Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Real Borderline Case

In between coats of shellac on my composing bank I've been cleaning out, sorting, and redistributing my borders and ornaments. I was very fortunate when I got my press and much of the equipment for my shop to get this border case will all kinds of borders, ornaments, fractions, etc. It was completely disorganized and filled with dust and dirt, but fortunately no type lice or corrosion.

The quality of this photo is much better than my usual because I borrowed a camera from work. If I would have composed the shot better I would have captured the other side of the case too which is also fairly full with different kinds of borders. But I'm just grateful for the clarity.

Monday, October 27, 2008

You Can Bank On It

I completed the bank top for my type cabinet tonight and brought it home from work. I still have to apply a finish to it which I'll start in a day or two. Normally I use orange shellac for anything I make that I want to match older furniture because that was the usual finish used. My Tracy cabinet is no different. But because in this case the bank is not just a separate piece of furniture but will be part of the old cabinet I will likely stain the bank first so that when I apply the shellac it will more closely match the patina of the base. I'm going to make some tests on scrap pieces before I decide.

The old cabinet is made out of ash and since we didn't have any at work, or any white oak that I liked and which would have been something of a match, I used some hickory which we did have. The grain is very similar and the darker color in some of the boards will aid in matching it to the older base.

I debated with myself over exactly what type of bank I wanted. One with the upper part elevated above the lower and taller so as to support a full-sized case or like the one I finally decided upon. I chose this style because I wanted a reasonably deep lower surface that would accept 3/4 cases which are often deeper than full-sized. Also, I know it will be extremely unlikely that I will ever need to have a separate upper case font above and a lower case font below. More useful will be to have a lead and slug case and perhaps a quad and space case on the upper level. This type was also less time consuming to build, a not altogether irrelevant consideration.

I made the lips at the front edges of the upper and lower levels 1/2" tall so case handles would clear and so they wouldn't interfere when I tie up a form on a galley. I will likely attach a small strip of wood to the lower right corner as a galley stop.

Once the finish is on I'll post another photo though it will probably be just as poor as this one. Hopefully I'll be buying a new camera in the next couple months.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cutting Out The Middleman

I've mentioned my friend Alan Runfeld and his Excelsior Press Museum previously and there is a link to the museum's website in the left column of this blog. He often receives donations and contributions of printing equipment for the museum. For the past several weeks I've been helping him clear out the basement print shop of his former high school print shop teacher. Some of the equipment will be incorporated into the museum but those things that would be doubles or even triples to what the museum already has will be sold to raise funds to help pay the museum's rent, electric bills, etc.

I thought I'd mention some of the items that will be coming up for sale shortly because as an amateur printer I'm always looking for things I still need for my shop and don't mind passing on a good tip. Perhaps I should point out that I have no personal interest one way or the other in any of these items or whether or not they sell other than a desire to help the museum. The museum has been of benefit to me as a printer and I know others who have also been helped by visiting the museum and taking part in its activities.

Now for the good stuff. Other items will be posted on the For Sale page of the museum's website but the three things I wanted to mention are two nice paper cutters and a paper drill. I don't remember details about the drill but it is brand-new and still in the box, never used. Both of the paper cutters were made by the Challenge Machine Company. One looks like it is from the 1940's and was made by Challenge for the Multigraph Company. It is a 19" manual cast iron tabletop cutter mounted to its original steel stand. There are a number of new wood cutting sticks with it and I believe an extra knife, as well as the original instruction manual. It is a very clean cutter and works great as I saw for myself when Alan's 80 year old shop teacher showed me a few things on it which was a real treat. It does have a safety release knob.

The second cutter is I believe from the 1980's but possibly even newer. It is also a 19" cutter but is a floor unit. The cast iron legs also make up the body where the knife holder, etc. is mounted. This is an electric cutter and is also in good working order. It has cutting sticks and possibly an extra knife as well. It has all sorts of safety features.

Alan will be posting complete information and pricing sometime soon but I just thought I'd mention them here. Please contact him directly if you're interested. Also, if you can possibly visit the museum please do so, it's a great place and Alan is very knowledgable and loves to teach. Maybe you'll even see me there!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tiers Of Joy

Below is another in my Bad Photo series showing my new double-tiered Tracy type cabinet. It was made by Hamilton around the turn of the century. My type collection has grown surprisingly in the last year and another cabinet was necessary. This one holds 40 full-size cases and while a few spaces will be used immediately there will be plenty of room for new fonts!

I ran out of space in the living room so the second bedroom that I've been using as an office has become the latest part of the house to be taken over by the Front Room Press. It will still remain an office with my desk, etc. but I moved out a few bookcases and it will hold several print shop items including this cabinet.

I was off from work today so spent the time cleaning it up and getting it ready for cases. It originally had two case racks on top but if I can't find any I'm going to make a full-sized bank, copying an original. It's good to be a cabinetmaker!