Availability of Letterpress Gauge Pins

Recently a small proof press and a handful of printing accoutrements were offered for sale on Facebook for $50. The listing included two boxes of Kort Gauge pins. One ensuing comment said, “the gauge pins alone are worth $50.” Another said, “Yes they are made from ‘unobtainium’.”

The scarcity of good affordable gauge pins has been a problem for us letterpress printers for quite a while. When you can find some for sale, they are particularly expensive.

Over two years ago I started a quest to address this problem. As you can see from the pictures in this post, I went through about 15 iterations trying to design and produce an “easy-to-use,” durable, and inexpensive gauge pin. I wanted to develop something that would avoid the significant upfront costs of having machine dies made.

Working with sources in Iowa, North Carolina, Indiana, New York and Poland, I tried creating something using 3D printing so that testing could be done without a high initial cost. I found making these from plastic with 3D printing was far tougher than I imagined.

Nearly a year ago I was able to market the first 3D version called Paw-Claws. That whole initial run sold out the in less than 2 weeks. Unfortunately, the source was unreliable and the product was too fragile.

After many more iterations, and unavoidable significant upfront costs, the new metal Paw-Claws are ready for sale. They are easy to use, functional, durable and affordable.
Initial feedback is I “stuck the landing.”

The video on my website shows how to use them and how quickly you can register your work.
There is a classified listing here on Briarpress and you can see them on my website

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Log in to reply   4 replies so far

I love what you have accomplished here, I saw your post on facebook, and they are definitely something I will be buying, this solves a huge void in the letterpress tools and accessories that has been there for quite sometime. Thank you for such a commendable job. Congratulations hope that people appreciate this because to be in 2024 and to have a new design of gauge pins it’s just absolutely amazing.

Thank you for taking the time to experiment! I’ve been keeping an eye on your progress

A few weeks ago I posted this piece about my quest to come up with a replacement for the difficult to find letterpress gauge pins.
Since then a number of folks have said the pictures I’d posted give the wrong impression,(no pun intended) of what the actual Paw-Claws look like. So I am posting these pictures. Thanks, if you’d like to see the video of how they are used go to my website SouthpawPrinters.com

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Steve worked on the Paws Claws for years and I had the pleasure of providing feedback on some of the earlier iterations. It was so cool to watch these take shape. The final result is a great solution to a vexing problem. Thanks, Steve!