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Some printing specifics on Steam Scenes of Stratford

May 24, 2017

Steam Scenes of Stratford went on the printing press yesterday.

When we arrived at 10 a.m., the pressman (Mike) and his assistant (Jason) had already done the first “pull” of the cover. This is printed on 16-point coated gloss stock. That’s an increase in thickness from the 12-point card used on Steam at Washago and King’s Highways & Steam Trains (vol. 1). We wanted to make sure the red and yellow on the title herald—which appeared on Canadian National steam locomotive tenders—was just the right density. That was accomplished after some adjustments and a couple more pulls. Then we signed off on the approval and the Mitsubishi press went to work.

Next up was the approval for one of the interior “signatures” (a 16-page portion of the book accomplished by folding the press sheet three times). To a pressman, this is known as the “guts” of the book. As with all my publications, we go with nothing but the best. In this case, the interior pages of your copy of Steam Scenes of Stratford are printed on 80 lb. Endurance Gloss Text. Knowing many of my readers personally, I took the press form from the first “pull” and checked it under a variety of interior lighting conditions. For comparison, I also viewed the pages of Steam Memories of Lindsay.

Back at the press, I asked Mike to back the black ink density off a few percentage points. I pointed to a few pictures—such as that of Big Shop switch engine 7157 or condemned Mogul 849, and Northern Ontario District heavy Pacific 5298 coming onto train 28 in the early morning sun. We arrived at the understanding that detail in steam locomotive running gear and such, not to mention all the appurtenances around a steam era railway yard, are the priority. If it was a question of washing out the sky a bit in favour of more locomotive detail, I told Mike to go for it.

We did a couple more pulls after reducing black ink density. The press form reached the perfect balance to our eye, under lighting conditions similar to those in your home. Then my sons and I signed off on the approval for the “guts” of Steam Scenes of Stratford. The humming of the printing press started again and the book was back in production. For the remainder of the interior page press forms, the pressmen would replicate the appearance of the one we had approved. These men are the best in the business, and they leave nothing to chance. Every hundred or so sheets off the press they would do another pull and scrutinize it. That’s to ensure the quality of the book you have pre-ordered, the one you’ve waited several months for.

From here, then? This is Wednesday. Today, Steam Scenes of Stratford will be folded, stitched and trimmed. By the end of the day, or tomorrow at latest, the job will be packed in cartons and on the way to our doorstep. By Friday, latest, we’ll be shipping copies of the new book (and any others ordered in the process) to pre-publication buyers. That means our readers will begin discovering stay-flat envelopes containing Steam Scenes of Stratford, so fresh they can smell the ink, early next week. We will get all the pre-ordered copies out the door in three or four business days.

As I mentioned earlier, for those interested in yet ordering a copy of Steam Scenes of Stratford. In very early June, I will be heading overseas on a research trip which will consume almost the entire month. As such, no copies of Steam Scenes of Stratford will be shipped after June 2. This is an exhortation to get an order in right away if you anticipate wanting one or more copies which you haven’t already ordered. Thereafter, we will not process any new orders until the very end of June.

The only chance you would have to obtain a copy (of any book) in June, if you haven’t ordered from us, might be through one of a few select retailers. But their ordering quantities and stock on hand will be out of our control (have no fear, though, I will impart the urgency on them in the next couple of days as well).

Click here to purchase one or more copies of Steam Scenes of Stratford. And consider throwing in one or more additional copies, plus copies of any other books still in print. That way, you’ll have reading material for those balmy days sure to come in June!

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