DIY wood type case?


I’m hoping to get some ideas for housing some wood type I have. I live in quite a remote area (Montana) so it’s had to get my hands on a genuine type case. What have you all used in this predicament? I don’t want to store the type long term, but want to be able to access it daily.

Have made your own drawer/case? Have you found something that was pre-fabricated that you commandeered for storing your type? etc…

If you have photos please post them!
Thank you for your input.

Butte, MT

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some of my wood type is just stored on galleys.

One idea that occurs to me is to find a supply of large bakers flat trays all the same size, which should have rims with rolled edges, and build a wood cabinet with sides of 3/4 inch plywood in which slots are sawed at the correct separation to accommodate the height of the trays with the type in them (about 1 inch). This sort of cabinet would not be dustproof but you could put doors on it to keep out the dust. But it depends a lot on how many fonts you have and how big they are as to whether it would be worth the effort.


After spending months looking for a suitable (that is compact and inexpensive) container for a font picked up at the Printer’s Fair, decided to join the DIY crowd and construct one myself. Surprisingly easy to do.

An empty cigar box, some popsicle sticks and an hour worth of work make for a rather handy typecase for small fonts.

And the lay of the case:

Here’s all I did:

1. Held a bunch of sticks together with masking tape.
2. Cut the gaps half-way though with a Dremel.
3. Cut off the ends to the desired length.
4. Unwound the tape and put together the grid.
5. Dropped the cells into the box and shimmed up with the offcuts.
6. Had another scotch.

Construction diagram:

It is appreciated that You are *slightly of the Beaten Track* however! is it possible that You have an Auto Repair shop not too far away, if so look in, ask the *Good Ole Boys* to show you a Mechanics >Roll Cabinet< they turn in very well for Type Storage inc. Poster-type/Wood type,! and HEAVY full size jobbing cases.

The same mechanics always Trade Up for bigger and better usually to Hi-Tech (patriotic) American “Snap On” … . low tech, redundant cabinets surface occassionally, usually for scrap metal price.???

With a tiny nudge from the “Author” 2 are in use within the County! one with Wood Type, the other with Six Full size Type-cases 2/3 rds full and that is a lot of weight, but rolls well to wherever suits the need.

With the 6 case arrangement, with a little ingenuity, a single slope ” Random Top” was incorporated. = Mobile composing frame.

Just echoing the above suggestions in saying that any storage system that works for you is the way to go! I built stackable cabinets, each unit containing 8 cases. Plywood and oak construction. Their dimensions and proportions were based on an attempt to fit the most type in to a set space. (had to fit into an immobile area).Each case has a center support/divider to prevent sagging. They may look plain, but they do what any wood type storage system could offer: Flat, dry, array visible at a glance (for sort counts, etc). Labels help for quick find — again, any manner that lets you safely store and allow easy access will be fine. Plus, give something a try. After a couple of months, or years, change or modify to fit your needs.


image: wdtypdr.jpg


I too can agree with the individuals above. My first type cabinet was an old tool cabinet filled with wood dividers between each line of type, then a magnet at the bottom to prevent lines from sliding while opening/closing the drawers. If you have access to a woodshop, or even just a table saw, it would be relatively easy to whip up a custom cabinet and drawers. Even if your first iteration is a little rough, it will probably do the job.

image: cabinet1.jpg


image: cabinet2.jpg


With your Remote location in mind, but in addition to the entries above, is it remotely possible that You could source an *Architects* Plans,storage/filing system.? They would turn in very well.

Almost a ready made “ringer” for J.J.s excellent offering above, and also ready made, (maybe with small modifications) as in the ready made RED Roll cabinet above. A.I.I.?

Apologies if the above is easier *Said than Done*

If you build your own or use something like a cooking pan, make sure the edges are higher than the type, i.e. the depth should be at least an inch - this will allow you to stack the drawers without having anything on top of the type.

Last year, I talked with Fritz Klinke at NA Graphics - he had unassembled type drawers in storage - his did not have dividers like a CA case - but would be perfect for wood type. You might call him to see if he will retrieve some for you - This will give you std size drawers without the fuss/muss of making your own.


Yes, I do have the parts to make the frames for full size California Job cases, but not the bottoms or dividers. Just the four outside pieces(I think I have the 2 large dividers that divide the case into thirds) and a sheet of tempered masonite for a case bottom would be perfect for wood type as there is very little weight involved. I have parts for several thousand cases on hand—maybe I should get in gear and put up a kit for these. We also have several hundred Hamilton style case pulls that I can offer as well. This is all new material, the wood components were made by Stephenson-Blake and the case pulls I think came from Hamilton. I will try to put something together in the next week or so and out on our web page.

Let us know fritz that sounds very interesting