Sunday, January 23, 2011

Whiz Bang!

Ok, I do apologize for the lack of activity.  It's been too dang cold to work on the press as it's currently in my garage!  I did oil the thing up a few days ago.  There are 20 plus oil pots on this beast and I don't think they've been tended to since 1979.  So now that she's glistening like a grecian goddess she's limber and ready to get moving.

So this press is motorized.  Allegedly.  Meaning, there is a motor attached to it, but I wasn't so sure if it worked or not, or being that it looks like it was put on in 1939 and already has some janky wiring on it I wasn't so sure I should even try to turn it on.  My dad, being the handy man that he is came over to help me figure out what I was working with.

Let me preface this by saying that though I "own" a "business" we are in no way up to safety codes, etc. In fact I think OSHA would spit on us, slap us, or hold a prayer vigil in our honor... I'm not sure which.

Dad replaced the on/off switch on the front of the press (which now looks humorously modern and out of place) and we then proceeded to plug the thing in.  I wish I had video of this.  I simultaneously held a fire extinguisher and a broom incase of fire or electrocution and I needed to knock him loose (safety first).

There was smoke, sparks, a rubber burney smell, and it was running really really fast.  We soon realized we were running 220v through a 110v motor.  Bad decision.  We replaced some wiring and tried again.  And Viola!   SHE LIVES!

Untitled from Lori Walker on Vimeo.

I'll probably still be replacing the motor as the burney smell persists, and I just honestly don't trust it.  But she's moving!  Huzzah!

Moving does not equal working, mind you.  There still is a lot of work, some missing parts, some parts that are supposed to be moving that aren't that I don't even KNOW how to get moving... Still feeling in over my head, but definitely feeling encouraged.   The whiz bang of this thing makes my heart pitter patter.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Some time ago I somehow stumbled into the world of letterpress, eyes wide, mouth agape, not knowing what I was getting myself into.  I just knew I love the visceral response to beautiful paper.  I am willing to admit some might deem my obsession interest "unhealthy" and my hours spent infront of a computer researching this craft "unproductive," but I shall venture to prove them wrong. 

My husband noted my newfound intrest and knew I'd probably found a nice "hobby."  Within a month he was wide eyed as we curled up in the snuggle chair and I showed him ideas in my sketchbook for a line of snarky stationery and a hazy idea of a  business plan.  He agreed to proceed with trepidation, but he knew there was little chance of not proceeding at all. 

I began shopping for a press, which proved to be a bit of a chore.  Nice small portable numbers can run three times the cost simply because of their convenience, and most larger presses were located on other ends of the country in New England or Portland.  Let me tell you shipping costs on cast iron machinery taller than I am is not pretty.  As luck or irony or the Lord would have it I found one on craigslist about 2 miles from our house! 

It took a fork lift to put this bohemoth into our garage.  She was born sometime in 1939, five feet eleven inches, and two thousand pounds.  She's our pride and joy and we couldn't be prouder.

Now if I could just get the thing to work!  This is my new years resolution.  To restore this hunk of would be scrap metal into a productive member of society and begin to make beautiful paper goods for your swooning pleasure. Oh, and to blog about it in the process and thereafter.  I have to admit I'm more than a little overwhelmed.  A turn key operation would probably have been "better", but something inside of me (probably my father's voice) says fixing this thing up myself will make me appreciate it more, or will build character or something like that.  I also don't fancy myself a writer, so keeping up with a blog regularly and interestingly (?!?!) enough to attract "regulars" is a bit intimdating.

And I know it looks a little dull around here, but I'm working on it.

So thanks for stopping by and thank you for your kind words and encouragement!