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Re: [PPLetterpress] Real Printing

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  • Bruce Kennett Studio
    ... this seems spot-on to me! i am a photographer as well as book designer, and a few years ago i helped to create a book for kodak s professional photography
    Message 1 of 26 , May 1 9:13 AM
      >I guess my take on it is this: all these things are tools in our toolbox.
      >The more tools we have, the more choices we have so that we can satisfy both
      >aesthetic and practical considerations. I frankly prefer to stay open to all
      >possibilities and the various quirks of each process because I think the
      >subtle differences in each process increase the potential for powerful
      >communication.

      this seems spot-on to me!

      i am a photographer as well as book designer, and a few years ago i
      helped to create a book for kodak's professional photography division
      in germany. it was at a time when a lot of professional shooters were
      growing very anxious about converting to digital. the thrust of the
      book was that they should not fully embrace digital, nor should they
      hold back in pure analogue. instead, they should think of it as a
      system of *hybrid* imaging, where they drew from the strengths of
      each area and tried to minimize as best they could the inherent
      shortcomings of each. (for example, an image on a sheet of 4x5 color
      transparency film can hold a HUGE amount of data, and have fantastic
      tonal smoothness, and it takes up a whole lot less room than a hard
      drive; but it's also very tender and fragile, and it remains as a
      physical object. by contrast, a digital file of the same image can be
      sent electronically, manipulated in a wild number of ways, and
      combined with other images, etc. but it may be lacking in subtlety
      and tonal smoothness.)

      that said, each year brings digital that much closer to analogue in
      photography, and in music reproduction.

      i agree wholeheartedly with katie here: i feel most comfortable with
      the notion that there *is* no absolute best way, it varies so much
      from job to job -- driven by content, budget, schedule, available
      machinery, intended readers, etc. and i'm more interested in good
      printing and effective and beautiful design than i am in *real*
      printing (whatever that is . . .)

      bruce

      (i just signed up for this list so i'll be a new name for everyone,b
      ut at some point i'll explain a bit about my interests)
      --


      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      Bruce Kennett Studio
      1234 West Side Road
      North Conway NH 03860
      Phone 603-447-2338
      Fax 603-447-5510
      www.brucekennettstudio.com
      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    • Fritz Klinke
      My first hand setting of type dates back to the mid-50s on the Canyon Courier in Evergreen, Colo., but I recently achieved my goal of having some of all of the
      Message 2 of 26 , May 1 9:20 AM
        My first hand setting of type dates back to the mid-50s on the Canyon
        Courier in Evergreen, Colo., but I recently achieved my goal of having some
        of all of the hot metal machines--Ludow, Linotype, Monotype--and yet we make
        photopolymer plates almost every day. This morning's work includes a set of
        plates for a fellow who prints decals for model railroaders which are done
        on a Vandercook Universal I that was made to his specifications in the 60s.
        His railroad type is all custom created on a computer and cannot be
        duplicated in metal type.

        I have also worked in a "real" letterpress production shop where massive
        amounts of letterpress work was done on a regular basis to very tight
        schedules. What ever produced the end result desired by the customer was
        fair game. It ran from hand set type to the earliest photopolymer plates
        (Dycril) to chrome plated electros, and often combined offset. An example
        would have been the catalog for a junior college we did in 3 weeks--4-color
        offset cover, about 430 pages of 8 pt Linotype, about 15 halftones, 20,000
        copies, all chapter heads hand set, and perfect bound. This was done on
        several presses including Miehle flatbeds and Heidelberg cylinders. And not
        too many blocks away was where the Grabhorns once produced their exquisite
        letterpress books and commercial printing. Thus a discussion or debate of
        what is "real" in terms of letterpress has to cover all the aspects of the
        trade--no one part is any more real than another in my opinion and
        experience.

        Fritz Klinke, NA Graphics
        1314 Greene Street, P.O. Box 467
        Silverton, Colorado 81433 USA
        970-387-0212, fax 970-387-0127
        nagraph@...



        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Peter Fraterdeus" <peterf@...>
        To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2003 8:38 AM
        Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Real Printing


        The proof's in the pudding ;-)

        I've yet to prefer hot metal badly arranged to cold well designed.

