2020 Wayzgoose Anthology

Well, this year’s Wayzgoose in Grimsby had to be cancelled because, well, you know why… But the Anthology was still produced!

We haven’t received our copy yet (I asked the GPAG to hold it for now rather than paying to ship it), but, as it is officially released, I thought I would post our submission, which is included somewhere in the book:

All the type was cast on our Monotype composition caster. The Logo and QR code are photopolymer plates we made ourselves. The printing was done on our Challenge MA-15 proof press. The four dots around the QR code look neat but they’re actually the heads of the tacks I had to use to hold the plate to its block, since the double-sided tape I tried using doesn’t stick to endgrain wood.

More workshop Tour: The Myford ML7 lathe

In addition to my Sherline mill, the other main machinist’s tool I have is a Myford ML7 7×20″ lathe.

The lathe is fitted with the Quick-Change Gearbox to allow selection of longitudinal feeds and thread cutting without having to fool around with change gears, although switching from coarse feed (for threading) and fine feed (for turning) does require flipping one oily gear under the left-hand cover. If I ever want to do metric thread pitches I’ll have to modify the gearing as well. It has three regular spindle speeds, and three more slower ones in back-gear.

It is fitted with an Aloris-style ‘AXA’ size quick-change tool post, and I have about a dozen tool holders for it. The lathe has a topslide but that is not fitted in this photo, instead using a rigid toolpost mount which I made.

For work holding I have a 4-jaw independent chuck (shown in photo), a 3-jaw scroll chuck that needs tuning (it is very bell-mouthed), a faceplate, and a drive plate for turning between centers using a drive dog, and a traveling steady rest that attaches to the saddle just to the left of the cross-slide. For the tailstock, I have some dead and live centers and a Jacobs chuck for drilling.

I have mounted a binocular microscope on the cross-slide which lets me see and position things to under a thousandth of an inch. Not shown in the photo, the objective now has an LED ring light which brightly illuminates the work area, even when I’m not using the microscope. The only problem is that the microscope wants to be a bit too close to the work to focus and so bumps into the chuck jaws or the tool post. I would like to get a Barlow lens to extend its object distance just a bit; I don’t want too much extension because that also reduces the magnification and makes the eyepieces higher.

The microscope itself was part of an ultramicrotome which I bought at a University of Waterloo surplus equipment sale. These sales are neither as interesting nor as frequent as they used to be as they now seem to be dominated by superseded computer equipment rather than unusual technical items.

The lathe is mounted on a 5/16″ steel plate on top of a pair of Rousseau cabinets on casters. The two cabinets are bolted together and so form a suitably rigid base for the lathe, and contain most of the tooling and accessories for the lathe. The cabinets are actually a couple of feet longer than the lathe, leaving an open horizontal surface which unfortunately collects junk, dirt, and metal offcuts.

Starter Papermaking Kits information now online

I’ve added a post to our Products section giving some details on the starter Papermaking Kits we sell. There are photos of the kit contents, as well as a rundown on other readily-available things you would have to supply beyond what’s in the kit.

Mobility Cradle for a Vandercook 320 Press

Some time ago, we acquired a Vandercook 320 proof press in need of some repair. So far, about all I’ve done is clean off years of dried ink under the location of the inkplate and chase out the mouse nest in the cylinder. The press has pretty much otherwise acted as an elephant in the room, collecting random junk on top and being generally in the way.

The problem is that this is a very heavy press, and it really has no lifting points. The space between the legs is occupied by a cabinet of shelves, and the bottom of this cabinet is too high off the ground to use it for lifting the press with something like a pallet jack. More importantly, the cabinet is not strong enough to use as a lifting point, as evidenced by the bent area from previous lifting attempts.

Up until now, the press has been sitting elevated about 5 inches on wood blocks, since that was the only way I could park it. The press came with some scrap steel channel, which could be used to move it, but only with the press elevated so the pallet jack could fit under the channels and the channels under the press feet.

The channel was fairly heavy stuff: It measured 5×1¾″ and is officially designated as C5×6.7. After some measuring and planning I found that I could use these two pieces of channel to make a proper cradle for moving the press.The channel was cut to give a long piece that fits between the press legs, shorter pieces that extend under the feet, and yet shorter pieces to use as a vertical spacer. The pieces under the feet were notched on one side so they don’t contact the legs, just the feet of the press. The spacers are just tall enough, and just short enough, that our pallet jack can roll under the cradle. I welded the parts all together and installed them under the press, and they work great.

The cradle in place, with the press raised by the pallet jack, so the “temporary” blocking can now be removed.

The press on the ground at last! The cradle only adds about 0.2″ (5mm) to the height of the press.

I’ve also posted a YouTube video about this cradle.

When we finally get this press fixed up and operational we will be selling it.

Challenge Proof Press dead-bar stops

As with most proof presses, for quick printing jobs where absolute alignment is not essential the type on the bed of our Challenge MA-15 press is usually locked up lengthwise using the quick lockup bar supplied with the press. This bar uses friction against the top and bottom rails to stay in position, and presses mostly in the center of the forme.

Dead-bar pins installed. The quick locking bar is to the right, and the galvanized surface to the left is the type-high plate.

