Hello oh wise ones! I am beginning with my Kelsey 6x10 Victor and the “beginners kit” I received with my press had some furniture, but it is so random that it takes me an hour and a half to set up my chase for printing (did I use the right terminology there?). I have a friend with a nice woodshop who is happy to help me make some new furniture but I was wondering what sizes would be best to cut out. I found a site selling “new furniture made the old way” out of kiln dried beechwood which I think I can get my hands on and I will use my existing furniture to plane it to the correct thickness. I plan on making mostly greeting cards and stationary to begin with so a set of furniture that would block out large spaces would be best. What are your thoughts?
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The key characteristic of good wood furniture is that the edges are absolutely square to the top and bottom surfaces. If this is not true the lockups you make with the furniture will be all wonky and even loose enough to drop out of the chase. I suggest investing in a bit of real printers furniture, even old used stuff. I have 7x11 and 6x9 presses and I can lock up formes for both with the little box of furniture that I have. You do not need to fill the chase with furniture, just the spaces between the type forme and the chase edges (including using the quoins on two sides). So locking up a 15x20 pica type block in my 6x9 chase only requires maybe 6 pieces of furniture of the correct dimensions and two quoins. Also, use reglets to make up space differences — a decent selection (maybe 3 of each length and thickness, so 12 pieces) of short and medium length (15 and 30 pica lengths) reglets, 6 and 12 points thick, is all you need.
As You imply that You want to attempt to D.I.Y. Full marks for trying,?? and as You also imply that You have a buddy *on tap* the suggestion would be, (and assuming he has a Planer Thicknesser) source a piece of reasonably well seasoned timber, not specifically >absolute< Hardwood, most any straight grained medium density will do, as in 6 Pt. 12 Pt. 18 Pt. Reglet & 2 Em, 3 Em. 4 Em. etc.
Timber/lumber at best and at most (Initially) 9” - 12” wide, around 3 Feet long at least, to go through a Planer Thicknesser, at least 1” thick,
His FIRST pass to true up the underside, the SECOND pass to bring the thickness down to .835” up to .850”.?? Have Him cross cut *Off* at 9” wide exactly the width to fit the chase of Your Machine = ready made mounting base, for the future.!!!.
THIRD Pass down to, .675” - .750” (17 - 19 m/m) perfect for stripping out ALL the small(er) furniture/reglet, possible,! longitudinally? and then cut to length to suit Your Make Up. - - 6” & 10” (inches) would be a shrewd move.!!
The above as We did many, many, Yrs. Ago .?
Making furniture would be a quick little task for any woodworker. In your situation I would focus on measuring your setups and figuring out exactly what sizes would meet your needs and make things easier for you.
Also, at the end of your post you said
“I plan on making mostly greeting cards and stationary to begin with so a set of furniture that would block out large spaces would be best. What are your thoughts?”
I’m not sure but are you thinking that you need to have furniture too fill up all the space inside the chase? You only need enough furniture in a setup to hold the cut or type in the proper position. There is no need to fill all the empty space inside the chase.
Also, many folks getting into letterpress like to keep things authentic and I understand that but if that is not a major concern then I would suggest that the local hardware stores now sell a plastic material that is used in construction. There is a size that is 5/8” x 1-1/2”. It works very well as furniture, 5/8 matching the heighth of the chase, costs about a dollar a foot, can be cut with the same equipment as wood and is more stable over time then wood. With 6 feet you could make a fairly large and varied collection.
if you want the “real deal” get in touch with me. I have a bunch of it. I am not using it. many of these pieces are too small for me to use. a small handling fee +shipping is all I would ask. it would ship from 53186 zip code. longer pieces can easily be cut shorter. I would love to see these go out to those who want them need them, and will use them.
Thank you all so much!