Presses: the Heidelberg Windmill (mainly). The Vandercook (occasionally).
Experience: 2 years on letterpress. 34 years printing generally.
Learning: I learned to print in Utica through a vocational school called the Career Development Center in 1978. Bob Lewis was my instructor and became a good friend of mine.
Print shop essentials: screwdriver, open-end wrench, ruler, scissors and the quoin key.
Best letterpress trick: build up the plate — underneath the tympan — to fill in voids. I use tissue paper, and sometimes regular backer paper (either a coated text weight paper or cardstock) to make the surface nice and even (which results in a more even impression).
Favorite part of letterpress printing: seeing the finished product and how it all comes together. You constantly get to see new ways designs can look — it’s almost like we’re creating pieces of art each day instead of just printing.
Least favorite part of letterpress printing: blind deboss. It’s hard to see the image and depth when you’re doing blind deboss, but with ink, you can get a better feel for things and there’s less room for error.
Music of choice when on press: classic rock, Genesis and Dave Matthews Band.
Proudest moment in printing career: I’m always proud when I’m able to make pieces with multiple colors look the way the designer envisioned.
Extracurricular activities: music — I’ve got a musical background and play the trombone and the sousaphone in the Island Band and the Brigadiers (senior drum corp.).