Ready to Print

You may recall in an earlier post that I decided to do a split run (technically two editions) of the Vampire and the Seventh Daughter: fifty copies on twelve pages 8.5×5.5″ for the Press Gang collaboration, and 50 (or maybe 75) on very fine paper in a larger configuration. I’m pleased to report that 80 sheets of Arches Text Wove arrived last week, so I’m proceeding with the tall edition first. It costs around $2 per sheet, so I’m still recovering from the stress of cutting it down to the page size for the fine edition (!2″ x 13″, when folded creates a page size of 12″ tall x 6.5″ wide).

Well, I say cutting in the technical sense. I decided I liked the rough edge, or decal, on the paper, so I will be printing this job without a trim cut, or a 1/4″ cut around the entire sheet. Since that was the case, I thought, and since letterpress is for masochists, I chose to score, fold and tear sheet by precious sheet the entire supply by hand. Measure twice, cut once indeed! It worked out pretty well, although custom measuring and cutting 80 does not produce the accurate results of the swift stroke of the guillotine, any irregularity should be (hopefully) insignificant, and the end result pleasing.

Part of letterpress is the sensuality of the medium, and paper is a big part of that, as I blathered on about in a previous entry. I first encountered Arches Text through Holly, since this rag-based cotton paper is beloved by calligraphers for its evenness, and yet still possessing an agreeable tooth, which makes it feel like one is holding felt. I’ve never printed on it before, but I expect the same qualities to make it golden for letterpress. Although Arches sells it as ‘white’, it really has a beautiful cream colour. In this age of hyper-bleached paper, that alone endears me.

So with the stock ready, yesterday I drew up my page masters. These are the key to the entire print job, since they supply the specs, page dimensions etc. that take the dummy and transform it into something, well, if not real, at least less abstract than the dummy.

I have no idea why WordPress doesn’t put a blue border around my thumbnails, but if you click on the one at left, you can see a good-sized image of the dummy on top and the page master on the bottom. Lewd innuendos aside, they form the crux of the printing of a book, or pamphlet in this case. All that’s left is to cut a quantity of scrap or rough paper to use as proofs, and I’m ready to go.

The dummy at the top was made from proofs pulled early of both the text and illustrations. The bits are held on (not very well) by Scotch Tape. This is the only time I miss the waxer we once used on layout. The dotted lines on either side of the text block in the master at bottom signify the extent of the form. The text block is the province of the compositor, and while might measure 20 picas, but he has a quad (em space) at the beginning and end of the line, making the width of whole form 22 picas, which is what concerns the printer as he plans the makeready on his press. Being both the compositor and the printer does resolve many issues.

Another thing WordPress has changed in this latest interface change is the removal of the word count, which means I’ve prattled on ad nausium. Therefore, salut!

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Explore posts in the same categories: Letterpress printing, Paper

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