Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Come Over and Print!

One of the great things about having our own print shop is inviting friends over to print. We get to share our hobby with others and have a get-together with people we like. Often we share lunch or dinner, too. It’s a fun way to socialize and to do something we enjoy at the same time.

This past weekend we had our friend Lynn over to print a bookmark. She’d chosen a favorite quote on writing, an interest she and I share. Lynn is my writing partner, and got me started blogging. Her weekly blog, Present Letters, is a memoir written as a series of letters to her mother. You can view it at this web address: http://www.lynnobermoeller.blogspot.com. Her blog this week features her write-up and pictures of her printing session at our house.

Lynn has worked in our print shop before, so she knows something about letterpress. And she’s willing to be patient and work with a project until it looks just right.

We began by suggesting possibilities for typefaces. Since we have over 900 fonts, it helps to narrow things down a little! Lynn chose Grolier, an old MacKellar Smiths and Jordan script patented in 1887. After she set it in 24 point, the quote filled three lines, a nice size for a bookmark.

Lynn looked at a number of cuts that related to books and writing. She ended up with an older cut of a quill pen and inkwell that harmonized well with the quote. She proofed the type she’d set on our Poco proof press, and corrected the inevitable typos.

We dug around on our paper shelves and came up with some possibilities. Lynn decided on a heavyweight grey stock and black ink – a classic look. She also set “Printed by Lynn Obermoeller in the Mullens’ Printshop” in 8 point Garamont vertically at the right end of the bookmark.

After a little more tweaking to position the cut in just the right spot, the form was ready for lockup. We inked up our 8 x 12 Chandler and Price, put the chase in the press, and positioned the gauge pins.

The first impression on plain paper was nice and even – no big makeready problems this time! A few more measurements with the line gauge to make sure everything was straight, and the bookmark was ready to roll. Showtime! Lynn hand-turned the big flywheel of the press and triumphantly held up her first impression. Perfect!

She produced several more bookmarks for an edition of 75. Then this most courteous of guests helped us distribute the form! After all the letters, spaces, leads, and slugs were back in place, we adjourned upstairs to gloat over the bookmark we’d printed. What a fun way to spend time with a friend – come over and print something! We heartily recommend it.

Lynn sets type for the quote on her bookmark.

The form is locked up in the chase, ready for the press.


  1. I stumbled up on your blog while looking searching for blogs about printing. I am taking a print class & mentioned setting type on my blog. I've mentioned your blog & this post here: http://fivesixteenthsblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/make-it-mondays-light-as-feather-heavy.html
    hope you'll pop by!

    ps. Love your blog, loads of inspiration for a beginner like me!

  2. Thank you, Moe! I'm glad that you enjoyed the blog. Thank you for the mention. Your blog looks great, too --lots of fun crafts and art projects to try! I'm happy to hear you're interested in letterpress. If you haven't already discovered them, two very helpful websites are http://www.apa-letterpress.com and http://www.briarpress.org.