And So It Begins...

The water based inks don't come in Pantone mixable colors, so I decided just to pick 4 basic colors to test with. There could be some issues with post-drying smearage, if the prints are handled by anyone with "sweaty hands," so I didn't want to invest too much in a lot of the stuff just yet.

I finally sent in my Dead Things artwork for film and plates, and picked it all up from The Evanston Print & Paper Shop today! They look great of course. I cut up one of the beast bones stationery for test printing on my Pilot, and stuck it to my brand new Boxcar base. I did a quick first lockup in the chase, but realized after it was in the press that it needed to be shifted so that the base and plate were in the upper right hand corner. I'm still not quite used to the idea of printing with a platen press where I'll need to use gague pins to hold my paper in place, as I've got much more "real" experience on a Vandercook. I'm taking things really slowly because I do NOT want to dent my base.

Anyway, so finally I got the lock looking good so that the gague pins could sit in the lower left hand corner of the tympan paper and not hit the base, which is in the upper right hand corner of the chase. I started to realize it was going to be hard to get everything exact with this particular print because I've only got about 1/4" between the print end and the edge of the page. Also at 5.5" x 8.5", this size paper is really pushing what the Pilot can do - so this stationery might be better left for my 8 x 12.

Regardless of whether I continue with this big print or test something smaller, I've still got to figure out how to prevent my grippers from smashing into the base. Supposedly I ought to be able to turn the little cranks to loosen the gripper arms and adjust them, but they're in a really awkward position and extremely tight. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to loosen them, so I posted on Briar Press and will hopefully get some suggestions.

Brad suggested that it also seems like my new rollers may be a bit oversized. They're even being lifted off the rails as they pass over the chase, so I may have to investigate taping up the rails to prevent over-inking and roller sticking. Oh, the troubleshooting begins!

In more successful news, the other day I went about trying to make some paper that remained consistent in color and thickness. I decided to stick with mostly black and white junk mail like credit card offers (though they are fewer these days...), and it actually tured out pretty well. After following some drying advice from a group of paper makers, my press bar / sponge time was greatly reduced and I came out with fairly flat, nice sheets.

My favorite thing about recycling paper is that if you don't blend it up TOO much, you're left with a few letters scattered here and there.


  1. I've enjoyed your blog so far and am looking forward to seeing your first print and hearing more about the water-based inks.
    I bet you'll find that the stationary is way more suitable for the 8x10 since platen presses don't print with as much pressure as those nice Vandercooks. Sigh.
    As far as your rollers go, it seems that you should measure your rails to see if they're the right height before adding tape. Since it looks like your trucks aren't even touching the rails due to the large diameter of the rollers, you may want to consider calling the guys who made the rollers and having them reground to the size of the trucks. The rollers and trucks on my little Kelsey are exactly the same size, and that is one part of the press I've never had problems with.
    Of course, I'm sure you've already been told all this and so much more from people on Briar Press.

  2. Maggie,

    Thanks for checking out my blog! I'll definitely check out your website as well. I'll actually probably not be looking for that much impression on the stationery - just a kiss as it's fairly thin paper I'm working with on that. Will have to experiment though!

    Yes, it's looking more like I'll have to call Roll Crafters to see if they will regrind my rollers for me. I'd love to avoid that - I'm antsy to get printing and don't want to have to send the rollers back! It's a little frustrating, considering I sent them the trucks in the first place so the new rollers could be made to size. First I'm going to make sure I can't find any larger trucks...