        However, particularly for display, there's no substitution for the instant f
        eedback that metal foundry type allows. To pull a proof, switch a copper
        hair-space from one side of a letter to the other, pull the proof again...

        The computer, with the no-rules philosophy, allows the creation of work
        which has no guts, no bones, no spirit. Even badly set linotype and foundry
        has some honesty about it.

        (For the record, I designed my first digital typeface in 1985 and was
        working in letterpress a few years before that.)

        Gutenberg's critics didn't really care about the 'beauty' of 'calligraphy'.
        They were more concerned about their own jobs, and that his press could put
        1000 of them out of work with a single book!


        Ciao
        Peter



        At 9:11 AM -0400 2003-05-01, Mike Gastin wrote:
        >Bryan,
        >
        >I read that same article and thought the guy was a dope. But, I thought
        more
        >about it ...
        >
        >He was originally an ad agency guy and left the biz to start his little
        >press. I think he makes a big noise about real vs. plastic in an effort to
        >impress his ad community friends who supply him with work. I think he is
        >providing a kind of snob appeal to impress (no pun intended!) his
        >customers - the agencies.
        >
        >I do not agree with his attitude about polymer. I think the question was
        >asked in a previous post - what did some folk thing of Gutenberg and his
        >mechanical type verses the "beauty" of hand lettering?
        >
        >I think polymer is an awesome tool to allow a printer accomplish something
        >that is unreasonable with the supply of metal type these days. Progress
        ....
        >
        >Mike
        >
        >
        >----- Original Message -----
        >From: "Bryan Hutcheson" <bryan@...>
        >To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
        >Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2003 2:13 AM
        >Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Real Printing
        >
        >
        >Beware of someone who claims they can define what is, or is not, real.
        There
        >was an article about a letterpress printer in a recent issue of Print. The
        >featured printer was taking this holier than thou attitude about
        >letterpress...claiming his work wasn't "plastic". He may not have been usin
        g
        >polymer, but he sure in the hell was pretentious. His claims that his
        >printing was "real" was about as fake as it gets...
        >
        ...

        --
        AzByCx DwEvFu GtHsIr JqKpLo MnNmOl PkQjRi ShTgUf VeWdXc YbZa&@

        Peter Fraterdeus http://www.midsummernightstamps.com
        http://www.fraterdeus.com |* + * + * + Rubber Stamp Fine Art!

        http://www.semiotx.com Web Strategy Consulting < * > Mac OS X
        "Words that work."(tm) Communication Design and Typography


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      • Charles Jones
        Would those on the list recommend a Heidelberg cylinder press? I have the chance to get one. We are using a vandercook Univ. III at present. Charlie
        Message 3 of 26 , May 1 10:11 AM
          Would those on the list recommend a Heidelberg cylinder press? I have the
          chance to get one. We are using a vandercook Univ. III at present. Charlie
        • Charles Jones
          I understand that the Medici Family of Florence would not support the establishment of a press in the late 1500 s because it would was felt that books printed
          Message 4 of 26 , May 1 10:23 AM
            I understand that the Medici Family of Florence would not support the
            establishment of a press in the late 1500's because it would was felt that
            books printed from type, that new fangled'stuff would somehow lessen the
            value of their collection of hand illuminated and lettered books. We need,
            as so many have eloqeuntly said, realize that tools are tools and not the
            result. I belonged to a letterpress guild for a year or two during which
            time I received a bundle of work printed from type each month. There was
            some good but most was poorly designed and often times badly printed.
            Cheers, Charlie
          • Kathleen Whalen
            Unreservedly YES! In England the private presses Fleece, Whittington and the late lamented Rocket Press, all use Heidelberg cylinders if you d like to see the
            Message 5 of 26 , May 1 11:01 AM
              Unreservedly YES! In England the private presses Fleece, Whittington and the
              late lamented Rocket Press, all use Heidelberg cylinders if you'd like to
              see the sort of work that small publishers are producing on these machines.


