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Middlebury, VT, 05753
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Blog

Keep up with the goings-on at Birdwalk Press, from the celebration of our wonderful couples' weddings to stationery insider tips.

Filtering by Tag: printing

Emily's Business Card

Ian Johnson

 

Emily Korczyk is a fabulous graphic designer based out of Red Lodge, Montana.  We actually had the honor of printing her wedding invitations (read about it here) back when she was Emily Newhouse!  

We love the hand lettering and sweet little embellishments she drew for her cards- everything turned out spectacularly as a mint-green knockout, printed on double-thick fluorescent white Lettra.  Just look at that bite!  

Alanna and Guthrie

Ian Johnson



This invitation was such a blast to design.  Often times the best part of producing a wedding invitation suite is the couple themselves, and working with Alanna and Guthrie perfectly exemplified this.  They’re two of the absolute sweetest people around, no joke.  They even lent us their tools when we needed to cut some frames for our own wedding.  Good folks, these two.

Alanna and Guthrie wanted to highlight the Rocky Mountain Front, an awe-inspiring mountain range outside their home town in Montana.  Not only had they spend many a night under the stars in these mountains during elk season, but they also chose a stunning venue nestled in the foothills for their wedding day.  What an amazing and apt setting for such a remarkable couple.  And to top it all off, the charming hand-drawn map was done by Guthrie himself, who happens to be an incredibly talented artist.  We couldn’t have done it any better!  Custom calligraphy by Anna at Cast Calligraphy.


A Wedding Invite Fit for a Graphic Designer

Ian Johnson

Emily Newhouse is a crafty gal and conveniently enough, a super talented graphic designer.  She designed this amazing invite for her own wedding in July, and we had the honor of printing it for her.  We’ve always been pretty DIY ourselves, so it was a blast to work with Emily and her husband Michael.  



The design is a two-color sea foam and slate grey invite, printed on thick 220# lettra in A7.  We love the way the two colors work together, and the swirly accents perfectly compliment the bold typography.  We’re happy to have met Emily and Michael and wish them all the best!

 

A Montana Fly Fishing Inspired Invitation

Ian Johnson

We’re so excited to share this beautiful wedding invitation that we printed for a wonderful Wisconsin couple.  The custom suite was designed by Cast Calligraphy here in Bozeman.  Anna at Cast did an exquisite job drawing the fly and hand-lettering Janie and Michael’s names, which turned out just perfectly on the press!  She also flat-printed the RSVP postcard, which features a stunning picture of the groom himself fly fishing on the rivers of Montana.
We printed the two-color invitation on soft Lettra ecru paper, and finished the invite with hand-deckled edges to match the organic feel of the suite.  The gravel gray envelopes were a great match for the tone of the suite, and worked wonderfully with the dark gray letterpresses return address.  
After the wedding these lucky ducks have a fly fishing honeymoon planned in Bozeman, which we’re sure will be incredible.  Cheers to you guys!

Letterpress Printing on Wood!

Ian Johnson

This is one of the most favorite things we’ve experimented with in a while.

We’ve all seen high-end invitations and stationery printed on wood.  They stand out in a crowd, and give a super natural feel to any printed design.  We had been waiting for an opportunity to play with wooden letterpress cards, and now that we have one we’re hooked.  It is SO cool.

We can’t post any details about the project, but we can show some of our test prints from the different types of wood veneer.  All our samples came from Cards of Wood, and they have some amazing products.  Our favorites are the Maple and Walnut, but they really all look great.

Maple

Walnut

Birch

Our favorite part about this combo between letterpress and wood is the way it doesn’t hide the wood grain- in fact it highlights it.  The ink is absorbed into the wood at the “peaks” of the grain, and the “valleys” remain un-inked.  And unlike screen printing or offset, there is no bleed into the grain of the wood so the design stays as perfectly defined as if it were flat paper.  

If you’re interested in printing your design on wood, we DEFINITELY recommend it.  Not only does it look great, but you have the added peace of mind knowing how environmentally friendly it is.  Contrary to what you might think, wood veneer (even the multiple-ply varieties) requires less wood to produce than regular paper, and involves no chemicals compared to the pulping process.  It’s also 100% biodegradable of course.  

Such a great alternative to paper, and oh-so beautiful.  Stay posted… in a few months we’ll share how we’re using it!

Our Ink Roller Box

Ian Johnson

Keeping your ink rollers round and true is one of the essential responsibilities of a letterpress printer.  These soft rubbery things are incredibly precisely cast, and are soooo easily dented or distorted.  Leaving them on an ink disk or plate for even an hour can damage them irreversibly, so it’s of utmost importance to have a safe home to store them in, rather than on the press.  

 

We couldn’t find anything online that was just right (or affordable) to keep our rollers in.  There are roller boxes here and there online, but we needed one that could store six 8x12 C&P rollers at the same time and there was nothing available.

 

So I made one.

 

Six rollers at a time!

cheap utility pulls

 

I’m pretty proud of it.  While I don’t have any woodworking skills or a shop to speak of, it came out pretty well.  I designed it all in Sketchup, and built it in the garage.  Actually, I still need to cleanup all that sawdust…  please don’t tell Mina:).

 

The design uses two levels which each hold three rollers at a time, and keeps them suspended above the bottom and separated from each other.  Therefore as George Bluth says, we have… “No touching!”  The nifty part of the design is that both sets of shelves are removable from the box itself (while holding rollers), so you can remove each set independently while never having to set a roller out on a surface.  Maximum functionality!  

 

I’ve had a few requests to make these for sale, but as I said, I sort of have no idea what I’m doing.  I wish I was efficient enough to be able to produce these commercially, but I definitely am not.  This took me over three days of solid work to produce.  However, if you would like to build one yourself I’ll happily provide the Skectchup plans.  Just shoot me an email!  ian -at- birdwalkpress.com.

 

 

getting greasy, nbd

removable trays

roller tray detail

roller tray detail

without the top tray

Letterpress Hack: Distribution Roller on a Platen Press

Ian Johnson

For a while we’ve been noticing ghosting on our Old Style Gordon press.  It’s a problem that happens with large print areas where the ink is removed from the roller(s), and the ink disk can’t re-ink enough to cover the loss.  The rollers are then left with a “ghost” of the plate, causing the proceeding prints to end up printing lighter or patchy.  

 

Old Style Gordon default roller setup

 

Since our press is and oldie (but a goodie!), the roller design wasn’t the best thought out.  There are three roller arms, but the lowest arm baaaaarely gets far enough up the ink disk to actually be inked.  However, those two rollers alone often aren’t great at masking ghosting so we came up with a fix for bigger prints.

 

Distribution roller clip

Distribution roller clip

 

Enter the distro-clip!!  Using some brass rod from the amazing Kenyon Noble (we tend to have local hardware store pride in Montana), we bent a set of clips to hold a third roller on top of the two already in place.  This roller never touches the plate, but it serves an equally important role.  The extra surface area provided by a third roller helps to evenly distribute ink between the rollers, as well as cache ink from the ink disk for longer.  

 

ink distribution roller

 

It’s been amazing the difference this has made.  Prints that were previously coming out patchy or salty are now even and deeply colored.  This has been a great way to extend the capabilities of our old Gordon, and now it can keep up with the most pressing (no pun intended) of jobs.