Letterpress

I was idly browsing Marktplaats (the largest Dutch classifieds site) for foil press machines, when I chanced upon an ad for a small letterpress machine. Of course, this intrigued me, and I did some research.

It’s an Adana 8×5 (because the printing area is 8×5 inches), and it was aimed at the hobbyist letterpress market. And when I saw this movie of someone using a linocut with the machine, I knew I wanted something like that. With this, I could (theoretically) print multi-color linoblocks, as well as use type to add text. Combined with our bookbinding skills, we could make our own books from start to finish!
So I contacted the seller, and Tuesday evening we drove an hour to visit them. The seller was a professional printer who had collected some old machinery and various bits and bobs — which he enthousiastically showed to us and told us about. In the end, we got a lot of extra stuff with the machine — the most interesting one was a ‘numerator’, a cliche that counts each impression, allowing you to make uniquely numbered editions!

Wednesday evening I cleaned the machine a bit and tried to make an impression of one of the plates that we got. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out at all. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong, perhaps I didn’t use the right ink. I’ve asked around for a short workshop on how to use the machine — I’ve got a tip about someone who gives printing courses, so I’m hoping she’ll be in contact soon. I can’t wait to take the press for a spin (with good results)!