Print Shop in a local Abby

Yup in an Abby. Ya know place where the nuns hang out. Our shop does some printing for them. Envelopes, letterheads, Christmas cards. I knew they had a shop as one of the owners had told me he’d been up there to fix their presses years ago. I just assumed he meant duplicators. Well in talking to one of the two nuns that runs the print shop one day, she’s more a designer than a press operator, she tells me they’ve got some letterpress “stuff” and wish they knew how to use it. My immediate reply of course “I can show you”. Now I’m thinking a mid sized hand press something simple ya know. I finally set a date to go up there and check things out so we can figure out where to start. They escort me through the place to the door and my jaw about hits the ground!!!

Turns out they have a Golding, not sure what number I’ve got to find the chase and measure it, A Chandler and Price, not sure if it’s a new or old style yet and what I thought was a C&P but it doesn’t have the large gear on the right side like the photos in the museum. All of them are motorized, the all move flawlessly and the rollers are decent. They’ve got a good 40+ cases of handset type. A large cabinet of cuts, both metal and linoleum. They’ve got a smaller guillotine cutter in great shape, just needs the back gauge squared up and new sticks. They even have a hot foil machine!

They have a lot of “stuff” to dig through and figure out what’s what. 20+ years without anyone using any of this no one is around that remembers why or what things are that were put in drawers or left tied in galleys. They’re even going to try and put back all the loose type that got pied.

I’ve got to come up with definite steps for them to learn and make plans to get back up there and start teaching them. Hoping to bring my camera next time so I can share. Between the print shop and the whole place it really does feel like a step back in time.

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I’m jealous! Sounds like a lot of fun.
Watch out for those nuns, I heard they can be mean!!

Lammy… that is an opportunity of a lifetime. I’d love to spend a few weeks working on the old machinery, teaching those folks how to bring it back into production. Brought back to life, such a shop would really be something to be proud of!

If it were me, I’d find a copy of Polk’s “Practice of Printing” and use it as a basic textbook for teaching them. It covers all of the basics like hand composition, lock-up, printing and so forth. It’s a classic.

Please keep us informed as to their progress.

ahhh good suggestion. I’ll have to ask them if they have something in their collection of books there. They had quite a full bookcase but I didn’t look at any of the titles.