Hello blog. Hello world. I'm a bit late on this one- oh well! I promised an update on that Vandercook workshop the other week, so here goes- let's just look at lots of pictures! I was joined by my former professor Tauber of Logan Elm, OSU, Erin and Brian, who both have local letterpress shops, Allison with her shop in Columbus, and many other wonderful print folks from Ohio.
the workshop begins!
It took place up at Kent with Mr. Moxon. Day one was mostly watching him tear apart various presses while going through his manual, explaining each working part.
Brian and Erin get up-close and personal with the press
There's me, looking studious (and taking way too many notes, as always), while Brian digs right in.
pins and dead bar
We also each got to 'represent' a press, so I was Tiger Lily's No. 2- a very simple proof press with no inking rollers, registration, nada. So I had very simple questions- like hey, I need pins and dead bars. And...it's a galley press, right?
Trip and print workings- I don't usually get to see this part, as it's against the wall!
Paul also shows us all the working mechanisms of 'trip' and 'print'- how the impression cylinder is raised and lowered, following various switches and tracks.
undercut- in thousandths of an inch
And it's pretty nifty that you can find the undercut number right on the impression cylinder- well, usually if you scrub a bit. Sadly, ours doesn't seem to have this.
Cincy mechanic Tom puts in red board for packing
So, you take that number to find out how much packing you need, plus your paper thickness (all measured with a nifty micrometer), plus how much impression you want. You can get into some intense math battles with a room full of mechanics, but eventually it happens. Or, most folks just do it by feel. But sometimes it all fails if the height of the whole carriage is out of whack (like it was on the No. 3)
Paul shows us how to take apart, clean, and replace various parts in the gripper bar.
worm crescent and vibrator gear
I loved this- how the worm crescent and vibrator gear work, so the cylinder oscillates. Also, how to know when to replace the crescent, and how to clean and grease everything.
Paul and Brian measure rollers
Now on to roller care. First, if you need to replace them, check the diameter.
checking hardness with the durometer
Then, to make sure, use a durometer (it's extra fun to have a vintage one) and check the hardness. I'm wondering how much of this is applicable to regular old composition rollers and brayers? I read somewhere they they should be kept out of fluorescent light and conditioned with Putz Pomade. Should we all be doing this?
I was mostly cleaning bearings and gear racks. I had a bum wrist for the week. Boo! But hey- I can scrub, dammit.
...and picking crud out of gear racks
the monstrous 325
And this was the press my 'triage' group worked on- the 325. We thought it looked like an aircraft carrier! It had issues with the gripper pins not coming up high enough, but when we made adjustments it released the paper too early. In the end, she probably needs a new push rod.
trouble-shooting the pedal and gripper mechanisms
There's me, going 'what the hell are you guys doing under there?'
birds-eye view of the workshop
The lovely recent grad and assistant Aimee, took fun pictures of the whole workshop, and even some from up above. Still can't believe how many presses they have! And all for the graphic design department. Well thank you Paul, and thanks everyone for arranging and hosting and just plain being wonderful- great to meet you all!
I was lucky enough to spend the rest of the weekend with my favorite family- Brooke and co. We checked out some interesting artist spaces in Columbus. I kind of liked them before they got fixed up! Silly me, always impractical.
Columbus art studios in old factory building
And then we got to check out the arts fest- quite interesting! It was really just one of those gorgeous days where the air makes you think you're out west. Oh Ohio, why can't you stay like this?
the Arts Fest
That's mostly all for now. It's just been back to work, printing, meeting with more artists, and helping out at Tiger Lily! I recently got to meet the lovely executive director of the University of Richmond museums. They seem to have a great collection and wonderful biennial print show. I hope to get down there some day!
The next post will most likely be about my trip back to PA (yay!) happening in a week, which will hopefully include some printmaking adventures. In mid-July, I will also be attending Jay's opening at the Smith Museum, as I printed some work of his for the show. Hooray! So, even though this is neither radio nor TV, stay tuned, folks!!