A lino printing press, which may or may not work…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s hog is the one in the Armani suit.

You may recall that part of my artistic output takes the form of making lino prints. I’m not really that good at the technique, but I think my designs are reasonably interesting. Here is a little photograph of one, which you may have seen before; it is on A4 size drawing paper.

DSCN2442Anyway, I have been printing them in the usual way, inking the carved block with a roller, placing the paper on the inky block, and then energetically rubbing it down with a device made from an old desert spoon and a piece of broom handle – see below:

DSCN1171The other day I found myself at a loose end, and thinking about my occasionally achy right shoulder, and the time and effort involved in printing this way, I went online and started looking at proper lino printing presses. They are available at various prices, and come in two basic designs: ones which have a flat ‘plate’ which descends and applies an even pressure to the paper on its block, and ones with rollers, which by turning a handle, squeeze the paper onto the block like an old-fashioned mangle or wringer.
I thought that it would be interesting to make myself a press out of odds and ends I might find lying around my workshop. I decided on the descending plate method – a good decision, as I didn’t actually have any rollers kicking about… Here is the result after a couple of afternoon’s work:

DSCN3657That roll of kitchen towel is there to temporarily support the lever so that you can see the ‘plate’ dangling above where the block and paper would be. As you can see it is made from just bits of softwood and plywood glued and screwed together. The ‘plate’ as I call it, is a thickish piece of MDF (medium density fibreboard). That shiny metal bracket screwed to the top of the ‘plate’ is the frame of an old castor with its wheel missing. It is attached loosely to the lever with a chunky screw-eye. It is loose so that when it comes down it wiggles a bit, and adjusts, and applies an even pressure onto the paper and block. Note the 4″ rusty butt hinges holding the lever onto the body of the thing – I think they should be strong enough!
The idea is, that the ‘plate’ is fairly close to the hinges, and the arm is long, which gives a multiplication of the applied force of about five or six. Oh, and the whole thing needs to be clamped onto a table or bench to stop the whole bloody thing tipping up when the lever is operated – oh, what fun!…
‘Now Dave…’ I hear you ask, ‘…what’s that wooden thing, underneath your dangling ‘plate’ – the thing with the bits of white elastic stretched across it?’
Well, I’m glad you asked me that dear reader – this is a ‘frame’, that I made ages ago, which I use to accurately position the inked lino block in the centre of the A4 sheet of printing paper. Also, I have found that one’s print is often spoiled at the moment the paper is placed over the inky block – it is very easy to get a smudge, or a slight double image at the edge… Damn!…
Here is what I do… The elastic is stretched across, as seen above, the paper is carefully lined up resting lightly on the elastic, then the middle of the paper is pressed down onto the block, the pieces of elastic are unhooked at each side, and the paper flops down onto the block. So the paper first touches the block in its middle, thus avoiding those ‘edge first’ problems…
‘So Dave…’ I hear you ask, ‘…does your press work?…’
Well, er… I haven’t er… actually tried it yet. Of course, if the results are not as good as doing it by hand, with my spoon, then I’ll chop the thing up… It will have been an interesting thing to make though…
I promise to let you know how I get on…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in art, design, humour, information, learning, lino cut printing, photography, surrealism, thinking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A lino printing press, which may or may not work…

  1. Terry Grant says:

    Well Dave,did it bloody work??

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