Hung Truong: The Blog!

Letterpress Coasters – Giraffe!

October 14, 2010 | 2 Minute Read

I finally got the rollers for my letterpress machine yesterday, so I tried printing something.

I had ordered all the other supplies I needed, including:

  • A crapload of blank coasters (1000)
  • A giraffe printer’s block

I already had the ink from my purchase of the machine. The machine itself is from 1941, and the ink was from the same company, in a tube. I’m not sure the ink is from 1941, but if it is, it’s held up really well!

I also bought a bunch of other stuff that ended up helping me a lot when troubleshooting. Luckily, I read a lot of posts on briar press and was eventually able to get a decent looking impression on my coasters.

At first, the ink was getting onto the block, like behind the giraffe’s neck. This meant that the ink rollers were pushing up too hard against the printing surface. I had to adjust the pressure by putting some electrician’s tape on the chase bed. Three layers of tape made the rollers touch the printing surface just right, while not getting on other stuff.

The impression itself was also a little too deep at first. You could see the part of the block that pressed into the coaster (which at this point didn’t have ink). So I adjusted the pressure of the platen (the part that runs into the printing surface) with a screwdriver. After getting a few crazy impressions, I started getting the hang of the adjustments. I got quite a few good looking coasters. Here’s a video of the machine in action:

I’ll be experimenting with letterpress stuff some more once I get different colored inks and more printing blocks. I’d also like to get a printing base so I can make my own photopolymer plates (printed from normal Illustrator files). Those cost quite a bit though, so I’d like to see what my press can do before blowing a lot of cash on it. I also put the coasters I made on sale at Etsy, so take a look at my giraffe letterpress coasters and buy ‘em before someone else does!