              Graham Moss
              Incline Press
              11A Printer Street
              Oldham OL1 1PN England
              (44) 0161 627 1966
              http://www.inclinepress.com


              > From: Charles Jones <cjones@...>
              > Reply-To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
              > Date: Thu, 01 May 2003 12:11:01 -0500
              > To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Real press?
              >
              > Would those on the list recommend a Heidelberg cylinder press? I have the
              > chance to get one. We are using a vandercook Univ. III at present. Charlie
              >
            • funquie
              ... I d beg to differ. From what I ve read of Rogers (in his own words, and those of his biographers and friends) he thought Offset printing was, although a
              Message 6 of 26 , May 1 11:08 AM
                "Paul W Romaine" wrote:


                > Would Bruce Rogers or Daniel Berkeley Updike have jumped at
                > photopolymer, digital composition and modern offset? You bet!

                I'd beg to differ. From what I've read of Rogers (in his own words,
                and those of his biographers and friends) he thought Offset printing
                was, although a boon for the printing "industry", a curse on the
                printing "art". It's product is cold, sterile, flat, and without
                tactile "real-ness"...

                All that said, you can't get good color photos in a publication with
                lettepress technology...


                > a certain feel and ... for lack of a better term, "zen" to setting
                > foundry type.

                Yes, I agree. Although I've been working with computers since
                "PageMaker v.1.0", and can set electronic type with the best of them
                (gotta love those AdobeExpert Sets!), there is something meditative
                about setting lead type by hand. The rhythmic click of lead alloy on
                steel, the preassure of the thumb in a composing stick, the swinging
                of the arm from case to stick--it IS a very Zen activity. Setting type
                by hand is all about "REAL-NESS"--metal, ink, clacking steel and iron,
                letters and images being forcibly impressed into paper. Letterpress
                printing produces a real, tangible, eternal THING.

                Whereas, setting type on computers is all about illusion. Bits and
                bytes, transitory signals through wires, lasers, static charges, toner
                on paper which will crumble away in a few decades. Modern printing is
                fleeting, impermanent, and transitory.



                > May I quibble? Gutenberg's invention had the *potential* to bring
                > books, pardons, printed forms, posters, newspapers, playbills...

                Although modern free-thinking individuals might speculate that the
                Press had tremendous potential to free the common man, it in fact only
                aided to his further enslavement, subjugation, and oppression. The
                Press brought mass-produceable printed messages, and with it,, the
                easy dissemination of ever-increasing laws, beaurocracy, and
                government regulations of everything from what texts were printed, to
                how many chickens you were allowed to own if you were of a certain
                religion...

                The press brought things like censorship, beaurocracy, genocide (based
                on census data) and propaganda into ubiquity.

                The press, in fact, could be touted as the single most insideous
                instrument of human subjugation since the sword or spear...

                I've been doing letterpress for about 2 years. I did a little in
                college (a few decades ago, printing posters for the Theatre Dept.
                with wood type on a little flatbed poster press.) I also do a LOT of
                computer typesetting. The shop where I currently work prints mostly
                offset, with plates we make directly from our computer files.

                I wish they made "relief" plate material for our Direct-To-Plate
                machine. To be able to make my own plates for the Heidelberg from
                files on my mac, and have them spit out in a matter of minutes would
                be heavenly, but alas, it is not to be...

                I love my Mac. I love Quark and Photoshop and Illustrator. I love
                well-crafted digital type (which is, unfortunately, in the vast
                MINORITY in the hundreds of currently available digital typefaces.)

                But there is something very special and almost mystical about pulling
                some slightly over-preassure prints, set in ATF Caslon Old Style on
                Rives BFK Medium from the platen of my 1912 C&P 10x15 Old Series
                press--a feeling, both magical and tangible that I doubt we will ever
                be able to elicit from modern digital techno-printing, no matter how
                high the resolution, how advanced the pigments, or how sophisticated
                the software becomes...

                And so I set type, and print. And I use Photopolymer plates too
                because it lets me use techniques and tricks on Letterpress that are
                otherwise impossible (or maddening) to achieve. Like "text-on-a-curve"
                or sophisticated separations, or strange type manipulation.

