There are now thirteen additional new catchwords in the Moore Wood Type Store. However, they are not reproductions of historical wood type. They are inspired by historical designs but new, original work.
The first set is the work of David Wolske. He is a well known Typographer, Graphic Designer, Letterpress printer & artist. David is a cofounder of Smart & Wiley, and runs the wood type and letterpress blog Letterpress Daily. He is the Creative Director for the Book Arts Program & Red Butte Press at the J. Willard Marriott Library, where he also teaches at The University of Utah, in Salt Lake City.
David is also one of the original members of the Advisory committee for Moore Wood Type. They are a group of printers, and friends, who I can e-mail my ideas to for feedback, and ask them questions for “Real working Printers”.
“I love reversed out streamer wood types and I love catchwords – combining the two seemed like a natural fit. The lettering derives from William H. Page’s No. 509 because of its allusive flexibility. I wanted the design to be somewhat timeless; to work comfortably in a contemporary design context while still implying antique origins,” explained Wolske.
I spent the past two years trying to figure out how to make plywood patterns that I could trace and cut on my pantographs. I ruined a lot of prepared maple, and made four different patterns trying to figure out how to cut the thin lines and little triangles in the design. Rick Von Holdt, another gifted printer from Iowa, and I finally figured it out by looking at the original tracing patterns at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. They solved the problem by stacking the pattern pieces in thin layers, which allowed for cutting the thin lines with thicker tracers.
Though I have not yet tried the Hamilton method for cutting the Wolske Banners, I do now have the proper patterns. However, I have also discovered laser cutting provides a viable option. I have been a member of a local shared technology group for the past six months and now have access to a 60 Watt Laser. It has opened a whole new area of producing wood type. The set of banners I am now selling have been cut into the polished and sealed end grain slabs that I already use with my pantographs. They use the same Vector art files David created for the pantograph patterns.
All three sizes of banners, 6, 8, and 10 line, are laser cut. They are sold as a set or individually.
The other Columbia Catchwords are my design and will be covered in the next blog. I’ve got to get back to cutting type.
After a very long wait there is finally New Wood Type in the MWT Online Shop!
Click on the window on the right to see the new wood type. Be sure to select the ALL button to see the twelve new items.
I will be posting another ten new items in the near future. – Scott
For the past six months I have been a member of a shared Technology Group in Central Ohio. One of the workshops I have taken is how to use the group’s 60 watt laser. Just like the learning curve to using a pantograph to cut wood type, it has been another learning curve to integrate the laser into making wood type.
I now use the laser to cut out my patterns in 1/4” baltic birch plywood that I did cut with woodworking tools. I still use the same vector art files I used to make the vinyl sign making material patterns in the past. However, I have discovered that the laser cut patterns are smoother and more accurate on long straight lines.
They do have their limits, but having access to this modern tool has completely changed the way I think about patterns. I have recently used it to make replacement letter patterns in 1/8” plywood for Igloo Press. They are only used for a few pantograph tracings and will never be used again.
The other major change to making wood type is to use the laser to cut a “Type reading” design into the end grain hard maple slabs I can already produce at exactly type high.
I have several pieces of edge grain laser cut wood type in my collection from friends who also have access to a laser. The difference is by cutting into end-grain the resulting thin impression sections are just as strong as if they were cut on a pantograph. Think of it as a pantograph with a very, very, .003 inch cutter. Sharp corners and NO TRIMMING. I can also cut type down to 2 or 3 line from my existing pantograph files.
The process is not cheap. You have to remove the “smoke and resin” layer that forms on the surface, and you still have to seal them with shellac. I still cut the majority of my wood type with the pantograph, but it has opened up a whole new area of making printing type.
As a gift for the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum’s reopening at it’s new location, I cut the Hamilton logo they are currently using in end grain maple. I cut it in several sizes to give them options if they ever decide to use this new type. I also have been cutting state outlines with both the pantograph and laser for my printer friends and special orders. I even laser cut some “Australias” for the Wayzgoose visitors from “Down Under” at the Hamilton Wayzgoose.