Where to buy a set of wood type?

I’m wondering if anybody has advice as to where I can buy a full set of wood type (upper case, lower case, punctuation, and numbers). I’ve searched the internet and it keeps pointing me back to ebay, though only a handful of the ebay postings are for full sets of wood type. Is anyone still making wood type and/or selling full sets for printers?

Thank you.

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You might look into Don Black Linecasting. Here’s the link:


I’m not sure what the general pricing is yet but I am planning to look into it soon.

Good luck!

Bellus Letterpress
Denver, Colorado

I think that there are no commercial sources for new wood type. A number of people are experimenting with making their own with small CNC mills. I went to the Ann Arbor mini Maker Faire this weekend and there were at least 5 home-made CNC devices capable of making fairly good wood (or plastic or metal) type. One college student made a machine (plexiglass frame, wooden base., recycled stepper motors and commercial threaded rods) was that claimed by the owner/builder to be accurate to within 0.015 inches. He used a dremel type tool as the cutter. Another mentioned a bit of software called TrueType Tracer that would convert any TrueType computer typeface into code for the CNC device he was selling (and thus presumably any CNC driven device)

An even easier way to experiment with wood type is to go to your local craft store and buy letters stamped out of 1/8 inch plywood in various designs. Most are kinda ugly, but the price is right, especially compared to eBay prices for wood type. I found a baggie full of these letters in a thrift store for $0.50. Upper case only, but a full font plus large circle, heart and star. Glued to a 3/4 inch bit of wood and shimmed up with binder’s board to type-high it is printing quite well. I just finished a 600 piece run for a project and the wood shows no wear. The wood grain on the letter did show up in the printed result, so for the second run I’ll be sealing the wood up with polyurethane and maybe sanding lightly. Since then I’ve been to a Joanne Fabric store and seen quite a selection of type and other interesting shapes.

If you simply must have the real thing, and you’re anywhere near Indianapolis, Churchman’s Boutique de Junque always has a selection of nice wood type. Not cheap, though. Dave knows what it’s worth. Finally, there’s likely to be some for sale at the Great Northern and Midwest Printer’s Fair a couple of weeks from now in Iowa (held this year in conjunction with the APA Convention).

There are a few dealers who sell wood type on Etsy. Search “letterpress” under supplies and look at high price first.

Hi there,
I have heard of one person here in the UK who can make full custom wood type for about £350, about $500, maybe less.
It would cost more for extra letters, but is worth a try.
The email is [email protected].

Thank you for these great suggestions. -Katrina

I concur with Arie Koelewyn, Dave’s place in Indy is simply fantastic. Thou, wear something that can get filthy, as you cannot get within’ 300 feet of his warehouse without looking like PigPen from Peanuts.
The first time I went there I was astonished. It was 25* out and Dave was huddled in the drafty warehouse around a small space heater and 1 light, organizing type. The place is def. in need of cleaning (as he said, his French Maid quit the week prior), but he knows where everything is. He’s a super-nice guy.

I have several drawer of antique wood type sets if you are interested

There are maybe a handful of people now cutting wood type fonts. Scott Moore at MooreType is one, and Stan Harris is another I can think of offhand. Google them with the words ‘wood type’.

I would say that at least 90% or more fonts of wood type do not, and never did, have a lowercase. It is really rare to come across a font with a lowercase.


Is Stan still making type? I thought he’d stopped.

Also, check Bill Jones and virginwoodtype.com. He’s made some excellent stuff. He’s been ill, so I don’t know how many orders he’s taking, but worth a check.

You can try the CNC stuff – I had pretty good success having someone cut a face for me – but you need to supply the letter drawings.