Monday, October 29, 2012

Isabel's Open House!

Some of you may recall the installment on this blog, where I hosted a one-on-one workshop with Isabel, chief cook and bottle washer for 9th Letter Press, who recently held an open house on their premises in Winter Park, Florida.  Isabel is a talented artist / artisan, designing her own stationery, printing commissioned items as well, such as wedding announcements and other ephemera.  Her location is just three blocks shy of Fairbanks, on Orange Avenue.  In fact, not far from the birthplace of both Rifle Paper Co. and Mama's Sauce.  Right where I lived as a high-schooler, and on the same road where I found my first job in the Printing Biz, Robinson Press, forty years ago.

There were many in attendance, and among the fellowship of local print artisans were educators, calligraphers, Anna & Nate from Rifle, Sarah from Bella Figura, her mom, who is a fellow calligrapher.  In fact, I spent almost half my time talking to Sarah's parents.  Also there were Isabel and Sheli's family.

Cecilia, Isabel's mother, is responsible for the awesome hors d'oevres, show in these photos.  I spent a considerable time in conversation with Isabel's parents (as her former instructor, I had to give them their kid's report card, y'know!)

Cecilia, if you're reading this: next time you come a'baking, and I find out about it, I'm there!!  You can cater my open house any day of the week!  See these pumpkin cupcakes?  Tooo dye for!

This 110 year old Iron Horse is "St. Peter", guardian of the Shop.  He is an 1890s vintage Chandler & Price "Old Series" 10x15 platen "job" press, which does literally all of Isabel's impressions.  We worked on her from out of Isabel's garage for a time, bringing her into serviceable condition.  That was a story in and of itself!  St Peter is powered by a 1/2 horse Marathon Farm Motor (just like my New Series 10x15, soon to become property of yet another Letterpress Studio in Land o' Lakes, Melissa, of Creative Brainbuzz/)  

I must say, there had to be at least 250 people both inside the studio, and overflowing out into the parking area where tables were set up.  My goal last night was to master the art of 'strategic standing', so as not to get in anybody's way.

Ah, yes.  Let's see: White and Red Zinfandel (?), South Hampton Pumpkin Ale - that was surprisingly good, plus another brew on pump, seemed to be an IPA of some type.  The center dispenser has Harry Potter's Pumpking Juice.  Beverage to Spike the Nite for our Delight!  - with due paraphrase apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien

Several trips to and fro the snacks, the beverages, the conversation, meeting faces again, and for the first time, hugging necks, meeting spouses, it was a great event.  I was glad our local resident hurricane Sandy decided to blow out, and drop down excellent weather for the evening.

I think I was the only one that came in blue jeans and flannel shirt.  I'm a little too laid back to get into the suit and tie gig, although my sweet wife informs, that I had better start imbibing said 'gig'.  I might be putting one of these things on myself soon.  Yeah.  I'll have Avett Brothers do the music, too!

Do some of the imagery seem blurred and out of focus?  Yes, there was quite a bit of activity, even out in the parking lot.  Folks just seemed to keep coming in!  Pretty good, considering about half of the mailed invites got lost in the mail, never delivered!!  We think it may have been due to the gold metallic finish on the mailing envelopes that could have confused the mail scanners.  Something to think about when choosing an envelope finish, btw! 

Our parting shot for the evening will be of this amazing little mobile caterer, the name of whom I absolutely forgot!  When I find out, I'll post their names.  They make Crepes!  Any kind, you name it, and right from the truck.  Super friendly folks, average cost was about six bucks.  For a nice filled crepe, you can't touch that at a Creperie, believe me!

We here at G. Johanson, Letterpress - meaning me, my wife, and designer daughter Anna Coleman (who works at Rifle Paper Co. btw!) wishes every good blessing and all that Providence will provide, for Isabel,   Sheli and Staff at 9th Letter Press.  I am proud to count you among my friends, fellow artisans, and co-conspirators in the Black Arts!

May ascribing a proper description of our Creator in everything we design and print be our goal and purpose, a tradition and purpose handed down from Herr Gutenberg himself.  Sola Deo Gloria!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Getting Melissa's Press Ready!

Melissa will be picking up her 1916 Chandler & Price 10x15 New Series Platen Job Press soon.  What needed to be done to it was mainly making it operable.  It needed a new motor and belt, a switch, switch wiring, motor wiring, new front and swivel boards, and a de-gunked ink fountain.  She also needed two new 2x8 boards to rest upon.  I wanted to give Melissa a preview of the press, now that it's ready to roll.  Here goes!

The first group of photos shows the ink fountain which had to be disassembled, cleaned, the ink blade scraped and "sanded".  Then, with cleared oil ports, it was put back together and bolted upon the press.  All petcocks turn easy.














Amazing how a photo changes with the addition of a flash!

The next grouping is the press set-up.

I installed a 'safety switch' to provide easy and quick operation.

The switch is bolted on the left hand under-side of the front feed board.

The motor is a 1/2 hp Marathon 1725 rpm Farm Motor, sporting a 1" pulley for the 'v' belt.  This provides a cycling speed of one impression every 2.5 - 3 seconds.  It can be slowed by belting direct to the shaft.  Notice that the motor is wired to a female outlet.  The switch actually controls the outlet, rather than the motor.  You can see the steel shielded "extension cord" plugged into the outlet.  The power is switched here, rather than the motor.  I wired it this way for ease of installation.  The motor and outlet stay together, with the switch wiring hardwired into the top of the outlet box.  The box is then literally plugged into a standard wall outlet.

These are the new boards, both cut from  furniture grade birch ply.  Aluminium channeling edge the front and rear of each board.  These are cut to the original boards' dimensions.  The original boards - also ply - had delaminated over the past 96 years. 

The ink fountain is re-mounted.  This is the original "full" fountain that came with this press.  Also included is the original motor bracket holding the original 1916 Kimble motor, which works, but really should be rebuilt.  I managed to find the original leather belt.  I do not know if the original belt actually has the integrity to power the press, it's pretty dry, but it can still serve as a 'sizer' and model for a new one, should the new owner decide to actually rebuild the motor.

Here is a view behind the press, showing the motor, the outlet, the switch wiring and the plug-in power cable.

. . . and, of course, the power cable is plugged into an outlet.  I have enough cabling to travel a considerable distance, should the press need to be place a considerable distance from the nearest available wall outlet.

And finally, an added plus!  I located a pair of stock gripper bars, or "frisket bars" which may have been the original grippers for this press.  This press had spent some time on the loading dock at Mama's Sauce, next to a Kluge and a Heidelberg, and the associated hardware for all these presses were scattered hither and yon.  Joey at Mama's Sauce [Ed. note: thanks for the correction Nick!], let me poke around to hunt down the missing hardware for this press as I was in the process of re-habbing her.  This was when I located the leather belt.  The grippers were not together, but they are mirror matches of each other.

Just a side note: this press also came with a chase, which is 'stone' level, and fits the type bed easily.  This was important because ease of fit is not always the case.  I think the chase is original to the press as well.

She runs well.  There is a video of her in operation up on YouTube already.

That's it for now.  BTW, the press is already skidded for easy fork-lifting, Melissa, so it should be an easy pick-up.  I also have a set of come-alongs to tie her off in your moving truck.