Friday, February 20, 2009

I've let a lot of time go by without blogging so I'll try doing some catchup work.   I had the good luck to find a Poco Proof Press #0  on ebay which was within driving distance.  This particular press is unusual, in that it's been sandblasted to remove all the paint, leaving what looks like a nickel coating on the press.    It weighs quite a lot but my husband and I managed to get it safely into my studio.   

The first problem to be solved was figuring out how to keep the press bed from rolling right on off the tabletop.   After putting out queries and getting lots of suggestions I replaced a missing rod on the inside center of the body which projects just enough to engage with similar projections at either end of the press bed.  When the end of the press bed reaches the center projection it can't go any further because the two projections bump up against each other.  I used nuts with bolts for the center projection and for the missing end projection on the bed.   

There are also two holes in the surface of each end of the press bed which are supposed to have rods to be used as stops for locking up forms.  In those holes I used bolts with several nuts  above the bed and one nut under to tighten against.  I had to make sure the bolt wasn't too long or it would bump into the under structures of the press.  

Next I had to figure out the cylinder and packing.  That's still a work in progress but I used some davey board for bookbinding and cut it with the grain short  ( going from side to side of the press)  so that it would flex properly around the cylinder.  Over that I put a thin piece of rubber material and over that mylar.  The slotted rod which tightens the tympan was rusted and wouldn't budge but after days of using penetrating solvent it loosened,  and I was able to insert the tympan.  By that time I had corresponded with Arie K. who has the original instructions for the Poco still stuck onto his cylinder.  He kindly photographed  the cylinder  in segments and posted the photos to Flickr.  I spent some time transcribing as much as was legible.  These instructions say to insert both ends of the tympan into the same side of the slot and insert the tool (I had to improvise with a piece of rod) to tighten.  This worked perfectly!     If anyone would like a copy of the instructions I'll be happy to send them by email.  For some reason I couldn't get it to copy and paste into this post. 

I've printed one project so far--it involved type and a linoleum block.  It wasn't perfect but at least I can see the potential of the press.  I would love to try setting up some kind of registration device/system on the cylinder.  For the first project I simply eyeballed it and laid the paper over the form.   Another area to be improved is doing better hand inking.    And, of course, coming up with a name for my new friend.  Poconoo  is a possibility (get it?  poco no. 0)    Hmmm--some form of Pocohontas?  Pocohontapress?    Pocowantapress   Pocowannapress!!    Stay tuned for the winner...

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