A look inside the letterpress filing cabinet

Since getting my Adana 8 x 5 I’ve been accumulating bits and bobs of kit.

You don’t quite realise some of the things you might need to be able to do projects.

Type obviously. But also hand rollers, inks, glass to pre roll ink, cleaning kits, spacing stuff, paper and so on and on.

Here’s a peek inside the the IKEA filing cabinet that the Adana lives on top of…

Some mixed wooden type

Type and plates

Metal type (sooo heavy)

Chases and quoins and spacing stuff


Hopefully soon I’ll do a list of where to find…..

First ‘proper’ letterpress project

For my first real project I decided to use a nice big block so it would be relatively easy to set up the forme and lock the block in the chase (see look technical terms I didn’t know existed only a few months ago).

I decided to try it across a variety of papers I already had to hand and as I’d only got one ink (Paynes Grey), well I used that.

And goodness did I learn a lot.

Like its not as easy to pad the bed as I thought (and get an even impression). Old blocks are unlikely to give you the sought after impression in the paper. Smooth paper gives a better print (than textured) if the block is detailed like this one. And ink takes an age to dry on modern shiny paper takes. And its really easy to get ink everywhere.

All of which I’m sure an experienced letterpress person could have told me in five minutes, but hey sometimes its fun finding out for yourself.

25 May: PS – just to be clear the block is a vintage one I bought not one I designed, I’m not that advanced yet :(

addendum (8/6/11):

ink colour: Paynes Grey

ink make: Stay Open by Hawthorn Printmakers Supplies

paper: Concord index card 6 x 4


I like writing real letters to real people on real paper with a real pen and real ink.

In these days of instant communications it seems delightfully civilised.

And believe it ot not there are some people out there who don’t have computer let alone email.

And everyone appreciates a lovely letter in the post.

Especially if it’s on lovely stationery.

Like this letter press card I found recently.

I got it in Paperchase. But you can find them online here.

Its made me want to write more real letters.

And more worrying get a little lettrepress printing machine