                But no matte what I do on my computer, when it comes to printing type,
                it will ALWAYS (in my opinion) look better if printed by a relief
                process. I'm sure the folks at Ryobi, Heidelberg, and Komori think
                differently, but they are just too dazzled by the technology to see
                the subtle beauty of "real printing"...

                That's just my opinion, though. YMMV...

                --Richard Creighton
                "Dreamer Press"
                Martinsburg WV
              • funquie
                ... According to an associate of mine who used to work for the US Dept of Treasury, Heidelberg Cylinders are about as close as you can get to the presses they
                Message 7 of 26 , May 1 11:40 AM
                  Charles Jones wrote:

                  > Would those on the list recommend a Heidelberg cylinder press?
                  > I have the chance to get one.

                  According to an associate of mine who used to work for the US Dept of
                  Treasury, Heidelberg Cylinders are about as close as you can get to
                  the presses they use to print US currency, in quality of image,
                  reliability, and durability. I've already decided that after I get a
                  Windmill, my first flatbed cylinder with be, without a doubt, a
                  Heidelberg. But that's WAY down the line. First, I need a Kingsley
                  foiler, a bigger C&P Old Series, a C&P Craftsman, and I have to build
                  a wood-frame/metal screw Franklin/Common press...

                  Yes, I'm relatively young (37) very ambition, and still have stars in
                  my eyes. My attitude is explained by the name my girlfriend came up
                  with for my shop... :)

                  --Richard Creighton
                  "Dreamer Press"
                  Martinsburg WV
                • The Indian Hill Press
                  By all means grab the Heidelberg cylinder. We use ours almost daily, and with ever more admiration for the fantastic engineering. One warning, however. These
                  Message 8 of 26 , May 1 2:38 PM
                    By all means grab the Heidelberg cylinder. We use ours almost daily,
                    and with ever more admiration for the fantastic engineering.

                    One warning, however. These machines are built like the Pyramids. Our
                    KSBA weighs in at about 6,600 pounds - and ours is the baby of the
                    family. It takes a real pro to move a Heidelberg - forget the
                    crowbars and pipe rollers!

                    Dan Waters
                    Indian Hill Press

                    >Would those on the list recommend a Heidelberg cylinder press? I have the
                    >chance to get one. We are using a vandercook Univ. III at present. Charlie
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >ï To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                    >PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                    >ï Encountering problems? contact:
                    >PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                    >ï To unsubscribe:
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                    >
                    >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  • thronobulx@aol.com
                    Tell it like it is, Fritz! James Shanley B Designs [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    Message 9 of 26 , May 1 7:11 PM
                      Tell it like it is, Fritz!

                      James Shanley
                      B Designs


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • thronobulx@aol.com
                      While I have nothing but total admiration and respect for Dan Waters as New-England s preeminent folk poet and master printer, I must beg to differ. Under no
                      Message 10 of 26 , May 1 7:31 PM
                        While I have nothing but total admiration and respect for Dan Waters as
                        New-England's preeminent folk poet and master printer, I must beg to differ.

                        Under no circumstances should you procure that Heidelberg cylinder press!
                        Have it sent directly to my shop so that I may suffer appropriately for all
                        my past, present and future sins. This is my only hope of salvation.

                        Thank you for helping me atone.

                        James Shanley
                        B Designs.


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Charles Jones
                        ... I am making the arrangements as I type. Look for it on your birthday! All 3 tons of it. And a good morning to all, Charlie
                        Message 11 of 26 , May 2 6:48 AM
                          On 5/1/03 9:31 PM, "thronobulx@..." <thronobulx@...> wrote:

                          > While I have nothing but total admiration and respect for Dan Waters as
                          > New-England's preeminent folk poet and master printer, I must beg to differ.
                          >
                          > Under no circumstances should you procure that Heidelberg cylinder press!
                          > Have it sent directly to my shop so that I may suffer appropriately for all
                          > my past, present and future sins. This is my only hope of salvation.
                          >
                          > Thank you for helping me atone.
                          >
                          > James Shanley
                          > B Designs.
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > ? To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                          > PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                          > ? Encountering problems? contact:
                          > PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                          > ? To unsubscribe:
                          > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                          >
                          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                          >
                          >
                          I am making the arrangements as I type. Look for it on your birthday! All
                          3 tons of it. And a good morning to all, Charlie
                        • Charles Jones
                          ... This press has been converted for die-cutting and embossing. It was built in 1950 and came from Buckingham Palace according to the auction house s
                          Message 12 of 26 , May 2 9:03 AM
                            On 5/1/03 4:38 PM, "The Indian Hill Press" <mail@...> wrote:

