This is a message from a heartbroken family, to inform you that the BriarPress member known to you all as Inky passed away on Saturday, November 6.
I am his daughter, and accessing his account from his home.
He greatly enjoyed his time here, and enjoyed helping others with questions or technical issues when he could.
Thank you.

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so sad - he was a friend to all who access Briarpress - he freely shared his knowledge.

I enjoyed his signature - “get some ink on your shirt”

Inky will be missed


So sad to hear. Enjoyed his posts. Very knowledgeable and had a great attitude.

So sorry to hear it. My deepest condolences. His knowledge and many very helpful comments will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.


I’m so sorry to hear this. I haven’t been here long, but still long enough to see that Inky was an important part of the community. My condolences.

To Inky/Bob’s daughter and extended family, our thoughts are with you during this time of loss.

You should cherish all of the positivity that he brought to this forum and letterpress as a whole.

We first met Bob in 2008 while he was looking for a new “student” to bring under his tutelage. My wife was the candidate and we spent a few days at his shop trying to tackle something that was far too complex for us newbies. He approached the challenge with optimism and care repeating the mantra, “Don’t chase the misfeed” until we were saying it ourselves. Now thirteen years later we have a thriving letterpress business of our own with more presses than we know what to do with. I can attest that this could not have happened without our interactions with him.

I enjoyed the wisdom that he would impart to others on this site always treating every individual with the upmost respect and trying his best to provide not only the answers but insights as well. He ended each post with “Get some ink on your shirt” as a way of bringing levity to something that can be frustrating at times.

But Bob was a printer and nothing more. He didn’t have a creative bone in his body. Each year he created a discussion on Briar asking to see holiday cards. He enjoyed seeing what others were able to design and print and brought the community together.

We eventually moved close to Bob in Pleasant Hill and exchanged emails through the subsequent years and invited him out to our home to see our studio but that never materialized. I hope that he’s in a good place right now marveling at all around him.

I am sorry to hear this. Bob was a genuine asset to our little community and we will all feel his absence. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us here.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

My Mentor and Grandpa -

I’ve always had a love for writing pretty cards to friends and family. As my love for correspondence grew - so did my love for lovely cards. I was always drawn to the letterpress cards. I’m quite crafty and thought, “Hey, I wonder how you do this?” A few weeks of internet research and I stumbled upon Briar Press. A girl from New York had posted that she was new to this and inquired if someone would be willing to teach her. A gentleman with the screen name ‘Inky’ replied saying, “If you lived closer to California, I’d be happy to teach you”. I was living in Nevada at the time. San Francisco was only a few hours drive. I wrote to Inky asking if he’d be willing to teach me. I told him that I knew nothing of letterpress. I think I probably said letterpressing (gasp!). That was Wednesday and by Saturday morning I had driven the 3 hours to the coast and was in Professor Inky’s shop. I didn’t even get to print anything the first weekend. I learned of pica and points, leads and slugs, cases and galleys. The first piece I printed: A line from my favorite hymn, “It is well with my soul”. I’ve driven to Professor Inky’s shop more times than I can count since then. He told me I’ve been infected with the disease. It almost feels like that. All consuming. Professor Inky never had any grandchildren and I no grandparents to really speak of. Well, none that have shared their life’s wisdom like he has. I don’t call him Professor Inky anymore. He answered to Grandpa. He’s taught me everything I know about letterpress. When I moved from Nevada to Oregon and then back home to Minnesota, I was without a press. My parents secretly talked to Inky (I have no idea how they found his contact information) and were able to locate a floor model C & P. The press was in terrible disrepair but my parents are quite handy and mechanical and were able to confer with Inky about how to restore the press. They did a phenomenal job of restoration and I received the press as a Christmas surprise. Now, my parents run T & T Press Restoration and put beautiful presses back in the hands of new printers.

Quite a legacy that Inky has left. He had a true love for the craft and wanted nothing more than to share his knowledge with others.

He was such a wonderful man. The kind of man that you admire in every aspect. He loved his wife, spoke so highly of his daughter and son-in-law, was a retired Coast Guard Captain. He would tell stories of helping neighbors and providing support to those at his church.

He will be greatly missed.

The attached picture is of Inky and his wife, my parents and myself on a trip we took to Connecticut.

image: Inky.jpg


My condolences.

I met Bob in 2010 when I lived in San Francisco, and he offered to give me and my roommate, Knut, an introduction to printing on the platen press. We had recently purchased a benchtop platen from Ted Salkin, and our only (very limited experience) previously being on a cylinder proof press.

He got in touch and offered to give us a lesson in his workshop, and we jumped at the opportunity and took BART up to Pleasant Hill one Saturday.

We spent a few hours hanging out in his workshop, hearing stories and printing a few cards. He got a kick out of us being Norwegian, as he had visited Norway once in the 1960s.

That early lesson was the first step in my ten+ year journey as a printer, and many friendships online and in the real world. It all started with Bob’s generosity.

We would trade emails occasionally and I’d update him on how I was getting along with the ink. He was a joy, and I’ll always remember his “Get some ink on your shirt” and “Don’t chase the misfeed” lessons.

-Kim A. Bøe

Very sorry for your loss. He replied to all kinds of posts here and I enjoyed reading his comments. Prayers to your family.

I enjoyed his comments and knowledge here. Our little web has been torn. My sympathy to all who knew Inky and loved him.

I had a nice email from Bob about training other people in a pre-digital workspace, but I had gone into famly caregiving then. He understood the Bay Area has so much training in the digital letterpress area, but learning how to respect typemetal is problematic today. I’ve seen so many printers donate precious type only to have people abuse it, and I might now be the only one to remember the donor.
I’ve known printers from all streams— trade, hobby, academic, book arts — and it s a shame the trade printers have had so little opportunity to contribute to modern letterpress.

I share in your families loss as well as the loss to this letterpress community. A kind & helping personality always shadowed his posts.

So sorry for your loss. He will be sadly missed.
W.L. Reed
Black Diamond Press - (Kentucky)

Lovely stories, particularly the one from greengrasspress—thank you all for sharing.

I have asked Greengrasspress to identify Inky in her photo.

Very sorry for your loss. I enjoyed reading and appreciate all the knowledge Inky shared with this community.

Denise Laborde
Friendly Fire Paper


Inky is on the right in the plaid dress shirt.