A brief video tour

Special thanks goes to Sandra McNaughton for creating this video, which was part of a school project.


We have a new addition in the shop, arriving Easter weekend, 2o12 was a Vandercook SP-20 Proof Press. This is a very exciting event because it not only means we can give workshops with some more diverse equipment, but it means we can double our printable area to roughly 20 x 26″. That means that we can make some really large posters, broadsides, and generally be a much more versatile shop. This press comes to us from PB&J Press in Blafour, BC. Run by Peter Bartl and Jane Merks, PB&J have been formative not only in my growth as a printer, but also have shared their time, knowledge, and friendship with me as I grow from novice in 2004 to ‘full-timer’ now with Clawhammer. This press has already changed the way we do things around here.

The cornerstone of the shop is a ~1916 Chanlder & Price 18 x 12 inch ‘New Style’ Platen press. This press was exhumed from a basement in Kimberley, BC. and traces its roots back to the Cranbrook Courier. The Courier was a newspaper and job printer and when the newspaper was purchased, the new owner did not want to run a job printer. The job printer then split off to become Rocky Mountain Printers which operated as a commercial printer for a number of years. In the early 80’s, a johnny-come-lately to the Cranbrook printing scene, the Cranbrook Litho Press, bought out Rocky Mountain Printers and kept their name. Rocky Mountain is still in operation to this day, though they focus mostly on filling time on their five colour Heidlberg offset press. Clawhammer Press adopted the old girl for the price of hauling, cleaning and oiling. Because of this gift 8 years ago, Don Wik, owner of Rocky Mountain Printers is in some ways almost solely responsible for this letterpress adventure.

Besides the 18 x 12, we are also fostering a 10 x 15 Chander & Price New Style for Salmonberry Press, a local literary press. Originally used at the Prince Rupert times, this medium-sized press has been an asset for those smaller jobs that an agile press is required for.

Joining the C&P is a small Adana 8 x 5 inch tabletop press. This recent addition comes to Clawhammer from PB & J Press in Balfour, BC. This nifty little press is truly portable, we’ve dubbed it ‘the Laptop’. Great for small jobs like business cards and beer coasters, this will travel with us to workshops and demonstrations.

Wood Type:
In my opinion, a good stable of wood type is the cornerstone of any working letterpress studio. You just can’t beat the character and patina that wood type creates on nice, pillowy paper. Clawhammer has amassed a decent supply of wood type, many complete typefaces, and many ‘almost’ complete. This collection is shorn up with a random smattering of odds and sods that come across your desk when you have a letterpress; strange un-matching characters that will come in handy someday…

1. 15 line (3″) Bold Gothic Condensed
2. 10 line (2″) Bold Gothic Extended
3. 8 line (1.6″ or 96pt) Western Extra Condensed
4. 6 line (1.25″ or 72pt) Western
5. 36 line Gothic Super-Condensed
6. 30 line Gothic Super-bold
7. 10 line Rockwell
8. 20 line Bodoni Caps & Figures
9. 8 & 10 line Bodoni
10. 8 line Contact Bold Italic
11. 15 line Contact Bold Italic Caps & Figures
12. 8 line Gothic Extreme Condensed
13. 8 line Gothic Bold
14. There are some new arrivals as of April 2012… not yet added here. Please check back.

Metal Type:
While wood type is uber-cool, one can’t live on woody type alone. Try setting a paragraph of text for a wedding invitation in a 15 line Bold Gothic wood typeface. You’ll find you run out of room real quick. Having a good stable of metal type is crucial for setting those poems, business cards, and other ‘body’ text, as well as small headings. At clawhammer we have type ranging from 12pt up to 36pt in a variety of faces to suit the character of each project. Below is a list of typefaces we have access to.

1. Franklin Gothic Bold Roman 30pt (4 drawers)
2. Franklin Gothic Bold Roman 36pt (3 drawers)
3. Franklin Gothic Med Italic 24pt (2 drawers)
4. Clarendon Med Roman 30pt
5. Clarendon Med Roman 24pt
6. Kabel Light Italic 36pt (2 drawers)
7. Century Light Roman 30pt (4 drawers)
8. Futura Xbold Roman 14pt
9. Bodoni Med Roman 14pt (3 drawers)
10. Bodoni Med Italic 14pt
11. Centaur Med Italic 14pt
12. Centaur Med Roman 14pt
13. Empire Caps in 48, 60 & 72pt

In addition we have two full type-cases not yet added.

Digital Type & Graphics
Did you know the letterpress can do tricks other than just wood and metal type? It’s true. Digital type and line art can be rendered with the use of a metal-backed polymer plate. These plates are exposed to UV light with a special plate-making machine. The process is similar to exposing film, or exposing a silk-screen, with the ‘unexposed’ polymer getting washed out. It is a finnicky process and has take a while to learn how get good results from a machine. If you have a project that needs some custom line-art, or digital typography, we can help you with that too! Please contact us for more information and for artwork specs.

Other Equipment:
In addition to the basic printing equipment, Clawhammer press has a number of other odds & sods amassed for the various processes that are required of the letterpress printer.

1. Hamilton wood furniture & cases
2. Hamilton reglets & case
3. Various composing sticks
4. Hamilton wood planer
5. Galleys
6. Various chases, including spider chase
7. Speed quoins, and traditional quoins for lockup.
8. Granite makeready slab
9. Gauge pins, tympan paper
10. Various found cuts and engravings
11. Vintage Freestanding Rosback Perforator

Copyright © Dandelion by Pexeto