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I have been busy the past couple of weeks, researching, obtaining materials and finally, building a working table-top etching press. I have posted a photoset over on Flickr showing the thing coming together and working:

The entire project is built of salvaged materials -rollers and gears from two, old, Epson dot-matrix printers, a cheap, bathroom counter top of 3/4" laminated particle board, a laminated, "hang-it-yourself" shelf, Rollerblade bearings, a pulley fan from an evaporative cooler and assorted lengths of all-thread, aluminum tubing and plumber's epoxy and polymer clay. Most of these items were scavenged at a local second-hand store called Deseret Industries - affectionately known as "The Mormon Thrift Store". This is, after all, Mesa Arizona, a major Mormon enclave with a very large temple. So, those guys do good work and fund outreach programs through their store. And I score big on quality off-cast material for little coin.

I have worked in the printing industry all my life but for two, brief attempts at "real jobs" (two years as a bicycle messenger in downtown Seattle and two more selling spurious nutritional supplements over the phone), not to mention a stint in my father's ice cream parlor when a mere tot of 13. Even then, the local newspaper editor contributed to my long and infamous career in the "Black Arts" by allowing me to sweep the pressroom until out, of pity - or state labor regulations - he had to put me on the payroll. And while still welcome at family functions, hopes that Jeffry would ever "make something of himself" were dashed that day. I still love the art and the industry of printing.

You can find plans to build your own press at Doug Forsythe's website. He'll charge you $25 Canadian for a set of plans. Looks like a good press, but I decided to wing it. I guess you could say I have a feel for what is needed in a press like this. I've built and rebuilt presses over the years, made fine paper to print on in those presses and taught paper- and print making classes. And even though my job by day is in a specialty print house, this press marks the return of Papiermeister to the art of fine print.

Heaven help us all... 

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