Sunday, June 29, 2008

Is That a Shine I See??

Yes, it is. Instead of going the complete disassemble, clean, re-paint and re-assemble route, I decided to de-grease, de-rust, scrape old paint, clean and repaint small sections at a time. One huge reason is simple: lack of space. Another reason is that I really don't think it's needed. I grew up with hot-rodders on the block, and although they were equipped to strip down a rod to the chassis, dip, cadmium plate, and totally re-assemble a vehicle and race it professionally at Bithlo, they very seldom did this. They pulled engines and trannies, rear ends, etc. but they didn't take the doors off, take out the window glides, remove the dashboard, pop out the windscreens, remove the bootlid . . . I think you get my point. The fellas restoring the 1909 Opel Doktorwagens or '08 T models may go this far, but again, only if needed.

The "tranny" of the Pearl is just fine. There is no rust, and the oil ports function fine. The only thing that really needs treatment now is the chassis, where I am wire-brushing rust spots with the carbide steel dremel brush, a slow process. I have found an interesting way to remove half-century old globs of ink: a fine drill, hand rotated into the glob does two things, lets you know if it is, indeed, ink or metal, and if is ink, if you drill a bit, it will break away and leave the spot it once occupied fairly clean.

The Flywheel and front parts of the chassis and platen were made ready for covering today. At first I tried the Shoe-Polish suggestion, only to discover I could not get adhesion on the bare metal areas! It was great on areas where the original paint was roughed up, but where I had to take the rust down to the bare metal it was a no-go. So I followed a second suggestion which seems to be the more popular one: Rustoleum.

Wal-Mart had two types in cans: Flat and Gloss. Well sir, I chose the gloss. I think it was a good choice. It goes on good and thick by brush, and cleans up well with kerosine.

I started with the flywheel. I had already cleaned off the rust from the flat edge and the two side lips, and polished it to the bare metal. This will be protected by oil. The area immediatetly under the lip was painted with a finer tipped brush, carefully so as not to get paint on the lip. A larger brush was used for the rest of the wheel. I just did the outside. Also ready to paint were the front sides of the press feet and the front edge of the platen. I removed the Pearl name plate, which will get a separate treatment and polishing.

For you folks thinking of doing what I did: note that most of the screws I have had to remove thus far have all been brass 8-32. Just a tip to keep under your hat.

Here you can see the front of the platen just below the tympan packing area, and the part where the name plate is mounted has already been painted. Also the areas between the rails and the type bed get painted using the finer brush. On Thursday I plan to do the inside of the flywheel, more on the inside platen hinge area, and treat the rear portion of the ink disk, which needs to go on the bench grinder's wire wheel for edge rust removal, general cleaning and finally, painting. The paint takes about a day to truly dry, and about three weeks to reach full hardness. It's going to be a long restore, gang. But have you ever seen these gems restored?

I don't know if my Model 3 will look just like this, my idea was to find that middle ground between restoration and work-a-day use. This press is, I believe, at Heritage Village in Largo, Fla. Mine will be at my home shop in Deltona. Just looking at this photo reminds me that I have to get hold of Joe Cardell in DeBary. He is an ace custom furniture maker with his own mill. If I can get detailed photos of the drawers, he can knock those out while I work on the base.

This is the installment for today. I hope my documenting the restoration of the Pearl may inspire others to do the same, only don't just show the presses, use the presses too. That's why they were made.

I have a special soft spot for the Pearl. My fascination with it began in the very early 1990's when one of the AAPA folks (Bill) in St. Pete would forward me his old AAPA "bundles". These bundles included a small newsletter from an operation called the "Garden Press". The Garden Press was simply a Pearl in a garden shed. But operation is also one of the oldest of it's sort, and if I recall, it was described as having been passed from grandparent to grandchild. I believe it began in 1918, not sure. But the newsletter was good quality, interesting, well executed, and for some reason sticks in my mind above all else.

I looked for the Garden Press in the Bundles brought to the AAPA event in Tampa, but none of the bundles had anything mentioning the Garden Press. I hope it is still in operation. It's newsletters planted the seed that eventually had me seeking and securing a Pearl of my own, albeit 17 years later.

