Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Foiled Again!

I've given some thought from time to time about the possibilities of hot foil printing, especially in relationship to book covers and the like. But this was a passive interest only until a couple weeks ago when I had the opportunity to pick up a vintage hot foil press that was otherwise destined for the scrap yard. It needs a good cleaning but I've fired it up and tried it out with the included burgundy tape and it works just fine. The two "idler" bars on the automatic feeder that stretch the tape between them and keep it at the right distance from the type were missing but an old catalog showed that they were simply 5/16" diameter round metal rod. I bought a length from the local hardware store and bent it to the right shape and now you can't tell the difference from the factory originals. The hand wheel that moves the upper arm was broken and I replaced it with a vintage part from my old parts pile in the basement. Only the cleaning remains.

The type holder holds forms up to 1" wide and 5 3/4" long. It's actually a rather large machine. The table is 12" x 12" and it weighs a good hundred pounds or so, about the size of a large tabletop drill press. Foil tape seems amazingly low priced so I'll have to pick up some gold and a few other colors. So the Front Room Press has become a bit more diversified in what it can do. Anyone need your name on a book? If anyone has any information on this company or press, I'd be very grateful if you'd get in touch.


Maggie at Gamewell Press said...

Wow, congratulations. I think that will be a pretty useful thing to have, and if I had the space, I'd certainly try to find one. Right now I'm using my Gocco with cloth ink for any book cover or spine printing, but if I ever start working with leather, that won't fly.
What type are you going to use for the stamping?

Rich Polinski said...

Yes, I'm pretty excited about the possibilities. As it turns out, one of the fonts of type I got with my original press was brass. At the time I just thought that they must have cast type in brass as well as regular type metal. But now I know. Unfortunately, it's a rather large 36 points but will surely come in useful for some project.

On the other hand, I've been doing a lot of research lately on type for hot foil stamping. It seems that true foundry type is perfectly accetable for a couple hundred impressions without doing it any damage. Only where thousands of impressions and repeted use are involved would there be problems. So I'll keep my eye out for used brass or zinc type I can get at a bargain and in the meantime don't have to be afraid of some short-run use of foundry type I have.