Where Letterpress Meets Vinyl


My name is Fredrick R. Arnold and I’m the founder of a small vinly-only record label called Future Oak. The reason I thought you might find this to be of interest is because, aside from publishing music, we have formed a partnership with the famous Hammerpress in KCMO to produce completely unique letterpress packaging and artwork for all of our releases.

While we’re still in the very early stages of putting this all together, I thought you might like the opportunity to snag an exclusive art-print from Hammerpress, or our very first split 7” by helping us reach our fundraising goals. I would love to talk further with you about my project, so if you have any questions, please ask! In the meantime I urge you to check out some of our links for a deeper look at what we’re working on here.


As ever,

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Sounds like this belongs in the For Sale column.

Not so much; I wanted to open a conversation.

This is not exactly new to the market, I have eons ago and still do - made Vinyl and Cd covers and fold out packaging in leather with tooling, covers printed Intaglio or Letterpress etc.

The British Label is my client, I’m their fabricator.
It’s creative business.


having an extremely bad reputation: an infamous city.

deserving of or causing an evil reputation; shamefully malign; detestable: an infamous deed.

my guess is that the Hammerpress folks would prefer another adjective used….

Seriously? This is what you guys all have to say? This is a fun and interesting project that draws from printed material, music, and text to create an analog multimedia experience and you want to split hairs about an adjective? If you’re not into it, that’s fine. I guess I just expected a more mature discussion from letterpress enthusiasts.

I never claimed I was the first person doing this, by the way. But just because a few people have taken on unique packages in the past hardly makes it the norm.

Wow, tough crowd.

Yeah, I understand this is the ‘internet’ where anything goes. But we’re also adults, so..?

I repeat, if you are trying to sell something through Kickstarter or any other method you should list it in For Sale. I find it disingenuous to basically post an advertisement inviting people to give you money for a product, then just say, “Hey guys let’s put it up for discussion.”

I watched that kickstarter video….it is a lot of rambling and not a lot of clear information about what exactly they want, need and offer…

I wonder if it would be possible to get a Kickstarter category so these projects have an appropriate place to be.

Good luck!

Nice Ben Franklin impression- but I’m curious.

How do you know you’ll love cutting records?

Here’s an interesting thing to note, given that you’re not a letterpress enthusiast but are choosing to shill your kickstarter on a site full of (hostile) letterpress lovers; most of the folks who post here about actual letterpress stuff are new to this, but there are a lot of old heads on the site too.

Essentially, this community is made up of tradesmen (and women) who have been in quite a few of the specific and general aspects of the business of putting ink on paper, and some them have been doing it for 30 years+, some as few as 30 days or less…..

The real differences between these two sets are that the ones who have been doing this for 30 days or less really don’t know if they love it or not. They’re excited to get that new press, some ink, some type, some plates, cut some linoleum or wood…. And start off putting ink on paper.

…… But they do not know if they will be good at it, love it, hate it, be terrible at it…. All the innumerable combinations of aptitude and desire that go along with a craft…. They are sometimes incongruous.

So, back to my question; how do you know whether you will love or hate the act of mastering records? Because you’re about to do what we get someone who posts on here every other day is doing- that is to embark on a new adventure into a craft. A lot of stupid questions get asked, a lot of intelligent questions get asked, and most of them are answered by the same group of salty dogs who you insinuated to be insulting.

They’re not insulting you, you’re just taking it personally- especially because a good point was made about grammar, on a website devoted to setting things worthy of being read…. In type…. And then printed.


But also, seriously, funding a project through kickstarter is neat and all, but if there were a way to flag this as BLATANT advertising- I would have clicked that button along with the rest. And I think it’s neat that you want to control all aspects of what you’re about to be doing, but designers usually start out by having other people print things for them as well as they can be printed- so don’t musicians also start out by having other people engineer things?
I know there are parallels between the two, such as the hand of the printer and the eye of the printer are akin to the hand of the engineer and the ear of the engineer- subjectivity and all- but wouldn’t you want to start a new label and go over the daunting task of recording good music as well as can be and running all the promotional aspects, BEFORE becoming your own production engineer?

I could have sworn I posted just before Havens last post…

Personally i always though we printed labels on flat sheets and die cut them after gumming line was through with them and some other trade applied the label to the disc !
Record sleeves , they really do fit on the presses mainly featured here .
I wonder if he is making extra mini sized records ! Or even if they think letterpress machines are some way of getting the grooves onto the vinyl quicker !!
If someone thought there was money in vinyl it would have a site like this ,if it was in the slightest bit of use in mankinds history it would have a site like this .
This site has a place in history, a place in education and art (?) and for many i sense a bit of fun, here we try to share ,that we have learned ,through stress and labour in order that others get the best of what we have learned without having to suffer the expense of going down routes that failed expensively in our experiences .
I think parallel is correct this belongs elsewhere ,if they want printing then put it in the ads .

Now Peter, you’re being a bit rude though you didn’t seem to endeavor to understand what these folks are asking for.

They don’t want you to PRINT for them- they want YOUR MONEY so they can press THEIR OWN RECORDS.

In exchange for this they agree to provide you with some records, posters, or other ‘rewards’ for taking part in their endeavor- and you may even receive ‘production credits’, rather a bit like a film in a way where because you helped with funding, you are acknowledged as a benefactor of the production.

However, I’d love to get an answer to my question- how are you so sure you’re going to love cutting records? I don’t ask this in jest- I want to know!

The problem with the analogy as I see it is that an amateur letterpress printer still creates a sometimes crappy but still cool DIY printed artifact, messy inking, distressed wood type etc may upset the purists and craftsman but it’s not without it’s appeal. Meanwhile self-cut vinyl on a minor lathe will likely not sound good and may not even play well. Having released a few records, the quality of the lathe and experience of the engineer is crucial. There is a place for DIY lathe-cut records, like avant guard new Zealand improv bands from the 90s though! I didn’t watch the kick starter so maybe I don’t totally get the goal. Or maybe you’re buying a lathe for someone with expriance cutting records.

And to answer peter’s question about size, the larger vandercooks can print the standard 12” LP sleeve die cut and scored. I’ve done so on my 219os and Bruce Licher o IPR has printed scores of great sleeves on a 219 power I think. If already folded and glued maybe one of the huge C+Ps can handle it. Alternately smaller art can be printed and glued onto an LP jacket of course

It’s actually really easy to do a print/print/foldover/glue job with hand operated cylinder presses that can do a 14X22 sheet (you just let the paper run slightly long, this is okay in some cases). I myself have printed non-glued covers, just foldovers that went into an acetate envelope, on a Vandercook 320G with no problems.

Studio on fire seems to have a relatively large Cylinder in their posession, as well, which could have the potential to produce this sort of work (I think its 18X24 or something like that?)…. I saw a post on their blog a long while ago talking about how that was amongst the goals with this press acquisition.

It’s not really a question of “can it be done letterpress”, but I question the ability to cut a quality record. I wouldn’t put my dollars in that bank without some proof.

“It’s not really a question of “can it be done letterpress”, but I question the ability to cut a quality record. I wouldn’t put my dollars in that bank without some proof.

This sentiment Haven is what I struggle with. They state they need the equipment and training to use it on the Kickstarter page. As a rule, I do not back projects on KS where the people have no experience in what they are attempting.