I have a newsletter of my own that is a periodical publication, which has ceased with the donation of Heirloom Press to the Pioneer Settlement. It's called "Midnight Oil", and for good reason. I'd like to follow in the footsteps of Garden Press with this publication.

That's it for now, folks.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Removing Rust from the Pearl's Ink Disk and other Places

The Platen, Ink Disk and Type Bed proved to be something harder than simple surface rust. Steel wool and Kerosine had no affect. What I wound up doing was to place the disk back into it's receptical and taking fine grit aluminium based sand paper, load it into my orbital finishing sander, and take my time doing circular sweeps, rotating the disk as I went along, which creates a patter not unlike optical lens lapping: rotating figure eights. The sander left no "pattern", and actually brought the disk to a polish, totally removing the rust.

Here you can see the disk. I held my hand close enough to show it's reflection. The photo sorta picks that up although it was sort of a trick to hold my ancient digital camera still enough to shoot while reaching over with the other hand, hovering it over the disk by a few inches. The origninal lathing and milling marks can be seen. The only thing left for the Ink Disk is to wire brush the rust off the back and put a coat of Rustoleum underneath.

The Platen shows about as much rust as the Ink Disk did. And will receive the same treatment today. I'll post the results later. Note the platen's hinge. There's about a three quarter's worth of dried ink on those hinges, and I hope to get most of it off. Using a rotary wire brush for this. Note oil ports. The supporting areas that go under the type bed and under the platen itself are fairly tough to get at, and I am finding myself taking more and more off the press. I guess I am sort of dis-assembling it, although it was not my initial idea to so do. The gripper bar, their mounting rod, the cam and spring have now been removed for brushing, cleaning, and coating either with Rustoleum or black shoe polish and glycerin.

Here is a close-up of what I am facing with the type bed. It looks as though it was painted grey or somehow got a major coating of it. I will be stripping this of rust, too.

The serial number of the Golding Pearl Model 3 is located on the type bed directly beneath the ink disk. Steve Saxe looked up my press in his documentation and found it to be part of the grouping of presses Golding finished in April 1909, so the date cast into the body of the press is accurate. You cannot always go by those dates.

Well, this is where I am with the Pearl. She's almost exactly as old as my Grandmother. So far, she's shaping up, but it will be a slow and pretty exacting process. I am discovering a little body rust down around the feet where the press bolts to it's table. She will be more than likely painted black with red raised letters.

One Tin Soldier

While sorting thru some donated type cases, trying my best to figure out what in the world the pied sorts contained, this little guy surfaced: a World War One "Doughboy". No doubt he was cast from type metal. Also found in the job case was a "Dog Tag" from the U.S. Army Expeditionary Force under General Pershing. The Pioneer Settlement has the Dog Tag. I have the Soldier. Could the Soldier have been owned by the same person who's Dog Tag this was? Or perhaps one of the children?

Marjorie, of 3-Toad Press suggested that I attempt some research. When time permits, I will do just that. Hopefully, Army Records may tell us a little more about the "Doughboy". In the meantime, here are some photos of One Tin Soldier.

In case you are wondering what the Doughboy is carrying on his back, it's either a very thin backpack (the casting is very thin) or possibly a gas tank. There appears to be what looks like a regulator valve at the top of the device. He is shouldering a bolt action rifle. Note the wraps on this leggings. And, of course, the Dishpan Helmet worn by both the Tommies and the Yanks. (And the ANZACs)

There was a song that was popular in the boroughs of New York City around 1917, during the Liberty War Fund drives that played upon the immigrant community there, and also in Philadelphia, a three hour train ride to the south:

"When Tony goes over the top . . . .
Keep your eyes on - that wonderful W.O.P."

Ahh, yes. Another era.


