By Stephen Tiano
I logged my first experience setting type during the pre-computer age in a mandatory, ten-week high school shop class forty years ago. We took individual pieces of metal type, lead I believe—lowercase characters from a compartmentalized drawer and uppercase in a drawer above that—and set type one line at a time in a frame. We sometimes needed extra, blank pieces of metal to space out lines. Just as likely, though I do not remember doing this, would be the need to fit type by shaving tiny slices of the soft metal from either side of an individual character.
Despite—or perhaps because of—what I remember of that old class, the first thing I check after setting a page of type is word spacing.