Well I simply could not resist this assortment of cutting dies when it came up on a recent online auction. The listing stated that there were over 200 of various shapes and sizes! Needless to say I had great fun one evening unpacking the two large boxes, eager to see what treasures were contained within. I was not disappointed. There were circles and ovals and tags, even hearts and a shield/crest!! Oh the opportunities …
With the advent of larger and faster offset printing machines letterpress printing was pushed aside in favour of this newer, easier way to print. Consequently a lot of the machinery and accessories used for letterpress printing were put in to storage and then eventually disposed of. Trying to buy letterpress equipment now in New Zealand is relatively difficult. Much of the lead type has been thrown out or melted down. In saying that, the self confessed collector that I am, I am the proud owner of 84 trays of letterpress type! Yes 84! Just as well our shop in The old Post Office Building has the old vault in it which is a fantastic storage area for all of my printing paraphernalia.
My adventure into the world of letterpress printing began with this little tabletop machine.
Having been captivated by letterpressed invitations whilst reading magazines from the US and Europe I set about founding out more about how such beautiful textured, almost three dimensional pieces were created.
Research online indicated that the Adana 8×5 was an ideal entry level press.
To my delight I discovered that one could still purchase a new/refurbished Adana from the UK. Quick smart money was sent and great anticipation for it’s arrival mounted. More money was sent – (to NZ customs!) – but finally it arrived, along with type, brass rule, ink, quoins, reglet, furniture, lead spacing and all the things a beginner needed to get started in letterpress printing!
This little machine provided many a lesson, validated my love of letterpress and had me wanting more!!