You may have been wondering why the radio silence for about 2 months now. Or maybe you haven’t, given that I’m an inconsistent blogger at best. If you’ve been following Facebook, Twitter, or been in my general vicinity recently, you’ll know that a lot of things have been going on in the Tweedle world. A couple of months ago, after a brief low point during which I actually applied for a job somewhere else, business really started to pick up in earnest. Up until now I’ve managed to run Tweedle Press out of my home, using my C&P Pilot (rarely), my 8×12 C&P (Leonard, frequently), and renting time on a Vandercook when necessary. Leonard’s current home is a warehouse in Skokie, which has been convenient and free (perfect for a business just getting started!) but climate challenging and with limited space. It became clear that I needed to start looking for a real shop and new equipment lickety split.
Several hundred ideas, real estate agents, building owners, emails, and space viewings later, I stumbled across the new home of Tweedle Press. It wasn’t listed on any website, and in fact the only reason I came across it was because I was determined to do a driving tour of all the areas closest to my home in Rogers Park and find something within walking distance. I called the number in the window of a cute little retail space on Greenview just off of Morse, and after many associated emails, calls, and faxes back and forth, finally secured the lease for my first ever commercial space.
Adorable, right? It reminds me of one of the little paper shops on the side street of Florence – sigh. I’ll get into the particulars of how I’m renovating the space in a later post, because for now I want to focus on the new equipment I’ve found and how I’m planning to get it in. Through various magical and mystical means (otherwise known as asking everyone in the local letterpress community), I was lead to a print shop out in Woodstock that is selling the 2 pieces of equipment I most desired: a Vandercook Universal 3, hereafter referred to as “Edward”:
As you can see from the above picture, Edward and Frank will all need to be moved out of their current shop with window views of the forest and wild turkeys. It’s fairly impossible to describe the house they’re in, but I’ll try. Their current owner is Edward Leibhardt, 91 and just recently moved to a nursing home, and he was an astrophysicist for NASA. He had this 3 story house with an observatory on top built into the side of a hill back in the 70s, and it is a maze of underground laboratories, a print shop, a violin making shop, woodworking shop, metalsmithing shop, and something referred to as a “prized engine room.”
In order to get the equipment out, we’ll have to have a mover drive up the precarious incline to the top of the hill where the house sits, disassemble various parts, take out the windows from the back, drive a truck with winch down a steep decline to the back of the house onto some grass, and pull everything out the windows.
Swinging by to pick up Leonard from the warehouse and getting everything into my street level shop will hopefully be a piece of cake compared to that. I’ve spent the last few weeks arranging for a mover to give me a quote, playing tetris with schedules to accommodate the mover, the daughter of the astrophysicist, the window guys, the tow truck guys, my painter for the shop, and myself to try and get this insane feat accomplished. The mover believes it will be at least a 3-4 day process, but I’m currently getting an estimate from another specialist to see what they come up with.
Bottom line is, I will be a vary happy camper when this is all over with. It may end up costing just as much if not more to move the equipment as it will to buy it. This has to be one of the most epic moves for a small letterpress print shop ever! And even once the equipment has arrived safely, I’ll still have to give it all a thorough cleaning and likely have new rollers and other pieces updated before it’s functional. Stay tuned…