sorting type?

haven’t been on here in a few years. just purchased a 5x8 kelsey model o with a some type that’s piled in the bottom of a box. is there a trick to sorting the thousands of letters? thanks. jim

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My M.O. in the past has been to do it in stages. Start by taking a card table into the living room and putting on a good long movie - I recommend “Doctor Zhivago”. I first sort them by point sizes. (Hopefully there aren’t too many different sizes) Then by letter - but keeping them on their feet so you can see what you’ve got. At this stage I think of it as “Ransom Note” typeface. At this stage you’ll know whether you have enough of any particular type face to actually carry on dividing it into separate fonts. Good luck!

When I have sorted in the past, I placed the type on its side with the notch facing up. I made rows of each different notch on a cookie sheets till I had everything worked from my pile to the sheets.
The recommendation of putting on some TV is good. It will takes some time. I worked through 300 lbs of various sizes and typefaces with no real idea of what or how much I had. Hopefully you have some usable type when you are finished

I guess I could look this info up, but what’s the nicks? And what do they represent or do? thanks, never really messed with letterpress stuff. jim


Assuming the type is standing…. (in a stick or galley) and I’m going straight into a case-

start by separating out the caps/smalls/punctuation each into a separate stick or galley, Make obvious grouping as you see them.
pull all the vowels into the case,
pull some of the obvious letters, like m or t, into the case
(somewhere in here, you may consolidate lines)
at this point, I’ll probably start picking letters off the line straight into the case.

If I’m sorting into a block of type in a galley, I modify the process to try pulling in alpha order with occasional regrouping the remaining type.

It helps to have a picture showing b/d/p/q as you look at the type (reversed image),


Small type, but the cheapest large ice cube trays you can get, write the letters on them and just sort into the trays.

Or drill about 80 1” holes in a piece of board about 3/4” deep