                            > By all means grab the Heidelberg cylinder. We use ours almost daily,
                            > and with ever more admiration for the fantastic engineering.
                            >
                            > One warning, however. These machines are built like the Pyramids. Our
                            > KSBA weighs in at about 6,600 pounds - and ours is the baby of the
                            > family. It takes a real pro to move a Heidelberg - forget the
                            > crowbars and pipe rollers!
                            >
                            > Dan Waters
                            > Indian Hill Press
                            >
                            This press has been converted for die-cutting and embossing. It was built
                            in 1950 and came from Buckingham Palace according to the auction house's
                            information. Is it costly and or difficult to convert it back to
                            letterpress?
                            I appreciate anything you folks can tell me. Cheers, Charlie
                          • Fritz Klinke
                            Serial numbers 196 through 1240 are attributed to 1950, the first year of S line Heidelberg cylinders (Wieslock plant). A converted press usually means the
                            Message 13 of 26 , May 2 10:30 AM
                              Serial numbers 196 through 1240 are attributed to 1950, the first year of S
                              line Heidelberg cylinders (Wieslock plant). A converted press usually means
                              the "inkers," as the non-letterpress folks call the ink fountain/ink roller
                              assembly, have been removed and other changes mean that it is impossible to
                              reconfigure a true converted press. Additionally, most press beds, which are
                              made of relatively soft cast iron, are usually milled down to accept a
                              harder steel bed plate as steel rule will dent a regular bed. Have someone
                              who is knowledgeable about Heidelberg cylinders look at it, but I doubt you
                              would be able to print with this press.

                              In the US, firms like Hicks Brothers, Demers, and Whittenberg regularly
                              convert Heidelberg cylinders ("printers") to diecutters and trash the inking
                              assemblies. I remember seeing an ink fountain off a KSBA sticking out of the
                              dumpster in back of Hicks Brothers several years ago when I visited their
                              plant in San Francisco. There was also a large stack of Heidelberg ink
                              rollers waiting to be picked up by the trash people. There is no demand
                              commercially for Heidelberg cylinders for printing, but there is a steady
                              market for die cutters, and the larger sizes command premium prices.

                              Fritz Klinke, NA Graphics
                              1314 Greene Street, P.O. Box 467
                              Silverton, Colorado 81433 USA
                              970-387-0212, fax 970-387-0127
                              nagraph@...

                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "Charles Jones" <cjones@...>
                              To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Friday, May 02, 2003 10:03 AM
                              Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Real press has been converted


                              On 5/1/03 4:38 PM, "The Indian Hill Press" <mail@...> wrote:

                              > By all means grab the Heidelberg cylinder. We use ours almost daily,
                              > and with ever more admiration for the fantastic engineering.
                              >
                              > One warning, however. These machines are built like the Pyramids. Our
                              > KSBA weighs in at about 6,600 pounds - and ours is the baby of the
                              > family. It takes a real pro to move a Heidelberg - forget the
                              > crowbars and pipe rollers!
                              >
                              > Dan Waters
                              > Indian Hill Press
                              >
                              This press has been converted for die-cutting and embossing. It was built
                              in 1950 and came from Buckingham Palace according to the auction house's
                              information. Is it costly and or difficult to convert it back to
                              letterpress?
                              I appreciate anything you folks can tell me. Cheers, Charlie



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                            • Charles Jones
                              Thank you Fritz, I was afraid that was the case. I will still go and have a look at the remains of the two shops. Cheers, Charlie
                              Message 14 of 26 , May 2 11:57 AM
                                Thank you Fritz,
                                I was afraid that was the case. I will still go and have a look at the
                                remains of the two shops. Cheers, Charlie
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