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[BKARTS] Special Book
I thought the message below, sent to the Letterpress List, would be of interest to many people on this list. (Sorry to those who are also on both.)
The 10 millionth book to be added to the collections of the library at the University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign, will take place this Friday during a special ceremony at the library. What is special about this one copy book is that it is printed letterpress by Rob Barnes at Foils and Dies in Denver on a 325 Vandercook. We are pleased to have provided the 87 photopolymer plates used in the printing. Electronic files of the pages were emailed to our service bureau, Mill City Typography, in Massachusetts, then over nighted by FedEx to us and over a several day period, Dan Garner, our office manager, made the Jet LSL 145 steel backed plates in our shop on a Jet A-3 machine.
We shipped plates overnight to Rob as they were produced and he then printed the pages and forwarded them on to the library for the final binding. We had one small glitch when we discovered 8 negatives had been overlooked, so this past Monday morning, Dan went into high gear and produced all 8 plates in one hour--and these are not small plates but about 10 x 12 inches per page. He then drove the plates to Denver, a little over 325 miles, direct to Rob's waiting hands, and Rob printed the final 8 sheets and had them in Urbana the next morning. Dan was back in Silverton by midnight after spending a couple of hours at Rob's shop. This is driving through some pretty heavy duty mountains between here and Denver.
Rob's printing plant is in my estimation one of the more amazing letterpress operations around. Immaculately clean and well organized, the shop boasts 3 13x18 Heidelberg platens, one 10x15, and a nice assortment of antique equipment, including a Columbian. It's a fun place to visit, as his interests in planes, trains, and military vehicles decorate the shop, and his brother's adjoining set business has a replica of the Eiffel Tower greeting visitors upon entering the lobby. Rob specializes in high end foil stamping and die cutting, and has a rapidly growing letterpress operation.
I initially received a call from the library asking if NA Graphics would like to print a special book. When I found out the page dimension, which is too large for any press here, I passed the information along to Rob and he made the
necessary contacts with the library and secured the job. Rob figured out a relatively easy magnetic base system and was able to accurately register each plate ready to print in just a couple of minutes. As there were only 10 sheets
of paper allowed for each page, he had very little wiggle room, and the first impression had to just about be dead on. He completed the book with paper left over.
I would add that the negatives we get from Mill City are flawless. We have never had a bad negative from them and never had one that required opaquing. The added bonus is that the owner of Mill City is a former Linotype operator and he offers the extra service of doing a quick reading of the files for errors. Things like zip codes with only 4 numbers and misspelled words don't get past him, and he
will call the client to verify copy.
For more information on the book, click on http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/03/1003tenmillion.html
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