Tintern Abbey Rolls Off the Press!

A binding in green

I finished printing Tintern Abbey early on Wednesday, April 25, marking almost four full weeks of setting type, dissing it again, proofing pages, changing colours and running the edition. Another month or so prior I spent cutting the illustrations, with some trepidation but with satisfactory results. And in the end, it all came together as a book.

I tasked myself to have at least one copy ready for the Grimsby Wayzgoose; in the end, I managed to bind up four. Three sold at the show, I took orders for two more as well as two deluxe editions. the next step is to get the deluxe copies under way, and binding up more regular copies and publicizing them. I’ll put all the details of the edition in both states up in a subsequent blog entry.

The small title page with engraving.

Normally when I print a book, I keep a notebook handy, or record my adventures and mis-adventures here in this non-substantial space. With the Grimsby Wayzgoose always looming ever closer, the production became a rush… not the most ideal of situations. However, the benefit of a deadline is that a project gains momentum and gets done on time.

I’ve been looking back on the project and trying to remember the bits and pieces of either rewarding or peculiar happenings. From the start, TA was a considerably more ambitious project than any of our previous books. The whole would be printed on St. Armand Canal paper, and would be our longest book at 40 pages. It would be illustrated with wood engravings… not such a great technical feat after printing Graven Images, but cutting the blocks myself proved intimidating, especially with all of Thomas Bewick‘s prints around me while I worked. Let’s just say I gained an intense appreciation for the master’s work. This is the first book using Holly’s calligraphy rendered to plates, and a substantial use of a second colour that is not red.

The title page spread.

Beyond these firsts, there are the usual matters: the nature and quality of the type, the work of setting and dissing it, the functioning of the press, the varying degrees in ink and how it interacts with paper, and the paper itself. I’ll make these subjects of upcoming and more frequently regular posts over the next couple of weeks while I work on finishing more books.

Engravings, text and calligraphy working together on a 2-page spread.

To start with, I’ll finish off my thoughts about printing the wood engravings (the making of them has been dealt with earlier). They printed very well, and without much of the anguish I had from the blocks in Graven Images. Granted the latter were 130 year old or more. I found the Resingrave blocks printed very well, as did the engrain maple. Make-ready was minimal and, in one instance of robust energy or desperation, I printed three engravings in one day (on separate sheets). It went well, thankfully.

Tintern Abbey page spread with engraving on wood and calligraphy on magnesium.

The engravings have been well received, and I have been forbidden from staining them my own jaundiced eye. The answers to my own complaints, I know, lie in practice, practice, practice.


Explore posts in the same categories: Block Printing, Book Launches, Book Making, Books, Letterpress printing, Poetry, Wood Engraving

4 Comments on “Tintern Abbey Rolls Off the Press!”

  1. It looks wonderful!

  2. wollamshram Says:

    Congratulations. I’ll be looking forward to getting my copy.

  3. aneclecticuniverse Says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Well done!!!

  4. Cathryn Says:

    Looks like a wonderful edition: I am hoping that you someday get to have a view of Tintern from those “steep and lofty cliffs.” There’s a place called “The Devil’s Seat” on a footpath high above the abbey.

    It’s the best view these days.

    One can hardly see the chain-link fence and parking lots at all.

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