There’s a lot going on here at the moment, hence the infrequent blog entries.
Phil has been frantically printing Richard III, the latest in the the Letterpress Shakespeare series for the Folio Society. His attempts to meet the production deadline haven’t been helped by an ink problem. We used to buy a black from Shackell Edwards that was made to our specification. It was wonderfully stiff and dense, and gave a terrific sharp, rich result. SE went out of business earlier in the year, and when we asked another manufacturer, who will remain nameless, to provide a match what they came up with was so thin and runny that we’ve had to reprint five formes.
Our usual practice on the Shakespeare is that Nick imposes the formes and Phil prints them. The impositions don’t take nearly as long as the printing, and in between times Nick has been working with Rosa on the proofing press. They are printing a short extract from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials for the Oak Tree Fine Press. It is only 48 pages, but they are all in two colours and there are ten or eleven wood engravings to print from the original blocks too. The type was set on a Mac and made into line blocks, which need careful positioning on the press. To add to the fun, some of the edition is on hand made paper which has very irregular edges, a nightmare for maintaining register.
The job has had its problems and it’s going much slower than we had hoped, but the printing’s looking great.