Saturday, September 6, 2008

New arrival--a proof press!!

Well, I couldn't let that workbench stay  empty, could I?  I spotted this proof press on ebay within driving distance (thank you, husband) and I put in a bid and  fortunately won.  Then I panicked--was this really going to print type and wood/linoleum blocks? So I used the time before pickup day to do research and quell my fears.  I focused on registration since I think that's the weak point for a simple proof press like this as opposed to some of the Vandercook proof presses.

 The sellers were very nice people--someone in the family had taught printing in a school and had a shop in the basement.  I quickly checked the press and saw I was correct that it will print type-high stuff so that was a major relief!  It is a LinoScribe proof press.  Apparently there are some LinoScribes that  print rubber type that's only made by the company but other LinoScribes are for proofing and sign printing. 

 Before even cleaning up the press I eagerly got out an assortment of cuts and type and linoleum blocks and tried it out.  Oh my gosh--it worked great!  I love the dial on the side that changes the height of the roller.  I discovered that it has a nifty mechanism to hold the paper in place that consists of a row of "fingers" which are operated by a handle held tight by a spring.  The roller mechanism opens the "fingers" by depressing the handle when it is in the farthest position to the left.   After putting the paper in place you can roll the carriage just a bit and the "fingers" close tight.    

I can see I will need to keep notes on how high the roller setting should be for different kinds of printing material.    The grid that was in the press bed was filthy and damaged so I removed the bar that holds that in place which is at the opposite end of the press from the "fingers".  I replaced it with graph paper covered by a layer of acetate.  I'm thinking I can write on the acetate maybe. Or maybe I'll want to put a grid specific to each printing job under the acetate/mylar.  

  I can see there will be a period of experimentation before I figure out the best way to deal with registration.  I've seen plans online for a frisket and tympan device but since I already have a way to secure the paper that doesn't seem like the way to go for my situation.   Maybe some strong rectangular magnets would be good to make sure my block stays where I want it when I'm in a hurry and don't want to bother with locking up the traditional way?   Always lookin' for easy street!!!   Also, magnets would hold the graph paper/acetate down at the corners.  I can't see a way to secure them at the "finger" end of the press bed.

I would love any input from experienced users of presses like this--there's just not much on the internet that I can find.


workspace said...

Hi Lynn, I'd love to talk about my little Line-O-Scribe machine and your big beautiful one. Send me an email please so it is easier to communicate.

Vanessa DeWolf said...

I just acquired a Line-O-Scribe sign machine it's so beautiful and green and many drawers of type. Can I join in the conversation about this machine? I haven't used it yet, and won't have an opportunity for a month while my studio is under renovation.
I can't believe I finally own a letterpress.....
you can contact me

Vanessa DeWolf said...

just finally getting started at my line-o-scribe.
would love any advice any thoughts any ideas you
think I should know.
I've never used it before.....I've never done letterpressing though I've done lots of etching printing
and linoleum and lithography and all that sorta printing.
I'm hoping to print some broadsides this weekend
could use all the advice and help out there