Each time the platen closes, this little brass tag peeks up at you from the grime and peeling paint. It’s a tiny remnant of elegance from long ago, and reminds the user that this machine was built for artists.
It’s been a few long days, Abridgers.
I’ve spent more time hunched over our letterpress – frozen in perplexed frustration – than actually printing. My mood last night was particularly dismal; I discovered that regardless of how perfectly I adjust the platen surface, there’s some kind of thump halfway through the movement of the clam shell that is knocking the whole thing back out of alignment. And it’s completely random, happening with no rhyme or reason.
I’ll certainly need to address that; it’s likely something I didn’t put together correctly or tighten. However, after spending today in the garage refreshed and at least aware of the problem, I was able to get enough of a feel for the machine that I decided to start put ink to rollers and finally begin printing.
Melissa’s sister (and her fiancé) planning to mail out all 90 invitations on Monday, so not starting until today was dicey and left little room for error. In other words, I was really hoping for a favorable ratio of good prints… to goofs. With my clunking problem still continuing to plague me, I was nevertheless able to crank out around 20 good impressions for each throwaway. And dammit, that’s good enough this time around.
Here’s some of the process and a peek at the results at the end of one very long, very green day. Tomorrow we’ll start all over, printing the remaining elements in the charcoal color…
Above, the photopolymer plate has done its job, creating 50-odd place cards. Below, 100 invitations sit on a makeshift drying rack.