O Captain! My Captain!

This has been the Christmas of the letterpress. My beautiful Chandler & Price Pilot (whom I have decided to name Captain, referencing Walt Whitman's poem) has been outfitted with many of the necessaries, and we are moving closer to shipshape. In the morning I unwrapped my new 18" guillotine paper trimmer:


Look at that beautiful blade.

Later in the afternoon, I received a mixed bag of letterpress goodies:

from left to right:
  1. Heavy-duty gauge pins (guides the paper while printing)
  2. Type gauge, or line gauge (for measuring type, spacing, etc.)
  3. Curved, pointed tweezers (for precisely grabbing small pieces of type while editing set type)
  4. Quoin key (for tightening/loosening quoin)
  5. Quoin (locks type tightly in chase when ready for printing)
  6. Composing stick (For setting type. I gave this one to myself actually. They're a bit harder to find  these days.)
  7.  Ink knives (for applying ink to ink plate)
  8. Not pictured: red pressboard (for padding underneath paper to get the best quality impression)
All of these smaller supplies (except for the composing stick) were found at American Printing Equipment. The composing stick I found secondhand at an Etsy vintage shop.

The finale of this day of gifts is the best Christmas present I have ever received. My brother Brett custom-built a BEAUTIFUL type cabinet and gave it to me on Christmas day. It has shelves enough to house eight small type drawers (for which I will soon buy type to fill), space enough at the base to store letterpress supplies like ink, pressboard, cleaning solutions, even my new 18" paper trimmer! It also provides a platform (or pedestal?) for my tabletop model press. Captain and I are both in love with this gorgeous piece of furniture.

I gave him general height and width requirements. Told him it needed to be sturdy enough to support at least 200lbs. resting on top of it. And gave him one drawer to use as reference. Then my brother designed and built this for me. It is incredible and one of a kind. I think this is going to be a future family heirloom. 


  1. Holy cow - SO JEALOUS! That cabinet is so beautiful! You cannot imagine what MY brother would have come up with given the same requirements. And that's why I didn't get a type cabinet this year. Congratulations to you and Captain. May you spend many happy hours together.


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