Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gauge Pins & Boxcar Bases...Avoiding Disaster

Hello fellow letterpress friends! I am slowly emerging from March Madness (not the NCAA kind, but the client year-end madness where all projects have a deadline of March 31st!) and have been looking forward to spending more time with my Kelsey.

I recently purchased some new gauge pins from NA Graphics in Colorado after smashing the only 3 I was given by my instructor. They are delicate little things, those silly gauge pins! In any case, I was curious about how other people have dealt with the whole gauge pin conundrum when working with boxcar bases (i.e. how do you avoid smashing them into your base).

I found a nice little discussion at Briar Press about this very issue:

You can see below how Wallflowers Press has dealt with this issue by making their own gauge "pin" set-up using folded paper (photo originally posted on Briar Press by Wallflowers Press):

Another user had suggested saving the tongues from smashed gauges and tape them down to the tympan paper on their own as another method.

So, alternative gauge-pin solutions are worth some thought, especially when a box of new gauges is about $25 + shipping, taxes, and duties (to Canada).

Happy letterpressing!

p.s. I really, really am going to get those business cards done...I will post photos when I get my plates from Boxcar Press...


  1. Wow! Great tips here! Thanks for putting it all together. I have found that I can't use a pin on the left side, but the bottom is I have 2 pins along the bottom. For jobs that don't have to perfectly register in 2 colors I just draw a straight line on the left and I just make sure to carefully put my paper in and stop at that line. I'm able to go pretty quickly and it works fine. (Again, it's only for my work that doesn't have to be spot-precise).

  2. Taping things with masking tape also saves your tympan from all those little holes and having to be changed as often! At our letterpress class, we use a short slug and tape it down, then tape down a lead on top of that to create a groove. Same concept as the folded paper, but a little heftier. I use lithography registration guides that I tape down to my platen. You can get them cheap at any art store. Love your blog!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...