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! 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Trucks and a Chase!

I found the "Golding Guru" through Briar Press (there are links to both of the pages to the right). Lucky for me, he happened to have 2 original Pearl trucks and a chase. Here they are right out of the package: 

The two "new" trucks don't have the slit in them for the pins on the end of the roller. The roller that was missing the trucks had pins on both sides, so I had to remove them both. The first slipped right out, but the second one put up a bit of a fight. Here is everything put together. Say goodbye to the exploded rollers though, I'm sending them off to be recovered.

We also took off the tympan bales and grippers to give them a thorough clean (and some straightening). Here's pop putting everything back together. 

He has also got the motor running, despite it's old age, it looks like it will work great.  The picture I've poster next to the motor shows the awesome little roller rack installed under the press. My friend Ryan the woodworker is going to hook me up with brand new feed and delivery boards (I just picked out some lovely hickory with him today - it's creamy yellow), maybe I can get him to make me a door for the underneath compartment to match . . .

Cleaning Up

2 parts vinegar, 1 part lemon juice. This is the best thing I've found for getting rid of rust, look at my shiny, shiny ink disk.

Here are the three rollers and four trucks that the press came with (missing two trucks). Two of the trucks have a slot for pins that come off of the roller core so that the trucks and rollers will spin together. The roller that is missing its trucks has pins on both sides, while the other two rollers only have them on one side. 

Also, I've listed a link on the right to an AAPA information page about golding presses. There are diagram charts, catalogs, and other links that have been very helpful.

In other news, while I was away my dad did a lot of work getting the base of the press back to how it should be (and I hear he broke three ropes doing it!). Everything is nice and tight now, and the flywheel turns so well, the press practically runs by itself when you push it. 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bringing Home the Pearl

Early September I bought this Golding Pearl Improved #11 press at the University of Utah's redistribution center. It was in pretty good shape, but had a few problems and missing parts.  My lovely parents are nice enough to allow my new hunk of junk to live in their garage. So we tied it down as tight as we could and hauled it back to Ogden. As a bonus, I got a couple parts that don't belong to my press: a motor mount and some sort of roller. I also got a monster of a motor.

At some point in its life the press was detached from its base, and so over time it started to slip around, which started to split the two pieces of the base apart, and put pressure on the fly wheel. You can see the slip in the photo here. Other problems: rusty inking disk (and lots of other things), petrified double stick tape on the platen, two hard rollers, one exploded-hotdog-in-the microwave looking roller, a few bent pieces, two missing trucks, and a missing chase. Other than that, it's great!