Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Letterpress Beginner 101

OK, it has been a few weeks since I got the Kesley Excelsior Type O vintage printing press that I proudly bought off of ebay!  I have to be honest though and admit that I do have thoughts of what in the world was I thinking?!!! Still, I'm intrigued by everything I have to learn in order to print anything.....even one small Christmas card for 2011! I think that is exactly what I love.....the challenge.  SO.....I finally ordered the new rollers from a merchant on Etsy.  The came all the way from the UK so they must be brilliant right?  They were on my doorstep today when I got home.  I could not wait to open them.

I'm just a little confused about all of the different ways I could go to create my christmas card.  Do I just do a linocut?  Or maybe a photopolymer design? I don't have any furniture for the type that I just bought.  Can you just make your own furniture with wood?  If I do photopolymer with boxcar press, do I still need furniture?  What the hell is tympan paper?  Oh, so much to learn.  I'm not giving up.....NEVER!!!
I'm thinking of ordering a book or two on this subject.

Meanwhile, I decided that the first step is to clean this press!  I have learned that there may be some adjustments required.  From the looks of some of the screws and the roller springs, no adjustments will be made until cleaning and proper oiling is done.  There is a little rust which will inhibit movement.  I found some great information on Briar Press site.

Is there a Patron Saint of printers?  If there is, please let me know as I will praying to him or her alot!  Honestly though, this is such great fun.  This weekend, I will be cleaning the press according to information I found on Briar press site.  Will keep you posted.  Oh, I have to tell you.....I finally figured out what year this little Kesley was made.  Duh, it was right on the side as shown in the pic below.
1928! That would make Ms. Kelsey...83 years old!  I think it is about time that she gets back into action don't you?  Keep watching for more progress.  If you have a Kelsey and you want to share information, please do!  I feel like this is going to be a great adventure.  I would love to talk to letterpress artists who would be willing to share information to this newbie!

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