G. Johanson, Settlement Printer

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Broken Screws

It may be a little hard to see, and I really needed a macro zoom shot to really give fine detail, but what you are looking at is the right side of the Pearl's platen. The clips that hold the tympan paper in place (bales? bails?) have been removed. They are held in place by four round-head screws with apparently are made of brass. The upside of brass is relative resistance to corrosion. The downside is the relative softness of the metal. The screws on the left side were easily removed, but the screws on the right side were damaged. The upper screw had it's head broken off, leaving the shaft protruding about one quarter inch, which was fortunate. A liberal application of Marvel's Mystery Oil, a delicate gripping of the channel locks and it was a done deal. The lower screw was not so easy, though. It was broken off beneath the surface and then some. Standard screw extractors could not reach. What to do?

I really wasn't certain IF these screws were brass, or if they were case hardened. I just took a gamble. As an Optician of three decades, I still carry my old finishing tools - the kind you'll never see at modern Optical dispensaries these days. I took my hand twist drill, popped in an 0.70mm carbide bit and with about ten minutes low pressure twisting, managed a reasonably clean dibbit square in the centre of the broken shaft. I then widened and deepened it with an 0.90mm Carbide. Then I used a fine taper reamer, essentially a needle pointed file that truncates to about 3mm. After about 45 minutes of patient drilling and filing, I managed a hole just smaller than my smallest steel optical flat-head screwdriver. This I gently tapped into place, applied a generous dowsing of Marvel's Mystery, and with a gentle application of torque, the screw freed up and came out easily with no damage to the threads. More than likely I will replace these with stainless steel round-heads.
All for now, stay tuned.

G. Johanson, Settlement Printer
Florida Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts
Barberville , Florida.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pearl Press Recovery

Here are some photos of the events of the day: recovering a 7x11 Pearl Press from a Barn. This Press has no rollers, no woodwork, no trucks, missing the chase clip spring, and has signifigant rusting of it's unpainted surfaces. But she is not beyond hope, fortunately. Her delivery from the Barn was to prevent further deterioration.

The above photo is the barn, with trusty co-hort Jeff Thurman getting the truck ready for the Pearl, which would be transfered in three parts: 1- Flywheel and Ink Disk, 2- Press itself, and 3- the Press Table with Treadle and Linkage, the Pushrod.

This is the Pearl as she stood in the Barn. Flywheel and Ink disk has already been removed.

Here is the Pearl Press itself on the Dolly at the "dock", the front stoop of the Barn.

. . . and here is the Table she mounts upon. It was easier to keep the treadle on rather than remove it for the relocation.

Here she sets in her permanent berth, next to the NS 8x12 C&P. You may note the old radio gear - I am selling my vintage ham station, and essentially getting out of Ham Radio to fund the Letterpress and Restoration activities at my home shop. All that background stuff will be history, soon.

Most of the rust is located on the unpainted surfaces, the Platen, the type bed, the chase which I was lucky enough to locate. Also the Ink disk needs rust removal treatment.

The rear mechanism is actually pretty clean of rust and corrosion. It was protected by a film of grease which, while attracting an annoying layer of dust, just may have been a blessing in disguise.

The side gearing and linkage is also pretty clean, needing only a wiping and minor steel-wool treatment.

The Treadle itself needs painting. I plan to paint her the original black, with gold pinstriping and gold raised lettering and date (1909)

Her brass Nameplate still shines. In fact, oddly so: it looks as if somebody purposefully cleaned it. It wasn't us.

Here is a close-up. I may add that the leveling lugs on the rear of the platen are not frozen, but are secure in their original positions. I find that if you leave well enough alone, platens are usually pretty even from the get go. I've only seen one case where I had to really get in there and relevel a platen. That was the 9x13 Kelsey Model H.

What is needed for the Pearl:

1- New set of rollers, trucks, cores.
2- Chase clip retaining spring
3- Feed and Delivery Boards
4- Reconstructed drawers for the Table
5- Deep cleaning and rust removal
6- Spotting all oil ports (everything that moves!)
7- Painting and pin striping.

That's all for now. Good Providence in all your endeavours!

G. Johanson, Settlement Printer
Florida Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts
Barberville / Deltona Florida.

More Photos from AAPA 2008.

