The broadsides are done!
After last week's printing session, I had printed my linocuts and run a few trial prints with the type underneath. The registration was fine, but I had a problem with slurry -- little ink lines dragging across the paper. There's a huge amount of trial and error involved in getting a print perfect, and I'm not always a patient man. This week, I locked up the type vertically to eliminate the slurry, then struggled to get the type aligned correctly. The Vandercook I was working on had a few issues.
Sometimes the text came out with a forty-five degree tilt, sometimes it came out level with the artwork. The simplest fix was to run the paper through at a slight angle, which meant attaching it to the grippers atop the cylinder all askew. Getting a consistent skew was the challenge!
Once the text was on the page, it was time to pull out the loupe. I used quite a bit of packing (paper underneath the page to be printed, intended to raise the height and improve the lead type's contact), which made for a deep impression, and some fuzziness around the debossed letters.
The type was 18 pt. Goudy Modern. Combined with the traditional red-and-black coloring, this lends the broadsides an old school charm. Although the paper size is 10" x 10.5", and the intention is to trim that extra half inch to create perfect squares, you can see I've aligned everything on the lefthand size of the page. Once the classroom broadside exchange is done, I'm going to slice the sides off of the prints that remain, giving me a nice long-and-thin broadside.
So that's the project. I hope you've enjoyed following along. No doubt this will be the first of many letterpress endeavors. My next class will be an introduction to platen presses.