My Adventures in Letterpress Printing, Part 3

By LaurenMarie

Last Saturday was my final letterpress class. I really enjoyed it! If you’ve missed my previous letterpress articles, you can visit week 1 and week 2. I’m a little sad it’s over, but that’ll give me more time to get the Vandercook SP15 press up and running!

Printing on a Vandercook 4

This week was just printing and wrapping up the class. I still have a lot of newbie questions, but I am keeping track of them. When I gain some more experience and learn the answers to these questions, I’ll write up some beginner letterpress articles and share them here, or I’ve also considered starting a new letterpress blog. I’m not sure if I’ll have enough to write about, so we’ll see on that one. Meanwhile, here I am printing!

Printing on a Vandercook 4

Anyway! So I printed my second set of cards on the Vandercook again (never got a chance to use the C&P). Even though this was only my second time on a press, it was definitely easier than the first time. I found I wasn’t as nervous, I moved a little faster and I didn’t lose any cards like last time!

Letterpress Cards - Cheers

This is a multi-purpose card; for my British friends, it can be a Thank You card and for my American friends, it’s a celebration card (birthday, graduation, New Years even!).

SP15 Restoration Continued

The real exciting part for me this week was more cleanup on the SP15! If you’ll remember last time, I shared that I’m restoring a Vandercook printing press so that I can use it. It doesn’t belong to me, but it’s not being used by anyone right now and it needs some love and attention and a gallon or two of Evapo-Rust! Click any of the pictures below to see a larger version on Flickr.

I can’t say enough good things about this product; not only does it work wonders, but best of all it is environmentally friendly and not an eye, nose or throat irritant because it doesn’t contain any Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) like so many industrial cleaning solutions and it’s biodegradable. Now you can really start to see the headway I’m making. Compare these before and after pictures (after picture doesn’t have the cylinder because that’s soaking!).

Bed Before Cleaning

Bed After Evapo-Rust

I have to say that a lot of this cleanup is due to the Evapo-Rust. Just take a look at what the poor cylinder looked like before I started cleaning it.

Cylinder Before

Cylinder After Evapo-Rust

Isn’t that amazing?? You can even see the line where it was sitting in the Evapo-Rust solution. This is quite an amazing product and if you have anything around your home that needs the rust removed, this is definitely the way to go. It’s completely safe and it works miracles!

Week 3 Progress

The picture above is about 10 hours worth of work. Next week I’m hoping to finish cleaning everything up and do some test printing! I decided not to get it as clean as I had originally hoped because the more parts I disassemble, the more I realize I really could take the whole thing apart to clean and that would take a looong time. These machines are made for industrial type work (haha) and a little dust and grease never bothered them. As long as the paper stays clean and the ink doesn’t get grit in it, that’s as clean as it needs to be.

Keep up with my restoration project via the Vandercook SP15 Restoration set I have going! I upload photos there before I write about them here (usually on Saturday or Sunday).

If you’re interested in learning more about letterpress and possibly getting into it yourself, there are a growing number of resources available online. I’ve recently started a Squidoo lens on the subject, if you want to check it out!

The Birthday Giveaway!

Oh yes! And before I forget, many of you expressed interest in winning some of the cards I’ve printed, so in celebration of Creative Curio’s one year birthday, I’ll be giving away six sets of my cards, three sets of five cards for each design (“Happy Day!” and “Cheers”). Matching envelopes (no printing) included. Estimated value $15 USD each set.

All you have to do is leave a comment in this post and I’ll randomly select the winners next week. Comments must be left by Sunday August 10 at 6 PM PDT (compare times for Los Angeles, California to figure out what time that means for you).

So come on out of your feed reader or email client and say hello for a chance to win a pack of letterpressed cards printed by me! If you’d like to add what kinds of posts you want to see more of on Creative Curio, that would be a great help!