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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


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