Printing a Custom Stationery Set: A Primer

Hello. Today I'll go through a brief description of how we print one of our custom stationery sets, from start to finish. Here, I'm printing a copy of one of our newest designs for our shop.

First off, in the composing room we double-check the name and address before we start setting the type in the job stick (there's no delete key in hand composition). Since everything is backwards in a relief process like letterpress, you start building up the form upside down, one letter at a time.

Once the type is set, in this case a simple initial with a single address line below, we are ready to put the form in the chase (the rectangular frame that holds the type) to be locked up for printing. We place the form close to the center of the chase and fill the space around it with wooden blocks (called furniture) that are shorter than type-high, so they will hold the type in place, but not make contact with either the ink rollers or paper. After filling the chase with furniture, we lock everything up with small metal wedges (called quoins) that expand to hold it all in place. After that, we can finally put the chase on the press and get ready to start printing!

When we're about ready to start printing, we ink up the press and sight the gauge pins (guides to hold the paper in place for each impression) for proper alignment. After a few test proofs, we fine-tune the registration and make sure the impression is even and crisp, then we're ready to start the run. From here on, we can just crank away!

Finally, here's a shot of the finished product. Not bad, eh?

Let us know what you think. Thanks for reading!