2018 ATF Conference—Day Zero

Why “Day Zero”? The American Typefounding Fellowship conference proper started on Friday, August 24th, but the day before that had technical sessions, where we got to see how M&H Type run their Monotype Composition casters. I attended the afternoon session, not so much to learn how to run a caster, but to see the special quirks that every foundry seems to have on how they run their casters. As an aside, there was also a “Day -1” which consisted of an evening hospitality suite at our hotel.

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Posted in American Typecasting Fellowship, Kevin, Letterpress, Past Events

Flying Back to Toronto

On my return flight from the ATF conference in San Francisco I spotted two interesting views out of my airplane window (facing South).

The first was an interesting landform in Wyoming:

A strip of dunes in the Great Divide Basin built from sand blowing through a gap in mountains to the West.

A strip of dunes mostly in the Great Divide Basin built from sand blowing through a gap in mountains to the West. This picture covers about 90km (55 miles) in the East-West direction. (Thumbnail from Google Maps; click to go there)

The Killpecker Sand Dunes are formed from an old riverbed which provides a source of sand, with the prevailing westerly winds blowing this sand though a gap in the mountains across the plain.

The blown sand forms this long cigar-shaped dark area with patchy dunes in it. I expect that the dark shape is from the sand wearing away lighter-coloured surface materials. This erosion probably forms a bit of a depressed area which keeps the sand confined despite minor variations in the wind direction.

The other interesting sight was a thunderstorm near the Wisconsin/Illinois border, west of Beloit. This was just after dusk so the lightning flashes were easily seen, though the bolts themselves were mostly hidden within the cloud. Although it was not a huge storm, the view was excellent so I took a short movie of in using my cell phone.

Posted in American Typecasting Fellowship, Conferences and Meet-ups, Geography, Past Events, Weather

Off to Frisco!

atf2018-conference-program-coverTomorrow I’ll be flying to San Francisco for the 2018 American Typecasting Fellowship (ATF) conference, hosted this year by M&H Type and the Arion Press. I expect most of the usual gang to be there, with presentations about old systems for casting type for letterpress and stories (both horror and successful) about keeping the old craft alive in the modern age. There will probably be some ATF people based on the West coast whom I haven’t met before as well.

Previous ATF conferences I’ve attended have been in Auburn NY (2016), Salem NH (2014), Portland OR (2012), Piqua OH (2010), and Grafton IL (2008).

I hope to have a report in this blog of some of the activities in a more timely manner than in 2016!

Posted in American Typecasting Fellowship, Conferences and Meet-ups, Kevin, Past Events, Type Casting

the Papertrail on local TV (again!)

A month or two ago we were featured on the local CTV station’s Made Right Here segment. I guess they found us so photogenic they sent another crew (well, just two people, actually) over and this week we appeared on their In Your Backyard segment, presented as three 3-minute items during the 5 o’clock news. I can’t seem to find a link currently that will play all three in sequence (each one links on to an August 1st item about a bakery), so here are the links to the individual parts:

  1. Fibre and pulp preparation
  2. Sheet forming
  3. Pressing and drying the paper

These are all preceded by ads, of course. On my browser, these start up with the sound muted in the video player so you might have to unmute it to hear things too.

Posted in Hand Papermaking, Papermaking, Us

A Chase for our Sigwalt Press

20180622_155944smallWe received our Sigwalt Chicago No. 11 press with no chase so it has been sitting collecting dust for a while.

I recently cobbled together a chase from a scrap of the ¾″-thick high-density polyethylene (HDPE) sheet we use to make our moulds and deckles.

I cut the HDPE to a rectangle which fit closely between the rails of the press, then shaved off a bit on each side leaving a small wedge to engage the chase retainer lugs on either side of the bed. I cut the chase opening using my sabre saw, with a drilled hole to start the cut, and filed the edges to the desired shape (more or less). I drilled some holes on two sides and tapped them #8-32 to take setscrews to lock in the type.

Locking screw holes in the bottom of the chase

Locking screw holes in the bottom of the chase


Locking screws in the side of the chase. Note also the wedge-shaped ridge which engages in the lugs on either side of the press bed.

To test it, I locked in three lines of standing type I had waiting to be dissed (the title lines from a Wayzgoose Anthology submission from four years ago). After some fiddling with packing and the press bed adjustments I got a half-decent print out of it. The rollers on this press seem really hard (Shore A45/OO90) for the strength of the roller saddle springs, and things ended up a bit over-inked.

