I ordered some new gauge pins from American Printing Equipment & Supply Co., to supplement my waning supply. Owing to a rare miscalculation on my part, I very nearly lost one of my favourite Megill Double Grip gauges. The close call reminded me that I should get more - while they are still available. So I did. NA Graphics stopped carrying them, apparently, but I found them at the above mentioned location.
Now, normally, these pins came in what I consider the normal dark carbide metal with brass tongue, screws and slide. What I got totally surprised me. The slide and body came.....chromed! Chromium plated gauges. Boy, talk about adding class to the ol' Shoppe!
I thought that perhaps these may have been recycles chromed over to hide their years of use. Close scrutiny reveals that if this is what they are, they were in awfully nice shape to begin with. No, I think they are new. Either way, they are nice.
Everybody has their flavours in life, Letterpress printing is no exception. I use Kort Quad guides down at Mama's Sauce when I do work for them down in Orlando (I'm one of their Klugemen) - I have to say, these Double Grip gauges have been singularly the best, probably the most enduring and easiest gauges I have ever used for long haul work. With the old stand-by Flex-pins, you have to make two penetrations in the tympan and slide the center pins through. With the Quad Guides, you have to make two relatively long slices for the fore-and-aft blade grips which requires a considerable amount of pressure to open the "jaw". I've ripped my share of tympan. The Megill Double Grip gauges require only one single inch-long slice perpendicular to the feed line, and that's it. You can set the holding pressure lightly, to set the pins, then tighten with the nut tightening tool that comes with the set (see top photo). They adjust very easy, they lock like a vise grip, and if you take care of them, they last for ever.
And, in a pinch, they can make a dandy tie pin!! I'll wear one to the next wayz-goose.