Sunday, October 11, 2009

Press Move Stage One

I've been hiding for a while. I wish that I could report that I had created tons and tons of art. Instead, I have been working on house upkeep and school. I've re-roofed our porch, painted window trim and built a shed. At the same time, I chased leads on printing presses in Kansas and Colorado. When school started, I lamented to a fellow teacher that several of the leads on antique presses had fallen through. She gave me the name of a man who was about to scrap this letterpress. It is a 10 x 15 Chandler and Price Craftsman automatic with a broken rice feeder. He thought it was purchased some time in 1920s. The previous owner had already donated a larger press to the local museum. I may eventually obtain that press or parts of it as well. At the same shop there is a 30 inch C&P paper cutter that he is offering for $400.Already on skids and ready to load.

I invited my father down to help move the press and help get it ready to lift with the forklift. The two of us along with a man named Leroy began by disconnecting the speed adjuster, and wiring. We then attempted to get a floor jack under the front of the press and set it up on some 1x4 lumber. Turns out both of the floor jacks I brought were capable of lifting my body weight, but not much more. Lucky for us, Leroy knew were we could find a couple more jacks and we got the front of the press up. When we tried to lift the back of the press up, the jack wouldn't go low enough to get underneath. I had come prepared with a long steel pry bar, so we began prying up the back of the press. It took several attempts and a couple smashed fingers, but we finally got the press up and slid some 2x12s under each side. Once bolted in place, we lowered the press onto 6 pipes, and rolled it across the floor to the garage door.

At the door, we jacked the press up again in the back and placed a 4x4 across the two back "feet" of the press. Then repeated the process in the front. The 2x12 skids and 4x4 runners were screwed together so that the press can be forklifted onto a trailer in a couple of weeks. I'd love to have the press sooner, but when someone offers a free trailer and use of a lift, its hard to complain about the time table.

I haven't come up with a name for the press. Maybe I'll have something appropriate by the time it arrives at my studio. My wife I'm sure will want a name for our next child before I spend my energy on printmaking.

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