press Soundtrack 11/6/09 (when I was printing): “I Was Wrong” (Social Distortion). Mike Ness makes killer music to print by.


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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