May 10, 2013

building our own bottle jack press

When we first started our printed cards, we used to print everything by hand. A little crazy we know, but we were just starting out and we were working with linoleum blocks. It was ok, because we weren't printing in very large quantities. 

Printing by hand using our fingers, a plastic "wooden" spoon and a barren.
That changed a few months ago. When we were getting ready to relaunch our press with our new name, we had to reprint all of our cards with our new name and logo printed on the back. We realized pretty quickly that we weren't going to be able to reprint all of our standing stock that we'd built up gradually by printing everything by hand. We weren't yet ready to invest in an actual press, mainly due to space restrictions but we needed something, and fast! We decided to build our own. 

L-R: Robin assembling the base, Robin threading the bolts through the top of the press, Rosemary tightening the hex nuts on the bolts, our friend Devin helping us cut down our bolts.
We looked up many different handmade presses and settled on a version of a bottle jack press using a 6-ton car jack with a few of our own modifications. We had help from some of our wonderful friends and family and managed to build it pretty quickly. 

L-R: Robin checking that everything is level, celebrating our success, our first iteration of the press.
We've made a few more modifications in the few months since we built the press, but overall, it's worked pretty well. It isn't the same as using a regular printing press, and large editions like the one we just finished working on definitely have their challenges, but overall we're pretty happy with it. 

The retrofitted press, our most recent iteration. Robin even painted our logo onto it!
At the very least, it will help us bridge the gap until we have the space for a traditional printing press setup. We've made some pretty cool new items that we've listed in the shop, why not come take a look at what we've been up to!



  1. Gosh. Lookit you two all grown up and making your own printing press. I love that it faithfully echoes the style of your prints. Looking forward to seeing it someday covered in fingerprints and encased in glass!