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Press check for Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 2

October 27, 2019

On Wednesday, October 23, 2019 we did the press checks for Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 2 at Ampersand Printing in Guelph, Ontario

This is me looking on as pressman Dion lays down a "pull" of the jacket off the press. Note these run "three-up". We're interested in matching the CPR maroon to that on the previous volume (a copy of which we have on hand for reference). We're also interested in the right ink density of the black.

Our dust jackets are laminated with a plastic overlay to preserve their shine and make them robust (you want them to look as-new a decade or two from now!). You'll notice here we are comparing a press sheet from Volume 1, which is a better comparison than the finished jacket on the book. That's because the plastic laminate darkens the appearance... so we need to compare Volume 2 to its predecessor Volume 1 before the coating is applied.

My son Spencer "signs off" on the press sheet we're happy with, after Dion "dialled in" the ink levels to where we wanted them

I had signed my name previously. After Spencer, my other son Duncan affixed his name to the press sheet.

The pressmen at Ampersand keep these signed press sheets in a drawer nearby so they can retrieve them for reference

We print several jobs per year at Ampersand, and it's good to get to know the individuals involved. Personal rapport with the printer is a large factor in the quality of the books.

Here's a bird's eye view of the mammoth printing press at Ampersand

I ascended to the loft to capture this image of the Mitsubishi machine that creates the limited-edition book you are about to enjoy through the cold winter nights! That's pressman Dion watching the jackets come off (at the rate of between two and three per second). At the far end, his press feeder (Andrew) loads paper (measuring 25 x 38 inches) and changes off plates.

Next up, we ran press form 2A to determine the optimum level of black ink for the text pages of Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 2

There are 192 pages in the book, which breaks down to twelve "signatures" (mini books that are stitched together at the bindery). The 25" x 38" mill sheet allows us to print our pages "eight up". That amounts to the 16 pages, once the press sheet is folded three times and trimmed at the bindery.

I mentioned rapport with your printer being important above. Pressman Dion (pictured) knew this book was coming on his worksheet. Two days previous, then, he installed a new blanket on the printing press, knowing we'd be in for press approvals and wanted the best quality possible. That's an example of this fine business based in Ontario, Canada going over and above the call of duty for a long-time customer.

We strive for consistency across all of our limited-edition railway books

Here's me finalizing the black ink levels (this is press form 10B), by comparing Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 2 to its predecessor Volume 1. My friend Jim Brown did the pictures for both of these books, and you'll be impressed by the stellar quality of reproduction he achieved for the John Rehor, Don Wood and Herb Harwood images contained within!

What's next?

The finished press sheets for Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 2 are on their way to Beck Bindery, where they will be sewn, trimmed and glued into the book that will begin appearing in readers' mailboxes early November!

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