Type-High Machine

At the Minnesota Newspaper Museum, we print a four-page special edition of The Maynard News each year during the state fair. In addition to Linotype and hand-set type, we have half-tone photographs and other magnesium cuts. Last year’s cuts came from the engravers about 20 thousandths of an inch high, which created problems with inking the type that we struggled with throughout the fair. With enough lead time, we could send the cuts back to the engraver and get them fixed, but everyone here knows that’s not how things usually work out.

Searching for a solution to the problem, I came across listings for type-high machines in the 1923 ATF specimen book. It looks like either of these would be a solution that wouldn’t waste too much space when not in use. Has anyone ever used one of these? Other ideas are also welcome.

image: 1923ATFp937rHoerner.jpg


image: 1923ATFp937rChallenge.jpg


Log in to reply   7 replies so far

I have a router version made by Challenge - a “Challenge Type High Unit”. It’s basically a router sled with a clamp system and I made an insert to accommodate my Bosch router since I don’t have the Challenge one it’s designed for. I’ve only used it to take a bit of material off of some slightly higher than usual type, and tested it out on some end-grain maple (for little engraving blocks). I’ve attached some photos, and could send you an old video of it moving around if you want.

I’d imagine making a sled for your plane, or a type high router plate (think roller bearers for a router) might be a simple solution (if you have a block plane or router).

- Adam

image: CH3.JPG


image: CH1.JPG


Here are two more photos of the restored unit (correctly oriented, whoops!)

image: CH4.JPG


image: CH2.jpg


You could use a drum sander or a jointer to take off a bit off the block. Downside is that these machines aren’t the easiest thing to calibrate, you’d have to make test cuts on junk stock.

Better is if you have access to a milling machine, that would give a more exact cut.

Adam, it is interesting seeing the photos of that Challenge type-high unit with the router. I have read the patent for that device, but have never seen one.

zbang, the jointer or sander idea had occurred to me, but I don’t have one and the space required might be too much for our already crowded exhibit. I also thought I might just support a jack plane on the backs of two old cuts locked up in a chase with the cut to be trimmed. A little furniture around the new cut would give some space to prevent the plane nicking the old ones. Your mention of a milling machine suggests making a more permanent set-up using blocks of steel milled to height rather than the old cuts.

I’m still entertaining suggestions if anyone else has anything to offer.

I find this interesting because I use letterpress type to emboss leather for book covers. In fact, I’ve had Delrin blocks made for text/images of frequently used items. I have them made by Grey Ghost Graphics ( http://www.greyghostgraphics.com/stamps.html ), but the stock he uses it around a inch and quarter thick. Up til this time I’ve taken the finished block to a machine shop and had the back milled to type height paying a premium price. See page 10, fig 34 for and example ( http://leatherbigbookcovers.com/training/Tutorial—Typography%20in%20Le... ). I can see me building something like the Challenge type-high unit and appreciate the clear pictures and descriptions given. I’ll also be searching for a Challenge type-high unit for sale.

image: 2015_DSC_0392.jpg


MaynardNews, I was thinking that you would take the block to the machine, not the other way around :). Also, milling machines can cut wood as well as metal, so that can shave down the back of a block.

Understood, zbang. And then the thought of using a milling machine got me thinking about what else I could do with one.

Traffic on and around the fairgrounds is heavy the day before the fair. We might have to wait half an hour in line just to get back on the grounds. Thus, taking the cuts somewhere to be shaved is Plan B. I’m trying to come up with Plan A.