Big Press Little Press

Moving Day at BPLP

Posted by on Jan 19 2014

Last week we moved in a new printer into Big Press Little Press – a 10×15 Chandler and Price. The move itself was quite an experience. We really didn’t know what we were getting into, but thanks to briar press,  we quickly learned a lot about moving these machines. We stuck largely to the method described here http://excelsiorpress.org/reference_html/movingapresssafely.html with some minor adjustments to fit our needs.

I’ll try to describe the challenging parts of our move in case anyone else in a similar situation. We had a very tight space to get the press out of. There was a large paper cutter in the room with one way (the long way) around it. We used rollers to move the press which was surprisingly easy to do. I had baseball bat rejects which were solid wood and about 3 1/2″ in diameter, but I’m sure steel pipe works just as well. With the press on rollers two people can move it with very little physical strength. I also had a 6′-0″ pry bar that I used to help scoot the press around some of its tight turns.

We also had the advantage of being able to tear down a doorway that the press wouldn’t fit through. Time consuming yes, but it beat taking apart the press more than I really knew how to. The owner was wonderful in letting us do whatever we needed to do to get the press out

To get it out the front door (8″ drop to the sidewalk) I purchased aluminum ramp kits from Lowes rated for 700 lbs each. I used 4 in total attached to 2x8s and then also put blocking underneath them to support the weight even more. We also used a come along to lower the press down the ramps. Maybe we could have handled the weight, but we didn’t want to risk it getting away from us.

Once we had it situated on the trailer, (also used the come along to get it up onto the trailer) I knocked out the rollers from underneath it and secured it with 4 ratchets rated for 3,333 lbs.

It towed nice, and this is coming from someone who has never towed anything with a truck before. (rented Uhaul truck and 5×9 trailer)

Once home, the last tough part we had was getting it off the trailer. I couldn’t get the leverage needed to lift up the press to get a roller underneath it (I should note that I used a motorcycle jack with a pry bar wedged under the legs to lift the press. We tried very hard to avoid lifting the press by way of any moving part). So we used the come along one more time, tied to a support in my garage to drag the press off the trailer and onto the rollers on the ramp. Since I had the wooden ramps from earlier, I also used them instead of the trailer ramp to reduce the downward slope.

All in all it took 3 people about 6 or 7 hours to do the move with only about 15 minutes of driving. There were other small complications in there, but those were the big ones we dealt with and the rest of what we did mirrors the explanation on the link above.

We are super thrilled to have this home and in one piece and are forever grateful to those who have already written about moving these presses. Also to our help, Bob Kelemen and the former owner of the press Laraine Hicks, we could not have gotten this home without you.

Printing on Fabric

Posted by on Dec 19 2013

We’ve been wanting to print on non-paper surfaces since we got the Showcard, and finally took time to try it out. There are still a few details that we will need to work on, but we are happy with our first tries! We printed on fabric bags and even created some shop aprons. Hopefully more to come!

Posters Prints with Wood Type

Posted by on Dec 15 2013

Oh, the beauty of wood type! We have been working with our new wood type collection making large format prints. The results of the large wood letters are so full of happy surprises! These typefaces and the large bed printer have added so many new possibilities to our printing!

Wood Type Collection

Posted by on Nov 28 2013

Happily we would like to report that we are now the proud owners of six new wood typefaces! From a lovely extended slab serif, to two full sets of two different sizes of a condensed gothic face— both upper and lower case! And even a four inch tall extra bold sans serif. We still have the challenge of identifying the specific typefaces (this can be challenging for old wood type) but in the meantime we are enjoying printing with them!

Type Month Promo Complete!

Posted by on Oct 02 2013

Our promotion for the AIGA Pittsburgh Type Month was finally completed over the weekend. We created a set of six coasters saying “I [heart] TYPE” where we featured as many typefaces from our collection as possible collaged into the letterforms. We also created a limited edition poster using the same elements. It was a great opportunity to experiment with our collection and our presses, as well as to be able to share our work with the Pittsburgh design community.

Showcard Printing Press

Posted by on Sep 23 2013

Recently we were fortunate enough to purchase a Showcard printing press to add to our shop. It’s in good shape but we are planning some modifications to make it easier for us to use. The most exciting thing is that we now have the capability to print at a much larger size than before. Today, we ran some of our most successful prints on it yet, so we’re excited to keep learning its nuances and crank out some awesome large format work!

Hand Lettering Workshop

Posted by on Sep 22 2013

AIGA Pittsburgh sponsored a Hand-Lettering workshop taught by typeface designer and letterer, Ken Barber of House Industries. We were fortunate enough to attend and found that we really got a lot out of this hands-on experience. Ken was a great presenter and even worked individually with each workshop participant. The experience of getting back to sketching letters was not only really fun, but inspired us to think about the possibilities of working on hand-lettered designs and making plates to print. We can’t be wood and lead-type purists all of the time!

Type Month Promotion for AIGA

Posted by on Sep 03 2013

AIGA–Pittsburgh recently invited BPLP to sponsor a happy hour celebrating Typography Month! We will be providing a commemorative giveaway for the first AIGA–Pittsburgh planned and sponsored Type Month (learn more about the month-long events on the AIGA-Pittsburgh events page: http://pittsburgh.aiga.org/events/). Obviously we were honored and thrilled for the opportunity! We began experimentation on ideas over the weekend. Stay tuned and we will post more of that work and then the final piece.

Our Table at the I Made It! Market

Posted by on Aug 18 2013

Our first show was a success! We sold at the I Made It! Market sponsored by Marty’s Market and Wiggle Whisky. We got lots of good feedback and sold many prints and coasters! We hope to do a holiday show in the late fall to see if we can do even better. Thanks to anyone who came to visit our table at the market!

Photopolymer Plates – Animal Series

Posted by on Aug 11 2013

Our first venture into printing with photopolymer plates on our platen press came about because we had many ideas for a series of prints with some of our favorite animals, but no animals to print with. So we finally broke down and had plates made for a pig, bear, fish and a series of dogs— it was a really fun to see the resulting prints! Maybe we won’t be so strict in using only existing type and artwork from our collection!