Letterpress & Pregnancy

Hello, I am 17 weeks pregnant. This evening I printed for several hours on my C&P Pilot. Unfortunately, my baby bump (growing tummy) is now rubbing against the feedboard. Have any other gals encountered this unfortunate obstacle? If so, what did you do about it.


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I ran my Pilot after restoration sans feed table (both arms were busted off) and it worked fine. I did notice after getting new arms and making a feed table that I was a lot farther back from the press. If it were me, I’d remove both arms and the table and feed from an alternate location. It would probably be simple enough to fashion a little bracket off the feed table arm mounting point if you still wanted to operate your grippers. Good luck.

I printed on my C&P 8x12 until I was about 7 months pregnant. Of course my husband cleaned the press for me every time so no chemicals…

As for fitting, I just stood up on a small box/stool so my belly was a little bit above the feedboard. But I am also 5’3” so I’m relatively short considering.

You could also temporarily remove the feedboard.

Being a senior citizen and a male does not qualify me particularly well to offer suggestions to solve your problem, but here goes anyway: in order to better understand your difficulty, simulate your situation and arrive at a possible solution, I stuffed a fully-inflated basketball under my shirt (in front, of course) and positioned myself in a working position against my C&P new-style, treadle-operated press. I immediately understood your problem in that I couldn’t even reach the platen or the throw-out lever, much less be able to wash up the press. Attempting to feed the press and pump the treadle at the same time gave me the appearance, according to my better half, of a whale/T-Rex hybrid riding a bronc in a rodeo. What immediately suggested itself to me was to (1) cut the feedboard in half and hinge it on the underneath side so that it folds over inward on itself, thus reducing its width by half. (2) Utilize your significant other to do all the press work (3) Wait the appropriate amount of time left in your pregnancy, give birth to what I know will be a beautiful child, at which time your reduced girth will allow for normal press operations, and, as a last resort (4) go to Kinkos for all your printing needs. (5) You might also consider waiting eight or nine years until your forthcoming child is tall enough to operate your press. As for the future I guess it’s too obvious to suggest not getting pregnant again and re-creating the problem.
OK—I’m having a bit of fun with this, so please accept my apology if you find any of this offensive. I admire your pluck in attempting to pursue your interest in the art and craft of letterpress during what I know is the discomfort of pregnancy. I extend to you every good wish for the successful conclusion of your pregnancy and the birth of a healthy child. Dropping the attempt at humor (I haven’t quit my day-job), my “suggestion #1” really might be a solution. To cite a similar problem, the feedboard on my circa 1917 C&P was cracked when I received it. Although I am an experienced woodworker with a well-equipped shop I did not want to make a replacement. Instead, I repaired the original to really better-than-new condition without destroying the patina built up over 3/4 of a century. While the work I did on my C&P feedboard is not what I’m suggesting for your press, it does suggest that someone with decent woodworking or mechanical skills could make such a modification. Different problem—different solution. Further evidence of this is that I have also built a prototype treadle for my C&P and am now designing and building a more refined version. While it remains to be seen whether my woodworking skills will be applicable to the Model 5 Linotype I just installed in my shop, those skills, so far, have proven quite useful in my letterpress shop. I wish you good health, long life, happiness and prosperity. Bill