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News 2015


Top 10 Lead Graffiti moments of 2015

These are the top 10 events relating to Lead Graffiti & letterpress that happened during 2015 in chronological order.

We were working to get our Harrild & Sons Albion set up by the end of the year. We ended up cutting it pretty close. The photo below was shot at 2:12 in the afternoon of December 31st. Now we can put this into our "Top 10 Moments of 2015."

The Albion was set up as well as we could figure out how to do it with suggestions from a few people who took to calling us or posting suggestions on [Handpress] listserv. We completely tore the impression mechanism down 4 times, every piece completely separated, all the way to taking the piston off. We were getting the feel of where the variables needed to be set before the chill fell out. We added washers under the spring, eventually taking them out. We still don't understand the math of exactly what changes happen between the different adjustments, but we got to an ending place. May be this is the rest area before we get to our final destination.

The pull of the handle feels at least close to right. The handle seems to be traveling the right distance and the pressure required to pull it all the way seems reasonable. A blind deboss of the Gutenberg 36-DK type seemed to be impressing generally across the whole surface.

I wanted our first try with ink to be with page of text from the Gutenberg 36-line Bible type. It seemed like it would provide a good test with a fairly solid printing area about 8" x 12".

We decided to just ink the type with a 4" roller and focus our concern more about the press actually printing over the whole surface, making sure things like the chill didn't fall out, etc. We wanted the inking to be fairly solid and black. We were going to try it with Mohawk Superfine #80 text without dampening..

A B O V E: This is the Harrild & Sons Albion after we felt we had adjusted things to at least a reasonably proper level. The pull felt pretty complete. We think the settings for the spring, crossbar and wedge are set pretty much at the edge and that much movement of any of those in the wrong direction will cause the chill to fall out.

P E R S O N A L   O B S E R V A T I O N : Ray is really started to fall in love with the industrial look of this Albion. Up until now it has been hard to not favor the earlier ones which tended to be fancier with more intricate delicate castings and more ornamention. Since Jill took an afternoon to clean the paint off the front of the piston (main vertical piece that looks like shiny metal) the visual weight of the press has taken a step forward. Industrial. We like that. We would love to take it apart one more time and have it sandblasted (with walnut shells and not sand) and repaint it. We want to do some form of brass piece to go in front of the spring to reflect the press' history from Laboratory Press to Lead Graffiti.

Q U E S T I O N : Which way does the wedge need to move to adjust when changing from thinner to thicker paper? And how far for how much change in thickness?

A B O V E : After having gotten a 36-line Gutenberg Bible page composed of handset metal type, I really wanted to print that as the first effort with the press. The area covered by the type was 8" x 12" and the blackletter type would provide a fairly solid surface to work with. It should provide a good test of how well things were working.

P E R S O N A L   O B S E R V A T I O N : The only 36-line bible in the United States is at the Princeton Library which isn't very far away. I'd really like to see if the page we have obtained matches a page in the original Bible.

Q U E S T I O N : Looking at the print it seems like we could straighten the right margin in a lot of instances. Is it worth doing?

A B O V E : Ray looking over the metal type to see if he can notice any see any places where the thin spacings that were used slipped. You can see below that the type is set solid.

P E R S O N A L   O B S E R V A T I O N : Ray really can hardly wait to try actually setting some of the type himself.

A B O V E : This view gives you an idea of the area (8" x 12") we were trying to print.

A B O V E : Tray inserting paper in the registration pins. We started to try printing on our Somerset Textured 300 gsm, but decided in favor of Mohwak Superfine 80# text. It felt like we needed to move the wedge to accommodate the thicker sheet, but then decided we really didn't want to move the wedge and have to pick the chill up off the floor. We'll leave the Somerset for another day. It would also work a lot better dampened and we were working dry.

A B O V E : We are new to the process so we tended to be generous with the ink just to see if all of the printing area was actually printing.

A B O V E : A nice view of the ink coming off the roller.

A B O V E : We don't have much of a sense of how hard you need to pull, but after a couple prints we started to double-team the Albion given the printing area of the Gutenberg type.

P E R S O N A L   O B S E R V A T I O N : I don't think we were printing that hard, but we surely didn't want to see the press breaking into pieces.

We also want to build some kind of stage that the press stands on where we can put a foot support that you can push against while pulling the handle. Would love to see some photos from other printers to see how they handle bracing themselves for the pull.

A B O V E : Another nice photo of Jill's.

P E R S O N A L   O B S E R V A T I O N : We need to bring something down from the ceiling to hold he frisket while we are working under it.

A B O V E : Tray pointing out a couple of letters that didn't print solidly.

P E R S O N A L   O B S E R V A T I O N : We need to get a proper roller for inking on the Albion. Steve Heaver gave us the place where he bought a 6" roller that was long enough to do this much text. Expensive, but at this point in the effort that doesn't seem like much of a wall to climb.

A B O V E : After inking for the next print Tray looked at the previously offending letters to see if they looked like they might be low.

A B O V E : Ray trying to look like he knows what he is doing.

A B O V E : Jill looking across the final "best" print. It took us 6 prints to get one that was universally solid, but I think we could have done them right after that.

P E R S O N A L   O B S E R V A T I O N : It seemed strange, but you could feel the advantage of printing on dampened paper. With that much pressure being produced by hand a cushioned landing of the paper to the type would have to be helpful.

Dampening paper is the next thing we need to try. Maybe we'll think about building a humidor.

A B O V E : A close up scan to give you an idea of how the print looked. We were happy and it was still 2015. About 5:30 and time for some much needed dinner and a chance to look back on this effort. I would love to have Laboratory Press show up in my dream, but then I rarely ever dream about anothing that is happening in my real world. I've actually never had a dream I remembered that included letterpress in it.