Sunday, December 20, 2015

Getting Back in the Groove...

This past year has been full of a few ups then downs and it just sort of left me in a little bit of a funk where I just didn't want to do much of anything on the blog.... But, I'm beginning to rebound and now I feel that am finally getting back into the groove.

We hope your holiday season is a joyous one!

Until next time...


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Did You Know Sometimes Life Gets a Little Sad....

It's hard to believe that April was the last time I updated this blog. I think about it all the time but I just couldn't seem to bring myself to sit down and write.

On Thursday, August 6th, late in the afternoon, my Mom passed on.

I am happy that she isn't scared any more. I drew this picture because I believe when she left her body she was greeted by my dogs, and hers, that have passed on. Together they walked along a path framed with zinnias, heading forward where they will once again see all our long lost family and friends who were waiting for her on the other side of the hill.

Until next time...

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Must Love Dogs....

I love dogs. 

No ifs and or buts about it.....

I have three Labradors who are loved and spoiled - Kasey is my old lady who has always been a nervous mess, Chloe is big, thin, and lovable, Maizie is my clown (she makes me laugh and smile the most - not that I have any favorites). 

The other night I thought I'd stretch my horizons and do a couple quick sketches of some different breeds of pooches....Here's what I came up with....and to my amazement I find that I love drawing mutts....who knows where it will lead....

I have a friend who is passionate about making quilt tops, another loves dollhouses and fixing up her house,... what about you...what is it that you love to do?

Wishing you all the best!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Letterpress - It's all about the Boxcar Base...

So far in this Letterpress Baby series we talked about installing the rollers and adjusting the roller height on our Chandler & Price 10 x 15 printing press. Next we'll talk about the Boxcar base. 

According to the serial number stamped on our C&P Letterpress it was manufactured in 1928. I'm not a Letterpress historian but my understanding is setting and printing with metal type was the most common method used for printing at that time. 

I don't use metal type for several reasons - primarily because of the costs and storage that would be needed - so we won't be discussing that process here. However, below are a few links to other articles and a video if it is something you are interested in learning more about: 
For our Letterpress Baby I've opted to use an Aluminum Boxcar Base that we purchased from Boxcar Press. The Boxcar base allows us to create designs using Photoshop, save them as a Vector file using Illustrator and then having that design turned into a type of plate made with Polymer that will stick to the Boxcar base. The Polymer plate behaves the same way as the metal type and allows us to get the embossed impression on our cards.

The Boxcar base we chose for our press was the Deep Relief Base. We laid the base into the Chase, which is an iron frame, and then place wooden blocks called "furniture" around the sides to hold it into place. Once we have it firmly held, we lock it in using a quoins. 

Once everything was set, we placed the Chase into the press. The next step was to setup the Tapan paper, gauge pins, and line up the Polymer Plate so it is ready for inking and printing - which will be the next segment in this series. 

Everything I've read about blogging says you shouldn't send people to another site - because what happens if they don't come back??? But, I think Boxcar has a great tutorial that provides a lot of good information and detail - so for your convenience, here is the link to that article which includes wonderful photos including images of Polymer Plates for those of you who are curious. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Bird Painting...

Working on a bird painting....

Until next time...


Saturday, March 21, 2015

There's a song trapped in my head...

The back surgery has been about a 95% success, the searing pain in the hip and leg have disappeared and there is some lingering numbness in my foot that the doctor says may be gone in about 6 months.

The strange thing is that since the surgery, I've had this song trapped in my head and the only way to get it out was with a little hand-lettering and watercolor.

I'm concerned this song is like an epidemic - be careful - once you read the words you may catch it. 

Do any songs get stuck on replay in your mind? 
Which ones and what do you do to make them go away?

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Letterpress - Adjusting the Roller Height

In my last post I talked about how to install the rollers onto a C&P letterpress.

Once the rollers are installed, it is important to set the correct distance between the chase plate and the rollers so as to not damage the rollers or the plate.

I don't use letterpress type to imprint the images onto the paper for a couple of reasons. I don't own any type and to be honest, our house barely has room for the letterpress let alone a lot of type.

We use polymer plates that are made using a process that converts a digital image into a negative, then uses a UV light to burn it onto a polymer plate. The plate looks very similar to a stamp you buy at at the store, only it is made with our design. I'll share more about this in in another blog article.

Roller Setting Gage

To measure the distance between the chase and rollers we took a Roller Setting Gage and slipped it between the rollers and the plate that holds the chase.

Based on the type of Boxcar base we use on our press we needed the distance to be 3/32.

To say the least, we were way north of 3/32. So we had to adjust the roller height.

Measuring the distance 

I discovered that the way to adjust the height of the rollers is to apply packing tape to the the rails.

For our letterpress, we applied 13 layers of tape on the two rails - and the rollers were still too close.

Taping the rails

So, after a little more research I found a comment from someone in a forum somewhere (sorry, I can't remember where) that said to use electrical tape on the trucks to adjust the height.

We then applied five layers of electrical tape on the trucks on one side of the press and based on the measurements seven on the other side.

