Saturday, 2 May 2009

An unusual bookbinding press

Had a good few hours in the studio today – back on the cockle wood engraving. I arrived at the stage of being able to take the first proof which is always exciting. Still a lot of work to do on it but it’s good to be able to see where it’s going. However, I find that I tend to change style part the way through the engraving which isn’t very helpful; and it’s really noticeable on this one. Hmm, not quite sure how to fix it at this point…

I tried printing the block on my bookbinding press for the first time. Really didn’t think it would work but it’s great. A bit fiddly to get the block, paper and vinyl (used like an etching press blanket) under the platen as it only just fits but it actually produces a better print than I was pulling by burnishing. Bonus.

I’m including a picture of my bookbinding press in this post because it’s an unusual design. Bought it from good old ebay but the chap who sold it to me didn’t know anything about bookbinding or printing or this press. All the ones I’ve seen have either a T-shaped arrangement for screwing down the platen; this one has the screw underneath the arm bits (technical term there) and a lever for increasing the pressure once the platen’s been screwed down. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has seen one similar.


  1. I've never seen a press like that before. I'm not clear on how it works though - do you pump the handle up and down to increase pressure? Or do you just push the handle down?

    I wish I could just reach in there and play with it!

  2. You just push the handle down, having tightened the screw just above the platen first. It's quite hard work! I sometimes have difficulty pulling the handle up again. I've had this press about four years and haven't come across another of the same design yet.