Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: C + P in Classroom
- Decent training and systematic practice should eliminate the need to live in fear of the C&P platen. The press is designed with a pause in the full open position so there is time to feed the paper; the platen moves away from you so there is a clear signal to get your hands out of the way. Only by following mis-fed paper down into the press or some odd behavior out of the normal pattern will make danger.Of course this assumes the speed of the motor can be controlled so a comfortable pattern is possible; and it assumes the operator can avoid dangerous situations when oiling and when adjusting parts that can move - experience and knowledge of the motions of the press should be part of the training. Gear covers, a treadle that allows operator control of the speed, and considerable practice with the throw-off are good ideas. Close observation by an instructor is important. Training needs to stress awareness of patterns of movement and the importance of routine practices (for safety but also for ergonomics, and for protection of the type and the equipment as well).One true danger spot: the feed table needs to be mounted back far enough to allow your hand to hold onto its front edge when the platen is fully open. Many presses have the feed table too far forward and eventually a crushed hand is inevitable.One major repair danger: the long springs in the roller side arms are under enormous pressure and should not be disassembled without great caution. Also, the bed and the gears can move unexpectedly if the press is partially disassembled, so should be secured in the process.26 years continuous work on my 10x15 C&P, with many visitors and interns in my shop, no injuries. I consider the guillotine lever paper cutter much more dangerous, and I have been pinched several times by a Kelsey and other small tabletop presses, never by the 10x15 platen.My recommendation is to include such a press in school training programs. Training solely on a Vandercook may not require the exacting justification and lock-up that is essential on a platen, where the form must be lifted. Adjustments and packing and positioning on a platen teach perspectives and strategies that bring an understanding of the mechanics of printing which might often seem effortless on the Vandercook. And certain kinds of production are much more appropriate for a platen press, while students who have learned only on a flatbed cylinder press try to acquire and use the wrong equipment because it is more comfortable for them - they need to be comfortable with both kinds of presses.