Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Hand Sown, Home Grown"

Keeping with what appears to be the tradition of Q5 Studio and Pretty Good Letterpress, once again we find ourselves in need of furnishing . . . and short on cash. This go 'round, it's a composing table. Now, I'm pretty much like the next guy, willing to make do with what I have. But sharing a table with the imposing stone, computer terminal, and other errata pretty well came to a head when I once again bumped my composition stick and sent type a'flying. So we broke down and ran off to the local hardware "box" store, grabbed my jig saw and something to serve as a straight edge and built this tilt-top composition table on the fly. I thought I might share my results. Perhaps it may help to encourage my fellow cash-challenged Letterpress ops.

Since I use primarily 2/3 cases, it wasn't necessary to build a large table. A two-foot wide podium would do, really. Because the rear of the table is a foot higher than the front, I managed nearly a 45 degree inverse angle, creating a table length, front to back, of 18 inches. Since the slanted table surface itself is two feet, this left plenty of room to stack two trays or one tray and copy.

Except for the finishing work, staining, etc., this is the fully constructed item. The riser on the back is to steepen the angle of the top tray when two are stacked. The very front of the table comes to approx. 38 inches. Perfect to set a bar-stool in front of. The space below will have shelving added, perhaps to serve either for galley storage or paper storage. It is wide enough to actually make this into a type cabinet, but frankly I already have one that tops 6 feet. What I need is just plain old fashioned cabinet storage.

Here she is with trays on her. The top tray is very stable. Since the table will be against one of the shop walls, there will be zero chance of anything falling . . . unless I do something stupid which actually isn't all that beyond me.

Here it is, installed. I've got a plank in front of the lower storage area that will eventually serve as a set of doors. I installed it next to my behemoth type cabinet. Now, I did not build that type cabinet, it was built by a Lawyer up in Ormond Beach to house 18 2/3 cabinets, double spaced. It is capable of being modified to hold 36 trays in tight formation. But right now I am taking advantage of the open spaces between the trays for added storage (things that will not fall into the type and cause damage.) What are those drawings? Well . . . I used to work with some up and coming Manga artists some years back. Periodically one or another would grab a board and do a sketch for me. Some of these are very special gifts from some very sweet and talented young artists. One of them, Jennifer, I believe is now published.

Here is another view showing my over-abundant furniture cabinet setting atop more furniture that fills every single one of those drawers! I might add that every one of these cases are Thompson Cases, ordered from Kelsey. Most of the cases had Kelsey Catalogue type in them, double laid, but I added my M&H foundry Caslon collection and my Quaker City Caslon fonts. I still have specialty fonts waiting for a cabinet to put them in. These are in home-made trays, all surprisingly well constructed. One set includes several point sizes of Chaucerian Titling, a dead ringer for the reconstructed Gutenberg fonts such as what was used in the BBC special "The Machine that Made Us". I have a few pieces of that particular font courtesy the kind folks of the American Amateur Press Association, during their National Meeting at Tampa University a couple years back ( see archives on this blog.)

Ahh yes, more non-commercial homebrew cabinets. These I had from my days at Heirloom Press in Palm Harbor, Florida back in the very early 1990s. The brown cabinet setting atop the blue one is my slug cabinet. The blue cabinet holds my border fonts and smaller specialty fonts, leads and also serves to hold smaller galley trays. It dates back to the 1930s, and came with a small hobby shop that I bought out sometime 1991.

A little bit more home-brewing with what's available: Wine Crate wall cabinets. Heh, even Ikea doesn't have these! Great for holding . . . whatever! See how many oddball things you can identify that I've got stuffed in these "wall cabinets".

Here's a closer look at some of those Manga sketches. The center was a going away present from the artist.

Ok. I'm straying from the subject. Sorry.

Here's another Manga sample. It amazes me how the different artists render a wholly different "take", which makes their work wholly different. One artist is very oriental in approach. This gal here is wholly different, assuming an almost Euro-medieval personality. Of course, the German helps lend to that feel. I didn't think the spelling/grammar was all that important: it can be edited. Actually, I would love to do this card on Letterpress! Hmm . . . Manga Letterpress. I would need to secure the artist's permission, however. Wherever she is.

Zelda of Hyrule is totally different even still. This was sketched on a Post-it note. I was totally taken by it, so I asked if I could have a copy. She gave me the post-it note as a gift. I believe she is now also in print.

Well, I've wandered a bit from the original subject, as usual. From home-brew print shop furniture to my collection of my "closet" interest in Manga art and some of my association with some of the earlier artists of years ago. I now have room to display them! Golly, they've been stored for a long time, it's a shame. And, as far as Letterpress goes, Manga is a perfect high contrast art form for reproduction! Think I'll try to locate some Manga artists that might be interested in producing some Cards . . . or smaller books. You never know.

If anyone is interested in doing what I did, building a comp table, I can give you some measures and detail shots. It's really not all that hard. Sure, it's not a high quality piece of furniture - but it does the job.

Good Providence in all your endeavours!


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