Thursday, December 10, 2015

Henderson View Article, 12/3/2015 — Video

Henderson View Article, 

Henderson View Article, 12/3/2015

Henderson View Article, 12/3/2015

Vegas Stripped: Henderson man uses letterpress to elevate typography to an artform 
By Cassandra Keenan View staff writer  

A Frank Sinatra song played softly in the background recently at Lawrence Peterson's garage as he stood in his green workshop apron, hand-setting the type he planned to run through his 1887 Golding Pearl treadle letterpress. The letters spelled out the lyrics for the Bob Dylan song "Bob Dylan's Dream," and Peterson also worked on a brief composition he personally wrote dealing with typography.
"What I try to achieve here is old-world craftsmanship," the 65-year-old Sun City Anthem resident said. "Commercially, this would not be a viable business nowadays; this is fine if you're exhibiting at a museum or just trying to preserve the art of typesetting." He said between hand-setting the type, getting the ink to register correctly and making any corrections, it takes him about a week to create a single-page project.
"I work out here four to six hours a day, seven days a week," Peterson said. "It's a hobby; it's a passion; it's allconsuming. I look at it as not only creating things of beauty but trying to raise people's awareness regarding letterpress arts." His life partner Gene Gates assists with the process by doing the proofreading and re-organizing the type after a project is completed. "I know where everything goes, and I like to make things nice and neat after he messes them up," Gates joked.
The two pieces Peterson worked on would add to the large volume of printed items he has already created since acquiring the machine and various styles of type free from two friends in Palm Springs about five years ago. He was 60 at the time and had been retired for about five years. "I was kind of starting to twiddle my thumbs, then this showed up," said Peterson, who ran a computer-based typesetting company called Typo-Graphics, which produced primarily educational textbooks.
"I didn't know that much about letterpress from my industry — I knew about printing. I didn't know anything about hand-setting letterpress. I pretty much learned it on my own." Since receiving the letterpress, Peterson has purchased many more fonts and typefaces, not to mention borders, type spaces, ornaments and other related items, which he stores inside 10 large wooden cabinets that have a total of 177 cases or drawers. He keeps track of everything via Excel spreadsheets.
"The list shows I have 341 fonts at this time and a couple more currently in the queue to purchase," he said. He also has an 1881 Paragon paper cutter, a 1930s-era Kelsey Excelsior tabletop and press, and a 1940s-era Hammond Glider Trim-O-Saw for adjusting type space widths.
"I try to generally have the shop reflect the late 1800s and the early 1900s, but there are a few more modern conveniences in here that I do use," Peterson said. His inspiration is literature, religion and philosophy when it comes to deciding what to create. Many of the items have Buddhist themes, such as a Buddha-shaped excerpt from the book "Seeking the Heart of Wisdom" by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield. Other projects have included an excerpt from "The Doors of Perception" by Aldous Huxley; greeting cards; a 13-page, handbound booklet titled "The Last Testamentary Teachings of the Guru Phadampa Sangay"; and a spiral bound book titled "Specimens of Our Type Faces & Decorative Material," which has more than 130 pages and took four or five months to create.
The book documents Peterson's collection, and 25 copies were printed. "It has a Kierkegaard piece from 1847 to show what the typefaces look like," he said. "Interspersed throughout, I tried to include some artistic pieces and ornamental pieces, and then I switched to showing the borders. I probably captured about 80 percent of what I have." Peterson also writes about his collection and posts photos on his blog at —

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ink coverage problem

Roller hook and armature causing coverage problem

I was having a problem, which seemed to be getting worse over time, with an area in the middle of the image on the left side of the Pearl #3 press.  Ink coverage was light in about a 2 inch band running from the middle of the left edge inward about 4 inches. Flipping rollers and even swapping them didn't seem to help.  I thought it perhaps was the springs. There was also an odd ink density variation (about the same size) on the ink disk that seemed to be related. 

Purchasing a roller gauge I could see that the problem existed with the rollers, not with the bed or platen of the press.  This led me to look more carefully at the trucks and the hooks. With newly taped rails I noticed that the upper left truck was rather sloppy forward and back within the hook while the bottom was only sloppy a bit up and down. On further inspection it looked as though the inside of the hook had worn enough that the roller was not pushing the hook end away from the hook armature — that the end of the hook was pressing against the hook armature so that the roller was sloppy. (Because the bottom hook does not hit the hook armature that roller seated well enough and the up and down sloppiness doesn't seem to matter.)  I did not want to tape the truck as the friction inside the hook would be a problem and the trucks are locked to the roller. By filing down the end of the hook so that it did not hit the hook arm the roller now seats properly in the hook. The opposite side did not show this problem but I filed it down a bit too to prevent future issues.

So that was it and the problem has disappeared. Yippee!!