Not enough wood type

What do you do when you don’t have enough type to complete your print job? Let’s say you need three e’s in a sentence and you only have two e’s of wood type which you can use. What’s the simplest most used method of working with such a problem?

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1. Cut a piece of type high linoleum to the dimension of the missing letter.

2. Cover your press tympan with a piece of mylar.

3. Lock up a piece of type of the same sort you are missing, ink it, and print it directly onto the mylar on your cylinder or platen.

4. Replace the type sort with the identically sized piece of linoleum and with the rollers raised, run the press on print allowing the inked cylinder/platen to transfer the inked character to the face of the lino.

5. Allow it to dry and then carve away everything but the letter.

6. Clean the ink off the surface with your preferred press wash.

7. Print!

You, sir / ma’am rock!

Is it perhaps possible that a printer leaves the needed space for the letter blank and places it in a second run? Or is that just impossible to do regarding registration and such? I know it sounds weird but I can image that duplicating a letter is in some assignments too time consuming.

Yes, you can certainly do that too. But you may want to keep in mind that you can case those linoleum sorts with the rest of the type and you will surely use them again in the future.


buy a Ludlow, I haven’t ever run out of letters

Thank you for the tips. I’ve bought some incomplete wood type, so there has to be some carving to be done ;-)

Here in The Netherlands wood type (second hand or not) is hard to come by. Is there maybe some overseas location where it’s easier to buy wood type? There has to be some guy doing wood type reproduction in the attic

You can get new wood type from these fine folks, but it is cut to .918 inch. Your height standard for type in the Netherlands is likely taller.

Virgin Wood Type-
Moore Wood Type-


Contact Rutger Paets in Hilversum, he will be able to make the missing characters for you to Dutch (and any other) type height in quality pear wood. His e-mail: [email protected]

Thank you Thomas and The Arm.

Thank you Thomas and The Arm.