Tool: Letterpress printer
Name: Sam Fray
Where: Woodduck Press
Why is it important?
My printing press is an old machine that was made by hand, before we had the luxury of lathes and machinery to make it. I use it mainly for short runs like gift vouchers, business vouchers, swing tags, or high-end wedding stationery.
It’s a work of art in itself and I couldn’t do my job without it.
I started using it about 10 years ago when I tried to find my own wedding stationery, and decided that was what I wanted. I purchased the machine and nearly had a heart attack about how heavy it was.
I create a raised printing plate, which is locked up in a chase [the outer steel frame] and put into up the machine. I then treadle the press by foot which makes the press open and the rollers ink the plate. After that, I hand feed a sheet of paper into the press, while my foot is still on the treadle. It takes great co-ordination. The ink is transferred to the paper, leaving a tactile printed impression which can’t be achieved using modern laser printing; this produces a different quality and [level of] indentation into the paper.
What do your colleagues think?
They adore it. Everything these days has gone electronic, so we don’t get to touch and feel much; putting a quality paper in it, with texture, is a real art.
If I put in two sheets of paper instead of one the machine can lock up.
It decides that’s it. I’ve done that a few times; you have to force it open with big crowbars.
How much does it cost?
My first machine was $250 but that was about 10 years ago. Now, they’re worth about $5000 on eBay. It’s become fashionable again to do it.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.