I need to make special mention of Henry down at the University of Tampa's Book Arts Studio. He is probably the most unlikely of effective teachers. Very plain, a non-eriudite if ever I met one, given to a slight stammer, yet absolutely able to communicate and connect. Henry gave me my first taste of operating a Linecaster on that Friday the thirteenth, the first day of the AAPA gathering. I thought my highpoint would be operating the Washington, and to be sure, it certainly was a high point. But now I realise the highpoint was learning the 'touch' of an Intertype's keyboard and watching the absolutely integrated assemblage of levers and gears work together to produce a line of type, delivered almost into my lap. Henry showed me how to edit my lines right from the mats as they lined up before me, and gave me to think that maybe . . . maybe I could actually operate one of these things.

Thanks, Henry, for the introduction to Linecasting.

Friday, June 13, 2008

AAPA Tampa 2008, University of Tampa, Florida

I woke up this morning at 5 am to make the trip on into Tampa for the one day I had to attend the American Amateur Press Association's 2008 Conference at the University of Tampa. The University itself was worth the visit. Once the "Tampa Bay Hotel", this elabourate turn of the century complex owned by Henry Flagler's "west coast counterpart" Mr. Plant was the staging area for the US Expeditionary Force during the Spanish American War. It became a University in the 1930s. I was reminded of Flagler College, in St. Augustine, which was also an elabourate turn of the century hotel.

I had time during lunch to walk about the campus a little. I have always been interested in historic buildings, especially masonry structures. I'm the guy that gets distracted counting the headers and stretchers on a wall at Colonial Williamsburg (which uses Flemish Bond, btw.)

These are entry doors into the main central building, I did not note the name of the Hall, unfortunately, but these "keyhole" arched doorways are stunning to behold! There are three of these doorways on either side of the central hall, and peppered round about the building itself. I think I spent the whole hour and a half lunch just checking out the architecture.

I couldn't help but notice this little subterrainean establishment. It says Starbucks Coffee on the door, but I have a sneaking suspicion that folks go down there for things other than coffee. No, it was closed. Yeah, I wish it weren't. Vieleicht die nächste Konferenz, gel? Dann kan ich ein' bissel Halb Liter Bier haben, mit lustige Mittagessen. But as it was, we had coffee and tea provided by the University.

The conference registration and lectures were held in the MacDonald Kelce Library. The front displays were utilised by the AAPA. Here is a display of Mike Anderson's 15th century leaves and reproductions using carefully researched type which he cast himself.

This is a closeup of a reproduced page. Mike also makes his own papers. Note the filligree Illumination and the ruminated caps and text. The caps (and I believe the filligree) were executed on photopolymer.

This is another closeup of the MSS display of 15th Century leaves. When this page was printed, Columbus was on his second voyage. (1495)

This was another display, featuring miniature iron handpresses and Kelsey learning booklets. I actually have one myself, which came with one of my 5x7" Excelsior models. My Kelsey collection can be seen at the Florida Pioneer Settlement, Barberville Florida. These presses shown have a print area of about 3x5 or slightly smaller. They are capable of excellent impressions: do not let the small size of a press fool you.

These are Amateur and Private Press Journals from the 19th and very early 20th Centuries. Hmm, sorta reminds me of the "Bundle". These were also on display at the MacDonald Kelce Library, as well as some other century old Ephemera and AAPA bundle inclusions over the years.

The Lectures were given on the second floor of the Library. It was a great time to meet the other folks and learn some very interesting things. The concentration of the lectures today was letterpress, historic recreation and research. In fact, Mike, who gave one of the lectures, was first approached by the BBC for a Gutenberg form for their miniseries "The Machine that Made Us" but referred them to another founder, because what they wanted, whether the BBC folks knew it or not, was a B-42, forty-two line form, and what Mike had on hand was B36 (thirty-six line, Donatus Kalender.) He reflected that very few would have actually known the difference, but why be innaccurate? Man after my own heart! As it is, the BBC secured what was needed in the end. Hmm, come to think of it, before I sat in on Mike's talk, I wouldn't have known the difference, either!

After lunch we took on over to the Book Arts Studio on the Campus. Here, we spent the rest of the day.

