Production

Printing V&7thD was a hard and physically difficult slog. At shows and at ease, when talking to people about the joys of letterpress, I never seem to remember the swollen feet, aching right arm and being generally sore all over. The motion of cranking the drum up and down is neither natural nor ergonomic, and after I had finished printing, I began to notice my hip occasionally giving out under me, not enough to fall but still unnerving (pardon the pun). A trip to the chiropractor has fixed the problem.

After printing the text that I had set, I had to dis two paragraphs, then a third, to gather enough type to finish the job. If this had been the only print run of these forms, I wouldn’t have been so sulky about it, but as it stands, I’m going to have to dis this type, re-set the three paragraphs again for the Press Gang edition, dis that and re-set the ending. Does any of that make sense? No, not really. I may edit the story down to avoid it entirely. We’ll see.

On Monday, I set the remaining two paragraphs and measured how much space it too up on the last page. I had miscalculated the length. I thought I would have several lines left at the end of page five. In the end, it fit perfectly, using the full 30 lines available. As I’ve said before, I’m a lucky guy….

Printing proceeded at a blistering pace over three or four days. That is too fast; it opens the door to all kinds of mistakes, particularly typographical errors. While the V&7thD seems so far to have been spared the indignities of a typo, these things have a tendency to rear their ugly heads later on. In retrospect, it was a terrible risk, but it paid off in the end. Like I said: lucky guy.

Come Tuesday, with the Grimsby Wayzgoose only five days away, with just three days to complete the work, a note of panic crept into proceedings, and crack began to show in my foundation. In the mad rush I forgot to identify the Greyweathers Press imprint on the copyright page, which meant a final extra press pass at the end of production, but I did manage to remember to place the author’s name on the title page, just before starting the main run. It’s important, because credit doesn’t appear anywhere else.

On Wednesday, I inked up the press in red, cut the drop “O”, and began the run, but it disintegrated after about 25 impressions. There just wasn’t time to worry about it or cut another block. In the end, I’ll probably have a magnesium plate made to finish off the run. Later, I cleaned the press, inked up in a very, very dark blue oil based ink to print the cover page labels. After this, I bound up a prototype.

Overall, V&7thD remains an experience in which I learned much, and in a few spots it shows in the work. Otherwise, I am very pleased with the results. As a concept piece, I’m very happy with the design, even if I’m hung up on print quality. It never ceases to amaze me how the type appears so differently under different light.

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3 Comments on “Production”


  1. Thanks for bringing us along!

  2. marie Says:

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for making this so interesting!
    Save a copy for Blair and I – Blair loves vampires.

    See ya soon.

    M

  3. Meg Says:

    Larry: BLOG ON!!!


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