They’re Alive!

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I’ve finally printed the completed set of blocks. Dan from The Arm graciously assisted me in setting up and printing. The experience overall was absolutely amazing and I’d highly recommend taking a class at The Arm because they are super nerds about everything from printing to making actual lead type at their type foundry. On top of that, they are solid dudes!

So, I have a few prints for sale if anyone is interested. This project truly was a journey in learning and collaboration, which are two of my favorite things. Many friends have helped me along in this process and it’s opened up a few opportunities that I would not have found if I had never done this. I encourage everyone to take up a project that challenges you! Make a font! Make a wooden canoe! Make something and share it with the world. It’s an awesome feeling to figure it all out on the way. You just gotta dissolve that fear and jump in. Thanks so much for following along with me. See ya’ll soon! 

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Trim the blocks: check.

This past Saturday night I had the enlightening experience of using a Hammond Glider saw to trim my blocks. Dan from The Arm letterpress studio suggested Bryan Baker could possibly help me out since he so conveniently has a saw made specifically for trimming wood type. Lucky for me, Bryan agreed and taught me how to use the beautiful machine in the basement of his studio. It was a complete success and to be honest, it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. (I’ll post photos and a detailed write up as soon as I re-shoot, since I lost the photos from Saturday night.)

Reason #25 why this project has been awesome: Building new relationships with wonderful people.

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March is over. What’s next?

Now that A-Z is completed, I’ve decided that my set is complete. This weekend is about finishing test prints. Next comes the tedious task of trimming each block down to reflect the most accurate measurements of side bearings, head, and foot height. Figuring out a way to print the specimen set will follow that. In short, I don’t expect the prints to be complete for a few weeks at least. Also, I have another little project in the works. Thanks for checking in with Letter March! I’ll be sure to post updates as I have them. I have a strong feeling the trimming and printing process is going to be slightly frustrating, but here I go! 

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Upon starting this project, I admit that I have made a *few errors. Learning is why I approach most projects, especially those which require skills that are somewhat previously nonexistent. That being said, Q is a perfect example of learning by doing things backwards.

Adding to the newbie-carving-letters mistake pile, I failed to notice that Q’s tail hung below my baseline and actually off of my block. My first reaction was to simply purchase a larger block. I also thought about redesigning the Q, the way a punchcutter might adjust details of a typeface design to fit technical constraints, by looking at the non descending tail of Champion’s younger brother Knockout. In the end, I decided it was best to just use a larger block. Plus, Q’s tail is ready to party and I couldn’t bear busting him for curfew.

Mega thanks to Jesse Ragan and Andy Clymer for your guidance and wisdom detailing Q. 

*probably over 10, but who’s counting?

Test prints

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How entertaining! The improvements from where I started March 1st are galactic. Learning technique and functions of nibs, lighting conditions, and music selection all harvest variants of quality. It truly has been an experience in learning what works and what does not. When slicing long, straight lines, “Steady As She Goes” by Raconteurs often repeats in my head. Little habits like this have evolved into vernacular. Still, I am no where near supreme type carver or typographer, just a little lady enjoying a fun little experiment.