And here we are gathering inside the Studio / Shop. This facility produces books, announcements, and all sorts of Ephemera. It is tied into, IIRC, the English/ Literature dept. The University has no Book Arts cirriculum per se, but does publish in association thereof. Included in their list of publications is the book "I Lived in Paradise", of local pioneer story.

The University's Hoe & Co., which is on loan. I finally got my chance to do what I always wanted, one of which was to pull an impression from one of these Iron Horses. This particular press dates to 1848. What is hard to belive is that these presses were being manufactured as late as 1917, although manufacture varied quite a bit. There is a print shop in DeLeon springs that has a Washington under wrapps in a storage room! Amazing where these Iron Horses turn up.

This is another, I believe slightly newer Hoe & Co. press. It's under rehab at the moment, but it seems pretty close to operational. The only think I could tell was the linen pulleys under the bed needed to be replaced by leather, as the other Washington had done.

We printed Mike Anderson's recreation of the Calixtus Bull, using the same Donatus Kalender type which he researched and resurrected for the B36 Bible. This particular piece is 19 lines.

These are various shots of pulling prints from the Washington. The fella with the beard and glassis is Prof. Richard Matthews, the director of the University Press and the College's point man for the Convention.

This is all I have time to post. I have a few more photos which I will upload later.

-G. Johanson, Settlement Printer.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

AAPA Tampa 2008

Yay! Managed to arrange my schedule so I can attend the American Amateur Press Association Convention held this year in Tampa, at the University of Tampa. Hope to see some of y'all there! I'll be the one wearing the Aussie Riding hat.

I can only be there on the opening day, Friday 13 June. I will be not only there for my own benefit, fellowship and education, but also to Represent the Florida Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts.

The following is a link to download the itinerary for AAPA Tampa 2008:

A few other items concerning the studio at my home, which is the adjunct printing operation for the Settlement, "G. Johanson, Settlement Printer". Finding myself somewhat short of wider 60, 50, 40 & 30 pica furniture, I decided to rip my own from a well seasoned board of Red Oak. Generally, the table saw did a pretty good job. I may need to do some sanding, but basically I have all the furniture I need, now. Next thing is to build a cabinet to hold it all.

I also picked up some more speed quoins and some of the old wedge types, with proper Key. Located my old ornament and Monogram fonts which I ordered from Quaker City back in 1991, plus my monotype floral cap fonts.

I have, still tied up and unsorted, 10 pt Caslon OS, with Italics and archaic letter and ligature sorts. All awaiting the addition of a nice Type cabinet with maybe ten drawers. I may have to make the cabinet myself since discretionary spending is locked in an iron lung these days. These O.S. Caslon fonts were ordered about five years ago from M&H, which also supplied fonts for Colonial Williamsburg, from what I understand. In my mind, the golden age of Book Arts peaked sometime in the late 1700's, before the introduction of wood pulp, lignin and tannic acids to the paper making process, so I had to have at least one 18th Century bookfont!

I hope to reproduce pages from Dr. Samuel Stearn's "American Herbal" using this font. I have an original copy of this book, it is the very first Materia Medica ever published in the brand new United States of America. There is considered to be less than ten exemplary copies of this book in existence according to ABS, the folks at the Travelling Road show indicate only three, mine being one. So it is not only a very rare volume, but also a very historic one as well.

The presence of this book is little known, and even less is known about the Author, Dr. Samuel Stearns, who also produced America's first nautical almanac from British Occupied New York during the American Revolutionary War. I have been researching the good Dr, with the help of the Brattleboro Historical Society, for about ten years now. A very interesting, albeit tragic story. I would like to research the printer of this book, too, a Mr. David Carlisle of Wapole, Vermont.

My reproductions would not be identical, but will include woodcuts, unlike the original. There would be only one item per page, and I would select only the items fairly well known by 21st Century readers, like the Coffee Plant or Hemp (Cannibis, "worthy of further study") or the Cure for Cancer, in which Dr. Stearns describes what appears to be a white radish applied as a poultice "which affected a complete cure" of breast cancer. In 1801!

That's it for now. I'll try not to take so long between entries, but so few folks are reading this that I am probably not particularly noticed.

Gary Johanson
Settlement Printer