Nov 17, 2009

Punch Cards -- Night & Day

So I did a little print job for the tea shop -- loyalty punch cards. It took two attempts, the first totally wretched - the second totally rockin! I don't know what sort of bad vibes I had going on the first night, but it just seemed like nothing was working right. Prints were looking like this:
They were coming out with a ghosty faded spot that moved across the card! Before I realized the under-inked patch was moving I packed and re-packed the tympan with endless disappointment. I ended up over-inking to compensate, which was a problem in itself. Too much ink on the form and the card would get pulled right out of my makeshift guage pins, stick to the form and the rollers would ink over the back of it on their way down. Ugh.
Also! Part of my press literally disappeared!! The little pin? screw? wire? spring? (how should I know? its nowhere to be found!!) that held this action together (called the "ink table operating dog") is totally gone. I replaced it with a nail and some masking tape. High class, I know. I didn't noticed it had disappeared, so the ink plate didn't turn as I was printing and the ink built up unevenly on the rollers - compounding my inking/printing problems. Hooray!

I finally realized that the under-inked spot moving across my cards was caused by a spot on one of the rollers that wasn't inking up, probably because of some left-over crisco from the last time they were cleaned. The only fix was to clean the rollers and start fresh. It was already 11pm so I said Fuck it! and quit for the night.

My next day off I got up early and tried again. This time everything was glorious! I listened to an awesome Jefferson Airplane album (volunteers) while I printed and everything was just great. Prints were coming out like this:
Even and pretty! Yay! I don't even have much to say about it went so well, except that Jefferson Airplane and letterpress were made for each other. Oh, here's a shot of my make shift guage pins:
I made them out of sewing pins, just popped the heads off. I carved a full bleed on both the top and bottom of my lino block without thinking how I would hold the card in the press. (DUH!) So there are still two little white spots on the bottom of each card where the wave border didn't print because of the pins. Oh well. That was more of a blow on night one.

I also noticed on day two that lino blocks are slightly lower than lead type, so I stripped the masking tape wrap from my trucks and it really improved how well the block was inking.

Day two was a hit! I ended up printing about 500, that's quite a lot! Thanks Jefferson Airplane!
Here's another picture of the press looking pretty:


  1. Don't you just love that feeling when printing all goes right? It's made even sweeter when it all goes wrong the night before!
    The finished product looks great.
    I'm glad the quick fix on the ink pawl worked so well - I wonder what happened to the part? Are you going to leave it like that or see if NA Graphics or John Barrett has some sort of spare part?

  2. Ah! I love your blog! And you looked at my blog! This makes me really excited. c:

    I will look for a new part to replace the magical disappearing one. But I have the feeling its a task that might be procrastinated (actual word?) for a while....