Vandercook Block Leveler
When I was lucky enough to get my Hackler Block Leveller five years ago from a good friend in West Virginia, I did lots of research on other block levellers that had once been used to make end grain slabs of hard maple type high. I wanted to see how they worked so I could figure out how to properly use my Hacker. The only one that came up in research was the Vandercook model.
I found out there was one on display in a shop in New Jersey with a whole series of nice photos by Nick Sherman. For the next four years I never heard about them again. Then a printer friend said he has found one in Virginia and wanted my opinion. He bought it and hauled it to Illinois. Another friend bought the one in New Jersey and hauled it to Ohio. I spent several days and machined him out some missing parts. he s0ld it to Virgin Wood Type. The first one was purchased by Adam and Tammy Winn in Des Moines, Iowa.
Dave Peat and I made a road trip to Des Moines to help get it cleaned and running. We also replaced all the 3 Phase 220 motors with 110 volt single phase ones. Erin and Tammy cleaned all the years of dirt and oil off the outside until it looked new. I am rebuilding the old hard leather “Friction Drive” for the table and Adam is figuring how to get the 400 pound steel table off so it can be lubricated.
Adam and Tammy plan to start making replacement letters, new wood type, and selling beautiful type high end grain maple slabs for other printers and engravers soon. People always tell me I should not be giving away my secrets to my competition, but I have always maintained “The more people making new wood type in the world the better”!