You would think that after, say, the first two or three hundred, the process of printing coffee bags on the Golding Jobber № 8 would get, well, a little repetitive. Especially because printing two-colour coffee bags means printing one colour, cleaning up, and printing the second colour.

But repetition is kind of the point: letterpresses are machines meant for mass production, and so becoming proficient at the printing trade means becoming proficient at repetition.

Today I took a big leap in that regard.

The coffee bags themselves are ornery things to print on: foil bits hanging out, folds in annoying places, and about 5 times thicker than a regular sheet of paper. My lack of proficiency, combined with this orneriness, has meant that, for the first four or five hundred bags, I’ve been printing a bag, throwing off the press, taking the printed bag out, putting a bag in, and throwing the press back on, wasting 3 or sometimes 4 or 5 cycles of the press in the process.

Try as I might I could never coordinate all the movements to do this all in one smooth motion.

Until today.

Today, by dint of repetition, favourable humidity (meaning less stickiness), and disposition of the printing gods, I cracked the code.

I was on fire. It’s amazing how quickly you can print when you’re actually printing at the press intended, with one impression per cycle.

So in short order I was able to crank out 301 coffee bags. Or at least the black impression thereof.


Tomorrow I’ll go back in to print the red; I hope the gods continue to favour me.


Oliver B's picture
Oliver B on December 21, 2013 - 03:00


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