I'm not going to fudge the truth.... it took a while to get everything just right. Patience came in handy.

Taping the Trucks

The video below is from Boxcar Press and gives a great demo and explanation on how to adjust the roller height. Enjoy!

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Letterpress Setup - Installing the Rollers

As we have proceeded head long into our Letterpress adventure, I've learned so much through trial, error, and Google searches that I thought I would document what we've experienced through a series of posts. 

Our Letterpress baby is a 1928 Chandler & Price 10x18 with a Kluge Automatic Feeder. We live in a small house so our C&P resides in the garage tucked away in a corner until we want to use it. 

After we brought it home and took stock, we determined that before we could actually use it, we had to purchase some items and have the electric motor re-wired to 110,

The electrical work was completed first. The motor looks to be pretty old and the electrician said it'll work fine; however, just be sure to where good shoes whenever I touch the metal on the press. 

I purchased a Boxcar base, which I will discuss in a different article, some other odds and ends, and we had to have the rollers recovered. 

White trucks on the end of the rollers 
We found a local company, Imperial Rollers who has a good reputation. We dropped the originals off and Imperial had them back to us in about a week. I'll say this, I felt Imperial Rollers was a great company, has pleasant people, and were reasonably priced. When we dropped the rollers off, the owner commented that they appeared to be original. He took a knife and sliced one of them open to show us that they were made of animal fat - Yuck. Now they are a nice blue synthetic material.

The C&P has the ability to hold three rollers. Depending on what you need to ink, you can use all three, two at one time, or just a single roller.

In order for the rollers to roll across the Ink Disk and chase, each roller has to have two trucks - one on each end. The Trucks then roll along the rail allowing the rollers to spin collecting and deploying ink. 

Original truck that came with the press

When we bought the press it came with 15 trucks. All but three of the original trucks were the wrong size. 

We were able to salvage two and make them work with one roller for our initial test; but, we needed at least four more trucks so we could have the option of using two or all three rollers at one time. 

New trucks we purchased at NA Graphics

After a little research, we found a company, NA Graphics, that sells all types of letterpress accessories. I was able to purchase new white plastic trucks which arrived in less than a week. 

We slid the new trucks into position on each end of the roller and were ready to install the rollers onto the press. 

The rollers sit in saddles on the press. 

In my opinion, installing the rollers into the saddles is a two person job. The tension on the saddles is very strong, so you need one person guiding the roller into one saddle and another working the roller into the saddle on the other side. 

Installing the rollers
We decided to use two rollers for this initial run.

Here are the steps we followed to install the two rollers.

  1. Roll the saddles to the top of the Ink Disk.
  2. One person stands on the right side of the press and angles the roller to the left side (as if you were facing the Ink Disk).
  3. The person on the left side, pulls the bottom of the two roller saddle, up and out. This allows the roller to slide into the saddle. The truck will then be resting on the rail.
  4. Once the left side is in, the person on the right uses the 2" rod that sticks out on the saddle to help push the saddle out and over the roller. Again, the truck will be resting on the rail.
  5. Repeat the process for the top roller. 

Rollers installed

Once the rollers were installed we were ready for the next step - measuring the depth between the rollers and chase which will be the topic for the next article in this series. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! 


Saturday, February 14, 2015

First print off our Letterpress

Here is the polymer plate sample and the print we ran on the press last weekend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Letterpress Baby...


I know it has been a little bit since I've provided an update but work and life sometime collide and the time just gets away from me before I realize it. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post - we bought a Chandler and Price 10x15 Letterpress with an automatic feeder last fall.

In between the day job, and dealing with the sciatica pain in my leg, I've been burying myself in Letterpress research. To get it the press up and running, we've had the original rollers recovered, the motor re-wired, purchased a Boxcar base for the chase, and a sample polymer plate (which is a lot like a stamp) that we would use for our print test. 

Placing the Boxcar Base into the Chase
Finally, this past weekend we pulled the press out into the center of the garage for a test run. 

After oiling the 100 plus locations (because you are supposed to oil the press before each run) we attached one roller, inked the disk and put it through the paces. 

Here is a picture of placing the Boxcar Base being setup in the chase. We used blocks of wood called furniture to hold it into place. 

Boxcar Base and Chase in place 
When we ordered the base we also ordered a sample polymer plate that we could use as our test image. 

So once the chase was placed into the press we attached the polymer plate (which has an adhesive that allows it to stick to the base). 

We then attached a roller (a topic I'll save for another day), threw on some ink, figured out the automation (another lengthy topic I'll share in the future) - all I can say is THANK YOU to my hubby, daughter and her wonderful boyfriend because without them I don't think we would have had a test run. With their help we finally fired our Letterpress Baby up!

Here is a video of our last test run. The boyfriend is the person in the red shirt monitoring the paper feed. 

One of the coolest features about our press is that after each cycle it rings a bell. I love that! 

Bell hidden away in the back of the Letterpress

I'll take a snapshot of the polymer plate we used and a sample of what our very first test run looked like tomorrow.

So do you think about Letterpress? Part of me thinks I am crazy and completely in over my head to the point it is laughable - yet I think I'm falling in love...

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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