New Wood Type

Hey everyone, my name is Christian and I am a type designer and letterpress printer. I recently started to manufacture wood type from the typefaces I design and thought I would post this here to see if anyone was interested in purchasing new wood type from unique typefaces. They are available on dexterdesignco.com. Any feedback or comments are welcome!

Thanks

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Your wood type is plank grain? How do those fine strokes hold up? What type of wood do you use? Is Bushwick a two color typeface?

John, thanks for your comment! Yes, our wood is plank grain and we use hard maple. Since we use laser cutting to etch our wood type, the fine strokes hold up well during production and printing. Bushwick is currently only one color, but going to be chromatic in the future!

Had a look at your website. Maybe I’m just old, but I found the web interface a little buggy and not terribly intuitive to navigate. Not trying to insult anybody… but telling “Cousin Sue” that she looks great in her new bikini when she doesn’t would not do her any good.

Some suggestions:

1. Make the arrows on the bottom of the scheme page bigger, I did not see ‘em at first and was playing with display size to try to see what was available.
2. Stack the schemes vertically. Most people are used to web pages that scroll vertically, not horizontally.
3. The link to digital fonts at the top of the page are as confusing as anyone’s favorite metaphor. I thought that maybe those were offered in wood as well.

A question:

Most of the available line sizes you offer are simply too big for my press. A six-line font is just about as big as I can use. Others might not have that issue, but I do.

That said, you mentioned laser etching. Does this perhaps mean that I could maybe send you a digital image (line drawing), and get it turned into a laser etched “woodcut”?

This is something that I have considered setting up to do myself, but the technology seems not quite mature enough to manage at the level of production I could use. I.e.: I don’t care if it takes a couple of hours to do an image that is 12 lines by 24 lines, so I don’t want to pay $157,000.00 for a machine that can do it faster than that and I really would like something that can be done with a Linux application with no tweaking.

Paying somebody like you a flat fee to do it for me seems a viable alternative. Dunno if it is a viable business proposition or not, but it is worth asking about.

Good luck with your venture!

Daleraby,
I definitely appreciate all your input! Firstly, thanks for your critique. I will for sure implement those changes.

As for your question, yes, I definitely can do custom cuts for a fixed rate. That is something I am looking into promoting. Whether it be images, type replacements, or a typeface you designed! I’d love to chat and see if I can help you in making a block.

Hey Cristian,

We’ll reach out in a bit. I wanted to add something in here as well though. Do you have photos of the wood type and ensuing prints? We’re really interested, but we also are really skeptical of buying wood type that’s new and doesn’t have an archive of tests.

Thanks, and talk soon!

Gerald Flynt

Looks good. I’d suggest adding in your location somewhere prominent, maybe on the top menu bar. Because if I was thinking about ordering type, knowing that someone is in the US immediately means it’s unaffordable. (I’m in the UK and prices to ship either way across the Atlantic are near-prohibitive.) Might just a useful way to get people to stay on the site. More applicable to your potential North American customers of course!
Good luck with it.
David

Shipping things ‘cross the pond might be problematic in general regardless of price. A while back I found a copy of an out of print book with a rare book dealer in London on Amazon. Shipping was about what one might expect, but even with the shipping disadvantage this dealer was at, he still beat the local dealers, so I ordered it, paid for it and waited and waited and waited. The new Covid-19 mutation hit England and everything shut down. I waited some more. I believe it was four months in total before my book arrived… exactly as described, well packaged and none the worse for the extended time in transit. I gather that the Suez canal is currently shut down due to a ship being stuck, so I don’t see shipping times improving soon. Logistics will be the death of us all!

Gerald, Thanks for your comment about the wood type. I look forward to hearing from you soon! We have tons of prototypes printed and manufactured. I’d love to share some photos with you! We plan on getting them published on our site soon.

David,
That’s a great comment and criticism. I will definitely put our office address somewhere visible on the site.

Christian, letterpress type has often traditionally been designed with an eye toward something which will last many impressions and many years in commercial print shops. With this in mind, thin strokes and hairlines which are not closely surrounded by other image area to help support them, were usually avoided (but not always I know). Also, many press operators of today are not as good at doing make-readies as the operators of old, which is also harder on the type. I would think this would especially be true of side grain type vs end grain.

Something to keep in mind is that a hairline which is not closely supported by other image area, (in a form which has a fair amount of image area), will bear more impression pressure because there is nothing else nearby to help bear it (and the pressure has to go somewhere).

On a separate subject, one amazing example of printing from wood and illustrating how long wood can last, which was obviously done with the right pressure and good make-ready, was the end grain wood engravings in (as I recall) the 1882 Christmas edition of the London Illustrated News. The run was 425,000 impressions and at the end of the run the engravings were still good!