In mid 2006, I managed to find and purchase a New Hermes I-R series pantograph (circa 1960); after a few adjustments and some great advice from Jim Rimmer (Pie Tree Press), I finally set out to make my first set of wood type on end grain eastern maple wood.

I had templates cut in plexiglass that were based on Carol Twombly's Chaparral Bold typeface. These were then mounted on plywood and secured in the pantograph's template bed.

A large slab of eastern maple was then prepared and run through a double drum sander until it was close to type high (~0.940").

The top face of the large block was then sealed with epoxy, polished and cut into 10 and 12 pica strips. These strips where then placed into the pantograph and the characters where engraved onto the blocks in groups of 5 or 6. I've made a small video of this stage; find it here on YouTube.

Each character is finished by hand as needed, brought down to type high (+- 0.003"), then cut free from the block with a mitre saw. The individual blocks are then fully sealed with epoxy. The final set is approximately 130 lowercase letters.

Of course, the final step is to test them on press. Ryan Mah at Unison Letterpress was kind enough to volunteer his Chandler and Price for the first print run and I am happy to announce that they printed beautifully!


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