A sample print on handmade paper

A sample print on handmade paper

This press has a small foot so it really needs to be attached to a tabletop or larger base to avoid tipping when operating it. A bigger base plate and new ink rollers are the next items to be addressed for this press.

Because I hand-shaped the opening, one end of it is a bit wonky so I put the setscrews in that end. The other screws ended up on the bottom of the chase purely by chance. I didn’t have the correct screw size handy so I made my own, and the slot in the head (cut with a hacksaw) is a bit too narrow to accept the screwdriver tip properly. Also, the screws have to be recessed so it takes a tiny screwdriver to tighten them. I think I will re-drill and re-tap the holes to accept the same screw size as those on the chase of our Kelsey press (which I think is ¼″-20) so I can use the same screwdriver that I use for the Kelsey.

This gives me a starting point for making a chase out of metal. The HDPE material is very forgiving so I didn’t need to worry too much about proper engagement of the retainer lugs. The lugs on my press bed do not match each other so for a metal chase there would be manual fitting on both sides. I can think of several ways of forming a metal chase:

  • Joining four bars using mechanical fasteners
  • Welding four sides together
  • Bending one long bar at the corners and welding the rectangle closed
  • Drilling a starting hole in a solid plate and using the sabre saw to rough out the hole
  • Using a cutting torch to rough out the hole
  • Cutting the hole out with my mill

A genuine chase seems to be about 5/16″ thick on the top and bottom, and 7/32″ thick on the sides, so welding four sides together might be the easiest way, as long as I can keep the sides from distorting.

Posted in Equipment Acquisition, Repair, and Maintenance, Letterpress, Sigwalt Chicago No 11, Us

(Yet another) Maker Expo Floor Plan Change…

It appears the the Kitchener Aud is hosting a lacrosse tournament just prior to the Maker Expo and won’t have time to take down the rink boards between the two events. As a result there will be less space available in the arena, but the Expo will now have use of the Kiwanis arena as well as the original Kinsmen arena.

The floor plan has changed substantially, but I’m not going to make yet another map showing where we are because (although our booth number is now #22) we are still essentially in the same location—in the Kinsmen arena at the end of the row of booths along the center of the arena near the main entrance.

It turns out we can sell items at this event, so we will be using our second table to sell some of our marbled and handmade paper.

Posted in K-W Maker Expo, Past Events, Sheet forming, Things we sell, Us

New booth location at Maker Expo

We’ve just been assigned a new booth location, so we’ve updated our original post to show the new spot.

Posted in K-W Maker Expo, Past Events, Sheet forming, Us

the Papertrail at Kitchener Maker Expo, June 2nd & 3rd


Kitchener’s Maker Expo, an interactive showcase of makers & DIY culture, is coming up Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd & 3rd, 2018, at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium—Kinsmen Arena. The show runs from 11am to 5pm both days and admission is free!

the Papertrail will have a booth at the show (half of #11—see the floor plan below) where we will be demonstrating hand papermaking and you can make your own sheet of paper too! We have room for a second table in our booth but we haven’t decided what we’ll show there yet.

The last Maker Expo was in 2016 at Kitchener City Hall and was a great success, and we’re looking forward to another great event this year.

Make Expo 2018 Floor Plan

Posted in K-W Maker Expo, Past Events, Sheet forming, Us

Upcoming Papermaking Workshop, June 9th 2018

We will be holding our Introductory Hand Papermaking workshop on Saturday, June 9th, 2018.

This course covers the basic materials, equipment, and processes used for making paper by hand. Techniques include basic sheetforming, couching, pressing, and drying, as well as the use of pigments, additives, and decorative inclusions. We concentrate on using commercially-available pulp, but also touch on recycling and use of raw plant fibres.

This workshop will run from 9am to 4pm with a 1-hour lunch break, and will be held at our store in New Dundee. We still have spaces available, so if you’re interested, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Posted in Hand Papermaking, Our own courses and workshops, Past Events, Us

the Papertrail on local TV

CKCO-TV (aka CTV Southwestern Ontario) recently did an item on the Papertrail for their Made Right Here series which features area businesses that have interesting products or services.

The 3-minute item was broadcast April 28th 2018, but is also available on their web site for your viewing pleasure.

Unfortunately, Audrey had no voice the day of the interview, so I do all of the talking and almost all of the showing.

Posted in Challenge MA15 Proof Press, Marbling, Moulds and Deckles, Presses, Printing, Sheet forming, Sigwalt Chicago No 11, Things we do, Us, Vats

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