Letterpress

Top Deck (3)

…The next stage is to plan out the layout for the cards and run some set up prints…

The first part of this is locking up the type into the chase. This is more fiddly than you’d expect, and involves a fair bit of trial and error, inserting tiny slivers of metal to balance up the lines, then blocks of wood and metal (called furniture) to pack everything out:

As this was a test run, it really did not matter too much, but I quite enjoy the setting up so spent quite a while making sure everything as all set tight – if you look at the image on the left the ‘a’ is slightly lower, dure to some uneven packing, but a bit of finagling soon sorted this out. This adjustment is a matter of about one tenth of a millimetre…

And then to set up for printing. The forme was locked into the pressbed and inked up and a few test prints were made onto the cards – just to get the position right – I discarded these as soon as I knew that I could run prints at about the right place on the card. More fine tuning can be done later. 

I only printed six cards and found that I was very pleased with the first sighting, but unhappy with the quality of the print.

This is the first time I have printed on coated stock – card with a slightly shiny smooth surface and I think my set up works better on thicker, uncoated stock. Also the impression appears very slightly smudged, suggesting that I may be applying too much pressure – a lighter touch next time.

As I say, I am pleased with the general direction – clean and minimalist, but practical too.

As well as improving the print quality, I also want to work on the typesetting too – I like type that optically aligns (my students will testify to this!) and I need to apply the same standards here that I do on-screen, especially in the vertical alignment:

More work to do!

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One thought on “Top Deck (3)

  1. Looks like you’re using an Adona front lever, about a 3×5? Those are very capable presses, work from which can rival any Kluge or Heidelberg (or BF’s ‘common press’). You might have some skidding of the rollers over your forme, or your paper might be sliding a bit. Kelseys are somewhat similar.

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