Ladies of Letterpress Conference: Type on the Cob Recap

Type PatternsA few weekends ago I spent my Saturday at Printer’s Hall in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa for the 2013 Ladies of Letterpress Conference (aka Type on the Cob). I’ve been down to Printer’s Hall close to a dozen times and I always get excited when I head down there. It’s full of inky, printer goodness, along with familiar faces I usually only see once or twice year.

This was the first time for the Ladies of Letterpress Conference to be held in Iowa (which was great for me). I signed up for workshops in type cutting and commercial printing on a platen press. 

Scott Moore

The type cutting workshop was held by Scott Moore of Moore Wood Type. I had met Scott and his daughter Erin last summer and have since added some of their wood type to my collection. This workshop covered a brief history of how wood type was produced and how his new type was created.

Top photo are patterns Scott uses to make his new type. Photo directly above is Scott showing us how the pantograph works.

Type Cutting

As part of the workshop, we got a chance to cut our own wood type using the pantograph machine (this type of machine was used to cut type for many, many years). I chose an end ornament that would typically be used on either end of a line in a poster. The pantograph traces the pattern piece and cuts a piece of type-high wood on the other side. Erin was nice enough to capture some “in-action” shots (Thanks Erin!).

Type Cutting

This photo shows a close-up of the pattern I was tracing. The majority of the type Moore Wood Type cuts are historical reproductions including this ornament. Wood type

The finished type turned out great! I can’t wait to print something with them!

After the type cutting workshop, I got a chance to print on one of the platen presses in Printer’s Hall. Kseniya Thomas of Thomas Printers was a great teacher for this workshop — she runs platen presses in her commercial shop (and does great work!). We covered registration issues, as well as inking, safety, and press work. With the C&P being my newest press, I definitely learned a lot in this one as well.


Beyond the workshops, it was great to see many old friends and gain some new ones. The organizers of Printer’s Hall and the Ladies of Letterpress grabbed one last photo on the Miehle (yes, they are sitting on the feed board of this press).

L-R Rick vonHoldt, Foolproof Press/Printer’s Hall Organizer; Kseniya Thomas, Thomas Printers/Ladies of Letterpress founder; Jessica White, Heroes and Criminals Press/Ladies of Letterpress founder; Jim Daggs, Ackley Publishing/Printer’s Hall Organizer; Steve Alt, Printer’s Hall Organizer.