Book press for proofing type?

I am newish to letterpress printing in the 21st century. I did a lot in the 60’s but many things have changed and I am exposed to areas that I didn’t deal with as a commercial printer.

One thing that has come up that I am curious about. For basically nothing, I ended up with a book press or, more likely, a copy press. (I had to do Google research to see how they were used, not being a book printer.)

My question is: can a book press (or whatever) be used to pull proofs of wood plates or zinc or brass and wood plates or, in fact, a small chase of handset type?

I tried it to poor effect. But I suspect it is possible with the right preparation. I was using a wood plate and was afraid to break it.

So that leads to question two: if it IS possible to make a reasonable proof, what would be the process in the way of packing? What kind and how much (if any) paper/board under the type and what the same question applies about what to what to put between the type and the paper you are proofing on and the top plate of the press?

Again, having tried this to poor effect, I may have backed off the pressure too soon being afraid of squashing the type or ruining something on the press trying to make it do what it was not designed to do…If it is doable, I assume one must use a timeous amount manual force? Or is packing the key?

The reason I ask is that I only have a Kelsey Victor table top press. Setting it up to do a quick proof of a cut or just a line of type is kind of a hassle. I think, if it worked, using the book press might be easier.

Any thoughts?

Hunter 6

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Hey Hunter6, there’s a video on Youtube entitled “Printing with a Book Press” that may be of interest to you. I didn’t watch the whole thing but it may provide some insights.

Its a copy press. Don’t do it, unless you are okay with the likely destruction of your type.

Its a copy press. Don’t do it, unless you are okay with the likely destruction of your type.