Sunday, June 12, 2011

Metal Type

Whenever you see an image or title embossed on one of my projects, I've either used a custom made magnesium die, or lead or brass type from my collection. The photo above is a close up of my type drawers. I've stamped a sampling from each drawer onto labels, so I know what's inside.

Many of the tools and pieces of equipment that I use weren't necessarily invented for the craft of bookbinding. Much has been re-purposed from other trades, and more often than not, my tools have already had a long history before they land in my hands. This is definitely true for all of my type.

In Dillard, GA at Good K-9 Antiques, I found a plastic grocery bag full of lead type, and then in Mount Dora, FL at Renningers, I found a beautiful wooden box full of little paperboard boxes that organized something very neatly once upon a time, and would be perfect to organize that newly acquired type. Put them together, and what have you got? Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo!

This box of type, one of my favorites, was originally intended for a Kingsley stamping machine but it works like a dream in my Kwikprint from the 1930s. I found this set in an antique shop in Astoria, OR when Josh and I ventured there with my parents on a pilgrimage to the land of The Goonies.

This is the side of my box of type drawers, with evidence of the luggage shop it came from. I found my Kwikprint via Craigslist and had it shipped from Wisconson along with the box of type and some stamping foils.

At least once a week I click around online to see what might be out there. Just last week, Josh and I found a honey-hole of bookbinding and screen printing supplies, and lately I've been asking antiques dealers if they have the type that goes in all of those empty type cases that are lying about. I think I got a bite yesterday - wish me luck!


  1. i hope you found some great stuff! i am looking for a better way to store the type i's laying around in open trays and i have a box full of mixed type that i haven't even tried sorting (i got it with my press). i was going to switch over to solely photopolymer plates...but now i'm leaning towards buying some type when i order my new press.

  2. Hi Stephanie!
    It took FOREVER to sort through that bag of type that I bought! Maybe not forever, but I think I did it over a span of three days. In the end it was totally worth it! I'll look forward to hearing what you decide to do when you order your new press - There's something nice about building words from familiar letters, but the idea of being able to make a completely custom plate for every project is nice, too.

  3. If I HAD a press I'm sure I'd be saying the same ;oP But maybe soon I will! But MAJOR props on estabilshing such an organize bindery (for REAL)! P.S. Blockbuster is moving locations over here and has all sorts of storage equipment (even the counters?!) not to mention, DVDs I'm hoping I can scrounge up some dough to take advantage of the insane deals :o)

  4. Man I wish could find type like that!! You got some great finds there! I am going to really look in antique stores from now on!

  5. Hey Celia! Did you end up getting any of that storage equipment? It sounds like it would be awesome!

    Hi Mike! Good luck on your type hunt! I'm betting that you'll find some :)


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