From library to living room

I finally found a use for the card catalog I bought last year. I found it on the cheap at an antiques store last spring and grabbed it fast. It is a 9-drawer maple set, formerly used to catalog the nonfiction section of some small library or other. But it is a very deep piece of furniture and the only place I could find to put it was on top of my dresser. It's been there for a year now, minding its own business, waiting for a new purpose.

Then along came my printing press and its wonderful baggage, all of which needs sorting, organizing, and storing within my tiny living room studio. There are so many little (and larger) bits and bobs that are required for printing. So I decided to house my press furniture, longer leads and slugs, woodcuts, and linocuts in my card catalog. The depth of its drawers are actually quite well-suited for this job. It has been moved out into the living room (where it looks quite at home), given freshly typed labels for its drawers, and then stocked up.

For those of you out there who are not printers, here's what some of those terms mean:
Traditional Cabinet for Press Furniture
  • press furniture: these are rectangular blocks of wood or metal varying in size used to fill the empty space between the set type and the edges of the chase (a quoin is then used to tighten and lock it all in place).

  • leads: thin strips of lead used to create the appropriate spaces between lines of text.

  • slugs: like leads, only thicker; they are used to create larger spaces, like the spaces between paragraphs.

  • woodcuts: type-high images for printing, carved in wood or lead.

  • linocuts: type-high images for printing, carved on mounted linoleum blocks (this is actually something I plan to try making for myself soon).


  1. Linocuts are very fun to make, though I got tired of forcing the carving tools through the linoleum rather quickly. Now I use a small hammer to help move things along. If you make a few, I hope you'll post them! :)

  2. I definitely plan to post them (as long as they don't turn out absolutely hideous!). I'm just waiting on my Speedball lino. cutter to come in the mail. And thanks so much for the tip! I haven't made any before, so this will be a fun (and I hope successful) experiment.

  3. I helped organize (I think)... we'll come over any time and help... soooo OCD.


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