For their visit, we had a little project on press called “The Pressroom Creed” – printing on 220lb Lettra and will be available soon for sale on our site. It is an adaptation of the better known Rifleman’s Creed, but for letterpress printers. Seriously, everyone in our pressroom must memorize this and we say it together each morning.
We are all moved in to our new subterranean space and feverishly printing projects with many talented designers. We look forward to getting back to blogging new work again soon.
Here’s how our press room is taking shape and some pics of the epic Heidelberg S Cylinder press installation. It was a little unnerving watching our “new” machine suspended mid air. The riggers used a big outdoor forklift to position the press and then four chain drops to lower it from the forks down a large hatch into the basement. It was then rolled into place and suspended again to slip an oil drip pan underneath. It is now glued to the floor and wired in. We are doing print testing to get it up and printing smoothly. This press will allow us to letterpress print LP jackets, pocket folders, and posters up to a 21 x 28 sheet format. We are excited to see what it will print first.
It is good to grow our shop a little bit even as other areas of the print industry are suffering. Magazines and newspapers are trying to figure out how to survive and adapt to the iPad publication model. Books are served up electronically. Large offset printing companies are cutting entire plants. Yet the tiny niche of letterpress printing is seemingly holding steady. We’ve built our reputation on unique custom letterpress work with demanding standards. It is interesting to stand here in a print shop at a historical time declared the “end of print” and see how craftsmanship still remains such a meaningful and critical part of print design.
Last night we had a rockin’ time showing off our studio space and letterpress shop to Minnesota AIGA members. A big thanks to Minnesota’s AIGA chapter for giving us the opportunity. We talked about the relationship of letterpress and design, did some Q&A, drank some Pabst Blue Ribbon and wrapped up the event with a little coaster project on press. Take a look at the coaster sheet – it’s 60pt Ahlstrom blotter paper. We pre printed a couple colors before people arrived. Then, we had a different color set up on both of our Vandercook presses. Everyone got to pull a couple prints, then we die cut the sheet into the set of four coasters. Lots of paper touching and good times had by all. Thanks Kayd Mustonen for taking some pics to share.
So what happens when you are happily letterpress printing along and accidentally pull a print on your top sheet? If you leave that ink there it gets on the back side of the next dozen impressions you pull. Even if you wipe it away with a rag, there can still be some residual ink transfer. We keep a bottle of baby powder in the press room to deal with the problem. After we wipe the top sheet with a rag to remove as much ink as possible, we break out the baby powder. A small shake of powder rubbed on the tympan paper top sheet helps stop the remaining ink from transferring on the backs of future impressions. And you’ll have the bonus of smelling like a clean babies bottom.