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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
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      >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
      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    • 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 2 of 26 , May 1 10:23 AM
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        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 3 of 26 , May 1 11:01 AM
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          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 4 of 26 , May 1 11:08 AM
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            "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 5 of 26 , May 1 11:40 AM
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              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 6 of 26 , May 1 2:38 PM
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                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
                >
                >
                >
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              • thronobulx@aol.com
                Tell it like it is, Fritz! James Shanley B Designs [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                Message 7 of 26 , May 1 7:11 PM
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                  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 8 of 26 , May 1 7:31 PM
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                    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 9 of 26 , May 2 6:48 AM
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                      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 10 of 26 , May 2 9:03 AM
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                        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 11 of 26 , May 2 10:30 AM
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                          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 12 of 26 , May 2 11:57 AM
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                            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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