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We are Printers!

I am proud to say that Lisa M. Payne Studio officially printed for the first time yesterday!

  1. Inserting the chase into the press
  2. Packing the press (where you will put each paper to be printed)
  3. Inking the press.  Where you put ink on the disc and
  4. move the rollers up and down over the disc to spread out the ink which will insure the rollers are evenly covered when they roll over your type to ink it up.
  5. The very first printing!
  6. Hot off the press!
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Lock and Load!


After the type has been set, the next step is to lock it in the chase, an open rectangle of steel. You lock it in by strategically surrounding it with furniture (the larger pieces of wood), reglets (the skinnier pieces of wood), and then tightening it up with the quoins. The quoins are those metal pieces above with the hole in the middle.  With a key you insert in the hole, you can expand the quoin to apply the pressure that locks everything in place.




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Setting the type

setting the type

My first letterpress project is a business card.  I set the type in the composing stick using 12pt. and 18 pt. Baskerville font.  This took me a lot longer than expected because as I was setting the email address, I realized that my set of typeface did not have the @ symbol.  I did some research and learned that when letterpress was at its peak, this symbol was used but not so widely that it was included with each typeset.  One had to purchase these symbols separately which is what I had to do before I could finish setting the type. 🙂


Baskerville font from M&H foundry

@ symbols from the typefoundry of Patrick Reagh

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How wet can you get?


Today while I was working on a practice painting for the Fresh Florals class, I decided to test a new paper, Crane’s Lettra, 110C in Pearl White. I was not sure how much water it could take so I was careful not to saturate the surface. This paper is 100% cotton and it took the water I did use beautifully so in my next test I will not hold back on the water.

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Antique Furniture


After you put the words, phrases or images together that you want to print, you need to secure it before putting it in your press. The way you do that is to build around it with these wood blocks called “furniture”.  This cabinet is shaped at an angle with the shortest pieces at the top and the longest pieces at the bottom. This cabinet was made by the Hamilton company in 1937.


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Taking on Typeface


While I am waiting for my 100 year old type case cabinet to arrive (yay!), I am arranging one of my typefaces so that I can do some print runs.  The California Job Case is a way of organizing type that was made popular by the foundries on the West Coast.  The reason it became popular was that previously upper and lower case letters were stored in separate upper and lower drawers or cases, respectively.  Putting the upper and lower cases together in the same tray, increased efficiency and saved time. Also, the more frequently used letters were put in easier reach of the typesetter.

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Our first typeface has arrived!

M & H Type

Mackenzie & Harris, located in San Francisco, is the oldest and largest letterpress type foundry in the U.S., dating from the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. In addition to buying new type from one of the few letterpress type foundries, Ebay and various listserves sell all kinds of vintage types. We are beginning our letterpress journey with 12 point and 18 point Baskerville.