Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's alive!

Are you excited? Well you should be. Here is my first Pearl printing adventure. Firstly, don't make a wood chase. Well, maybe in a pinch, but reinforce it lots. And lots. We made this one to try to get around the chase-clamp problem. The rollers are the right height for the ink disk and the type, so my idea of putting tires on the trucks flew out the window. We decided the chase might be slightly the wrong size (the one I have was made for a #3, not a #11). The wood chase expanded far too much from the quoin pressure, so I decided just to run with the #3 chase for now since it isn't damaging the rollers.

Here's the platen all set up, with giant balloon letters, before and after inking up. I ran it once very slowly and carefully without ink to make sure I wasn't going to squash anything in the process of adjusting the platen.

We adjusted the platen's height with the four screws on the back. We started with the platen closed, so we could get it approximately the right height, and then tinkered with them one by one by trial and error. I was very conservative with the pressure, focusing on getting the print even. I'll probably have to raise it a bit more in the future. Wowza, look at it go (don't worry, we oiled it right after I shot this.):


If you had told me that the first thing I would print would be set in Balloon I probably would have punched you. But, alas, it was the right size and price (free) for the job. I'm starting to talk myself into thinking its charming. But first things first. 

Check out the before and after job I did on this composing stick. Wowza, again lemon juice & vinegar combo blows my mind (this one took a lot of scrubbing though). But seriously, look at that:

But, where did all that wood furniture under the composing stick in the after picture come from, you ask? I picked it up from a Salt Lake printer/machinist, along with some 12 pt Caslon oldstyle, and 8 pt Garamond. I also got some fancy rule. Just in case you were wondering, this is what an 8 pt M looks like. Now imagine transferring a whole case of this stuff into a new drawer. 

In order to not make a ginormous unreadable post, I'll make a separate one for the printing.

Just like Christmas!

Brand-spanking new rubber rollers ordered from Ramco Roller Products in San Diego - so nice and squishy. Here they are on the press right out of their wrappings:

The rollers look perfect, but they are slightly rubbing the chase clamp as they roll over the top of it - not ideal. Another problem added to the things to fix list.

My lot of rust-encrusted letterpress junk from ebay also arrived this weekend: a counter, a slug cutter, composing sticks, a key and quoins, lots o' rule, and other random pieces I probably don't need. The composing sticks are particularly nasty. Lookey!