Tour de Lead Graffiti / Stages 5 - 9

We are going to break the posters into groups of 4. We are having great fun with these and yesterday’s was really fun.

When we started we were planning on two-color posters which was a rule that was quickly ignored. At this point we’ve done 26 runs over the five posters.

Tour de Lead Graffit / Stage 5: Lots of crashes and “The Manx Missile”.

image: poster-tdlg-stage-05-370.jpg


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Great work folks


First, thanks for the positive comments.

That one was a long day, but a lot of fun.

Heading to the studio right now to see if we can pull off a wet day ‘rooster tail’ coming off the wheels. This was the longest stage of the Tour this year.

I started to wonder if I should avoid cluttering up Briar Press with all of these images, so unless I hear a different argument just take a quick jump over to our Stage 6 poster.

6 runs with a roostertail printed via letterpress which may be a first.

Total runs to date - 31.

Guest printer, Garrett Varady, recent graduate from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a former Lead Graffiti intern.

Clutter it up, i think it’s cool to see this stuff, never tire of it. Dick G.

OK, here’s stage 6. But you should all link over to our website to see them and to get the whole story.

Each day the index page is changed to reflect the poster from the day before. It seems like we are getting those up by at least 7:30 here in the east so we can start catching the live TV feed at 8:00.

image: poster-tdlg-stage-06-370.jpg


And Stage 7 which was really a pretty boring stage except for about 2 seconds which had two dozen cyclists scattered all over the road.

So, ending his first week in the Yellow Jersey Thor Hushovd has a collective time of 28h 29’27”.

Our effort to this point is 107h 10’28” with the total number of runs standing at 36. Hmmm. 107 hours in ONE week. Yep, as we promised, this is “endurance letterpress.” But then at least 28 of those hours were sitting in front of the TV watching the race, which doesn’t exactly make you sweaty, and a few feeding zones covered. If we get done and eat dinner after the last run we don’t count dinner in that time. If we are going later and eat dinner in the middle of the runs we do count it.

And, honestly, there isn’t much waste in that total time. We pretty much devote our day to doing the posters.

image: poster-tdlg-stage-07-370.jpg


We got our Intertype fired up a bit on that one and we love that broken S we have in our orphan wood type.

Stage 8 was a bit disappointing. The major contenders were content to hang with each other and not allow any challenges. The highlight was that the day’s breakaway stood the test.

image: 08.jpg


Stage 9 had two major accidents and a change in the Yellow Jersey for the first time in 8 days. The second accident came from a car veering into the road, knocking one cyclist to the ground, and him hitting another cyclist which catapulted him into a barbed wire fence.

It was one of those “I don’t think you could make up this kind of stuff” story.

image: 09.jpg


You can continue to read the whole story of each of the stages and how we came up with the look / design of the posters at

The stuff is terrific.
How did you get that really brat effect in the letters “CRASH “?
Steve V

Lead graffiti,
Oops, that was supposed to be great.

I thought there was maybe a new word for ‘hot.’

We handrolled on the wood type with 3” brayers and 3 colors and then printed it. Just for the record the ‘S’ was broken when we bought it. That break has come in handy a couple of times.

Just for the record #2. If you do it fairly quickly you can edit a comment in here.

We’ll throw in the “rest day” on this thread.

Hard to do the poster and not think about the horrific crashes from the day before. We’ve been wanting to print some bike parts, but they haven’t played into any of the important moments so doing this poster gave us the chance to just play some. We also wanted to try printing some gauze for Hoogerland yesterday.

Remember that you can keep up with the whole stories online at

And yes, we were trying to draw the outline of France.

image: poster-tdlg-stage-09a-370.jpg


I’d like to see a picture of that chain on the press!

Didn’t take a photo I don’t believe.

What we did was take a piece of 1/2” MDF board and essentially cut it to fit the bed of our press (18” x 24”). On tracing paper (so we could turn it over) we did a quick sketch of the general shape of France to give us a starting point.

We pushed the chain around until we were in the ballpark. We didn’t have any nails short enough to only go through 1/2” board so we cut short brass nails even shorter. Held them in place with needle-nosed pliars and nailed them in to lock the chain at important intersections. The chain moved from one print to the other at least some. We would also put nails on both sides of the chain locked at least at those points.

Then we tried printing it. Nothing. We have a case of old Curtis paper that is very hard and about the same thickness as tympan. It ended up taking about 12 sheets, but slowly it got to the right height.

The actual inking was done with a hand brayer, trying to use the least ink, but rolling every area 3 or 4 times to get it smooth. That way we could hold on to the texture of the chain more.

I’ve included a closeup of the chain.

image: chain.jpg