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February 1, 2007

soiduts telracs

by gl. at 11:59 pm

first letterpress prints! alas, it was not as complete of a success as i would have hoped.

first i had to sort throught the typecase of the type i chose to resort everything into its appropriate cubby and discover what letters are missing. it looks like the largest quad i have is an em quad. not many coppers/brasses, either.

composition is easy and fun. the part i was dreading is, in fact, the part i like least: arranging and locking the form. the furniture is like playing evil tetris and it takes me two or three times as long to it as it would probably take anyone else. once i sorted it into similar sizes that helped a bit: i need a beter way of storing/sorting the furniture & reglets other than a jumbled box.

so finally, my first print:

what's wrong here? :) reversing the letters is such a classic mistake it was really funny.

let's rearrange the letters, shall we?

ah, that's better. sven got one of the mirrors i use for the blind-contour drawing exercises so i can always check the orientation, though i suspect i'll get better at this over time.

but this is the best print i could get out of dozens of tries. much more of them were like that second one, and even this one is lacking in clarity and detail. one of the big problems is that awesome star cut in the middle, i think. it's actually a cut nailed to a block of wood, not a solid chunk of lead like the others. so i think it's just the sliiigggghhhtest bit too tall. this means the letters to either side of the star aren't getting enough ink or impression, i think. even planing didn't help. this frustrated me so much i ended up adding enough underlays to the back that the chase finally fell out of the chase bed. i hope i can sand the wooden block down a bit. in the meantime, i'll try using the word "star" next time instead of a cut, but how can i resist this star?

i wasn't sure how cleaning would go, but i am pleased to discover the ink and the press is easily cleaned with liberal use of a weak simple green solution and judicious use of citrisolve, both of which i consider only mildly toxic at worst. (i use the simple green for cleaning gocco screens and the citrisolve for transfer prints.) the question of cleanup had been worrying me because i really wanted to avoid a pile of kerosene-soaked rags. with safety boy on my side, i didn't want to have to install another fume extractor. ;) sven's already already worried about the toxicity of lead type. also, i bought some lava soap which works great for taking the ink off my hands.

further review:

posted by gl. | February 1, 2007 11:59 PM | categories: printing