For a more accurate lockup, which keeps the lines of type straighter and better aligned, one uses what is called a dead-bar. This is a solid bar running between the rails of the press bed, and the type is then locked up in the usual way between the head bar and dead bar using quions and furniture. On our Challenge MA-15 proof press, the dead bar itself presses against a pair of pins, about 1/2″ (12mm) diameter, next to either rail. The pins can be removed, which can assist at times with transferring the forme (by sliding it) between the press bed and a galley. Removing the pins also makes it slightly easier to remove the type-height plate which raises the bed from galley height to type height.

On our press, the front pin is a slip fit into a blind hole in the press bed, and is is easily removed. For some reason, though, the rear pin fits into a through hole, where it is a tight fit (to prevent falling through, I suppose), meaning it is difficult to remove. Taking it out requires reaching under the press bed with a hammer to tap the pin out, a good job for a contortionist but not for anyone else. As you hammer from below, you need a hand above to catch the pin when it pops out; otherwise, it pops up and drops back into the hole, jamming itself in again. At least the pin has an extended neck so you don’t need a drift or punch as well.

The original pins above the replacements. The holes in the bed were just far enough from the rails to allow room for a shouldered pin.

I’ve made replacement pins that are a loose fit in both holes. Instead of straight-sided original pins, these have a shoulder to limit how far they drop into the holes, and are easy to lift out when desired. Now all I need is a dead-bar, but that’s pretty simple to make.

Pigment testing

We’re running low on the stock of some of our pigments. As is often the case for us, we purchase such products so rarely that information from the last purchase is essentially useless. The supplier has almost certainty purged any record of our previous purchase and contact information, and frequently the supplier has undergone some sort of reorganization, division sale to another company altogether, or policy change that makes reordering “another of the same” impossible.

Because of this, we have to reach out to our current slate of appropriate suppliers to see what they have to offer. In this case we would be looking for an aqueous-dispersed red pigment, colour index PR112. The colour index code only identifies the fundamental chemical nature of the pigment, and other factors (e.g. crystal structure) can have profound effects on the final result of applying the pigment.

As such, then, we have to obtain a sample of pigment from the supplier, and use it in test batches to see how it compares with our existing product. We can never expect a perfect match, but it has to be close enough that our customers only have to make minor adjustments if they want to reproduce a paper colour they’ve made before.

Here is an array of the test sheets from part of our run with R112:

The numbers across the bottom indicate the pigment dose relative to the dry pulp weight. They are actually a bit of a fudge, since we measure the pulp by weight and the pigment by volume, but by assuming the pigment weight 1g per ml, you can express the dose as a percentage.

One thing to note is that the 11% and 3.3% sheets are pretty much equally dark. This is because I was relying on the sizing (applied at the usual recommended rate of 15ml/kg i.e. “1.5%”) to act as a retention agent, and the heavy pigment doses overwhelmed that retention ability.

Although it doesn’t show so well in the photo—I should have used better lighting—but most of the sheets in the upper row are visibly darker than their mate in the lower row. To get objective data, I scanned each sample sheet on my flatbed scanner (with a white frame to help prevent auto-exposure issues) and used the histogram feature of my photo-edit program to evaluate the lightness. In selecting where to take the histogram, I would use most of the area of the sheet but would exclude dark or light spots caused by dirt or knots of pulp that did not pick up the pigment. I only used the Green channel for this, since the Red channel would have been pretty much 100% reflective for all samples, and Blue is not as complementary to the pigment as Green is.

Analyzing the data indicated that our current pigment stock was 1.7-2 times stronger than the new sample pigment, that is, one would have to use 1.7-2 times the amount of the new pigment to get the same colour. I ran another sample run with just the new pigment, using double the dose (0.022%, 0.066%, 0.22%, 0.66%, etc) and have found the results to be very close matches to the samples with half the dose of our current pigment.

Thus it appears that if we were to go forward with this product (and we don’t seem to have many alternatives), we would have to recommend using 1.7 to 2 times the amount of pigment to obtain the same results as with our previous pigment.

Between the need to use more pigment, and the inevitable higher prices of any new stock, we hope this doesn’t result in too much sticker shock for our customers.

Paper Drill (Hole Punch)

We’ve added a product page for the paper drill we sell, and it includes a link to a YouTube video showing its use.

Monotype Pump Stroke Counter Tweak

Although I thought I had the pump stroke counter on my Monotype working, I recently did some casting and found it still wasn’t counting properly. Fiddling with the magnet and sensor position didn’t seem to help.

The job probably could have been easier attaching an ohmmeter to the sensor, so I could positively determine if it was off all the time (too far away) or on all the time (too close). That would require dismounting the counter, opening up its case, not to mention fetching an ohmmeter, and that all seemed like too much work…

Rather than just poking at the problem and hoping for improvement I put some thought into it.

The sensor is cylindrical and has nothing to index its rotational position. This would tend to imply that it responds to axial magnetic fields only (or, more precisely, to the axial component of any magnetic field). In order to make it count properly, I had to orient things so the axial field was zero at one or the other end of the piston stroke.

The new magnet and orientation

One way to accomplish this was to use a rod-shaped magnet, and place it sideways so the sensor points right at its midpoint at the idle position of the piston. This places the sensor in a field that is completely parallel to the axis of the magnet, and so perpendicular to the axis of the sensor, leaving no axial field in the sensor regardless of the strength of the magnet or proximity of the sensor.

As soon as the pump crosshead rises, the field of the magnet starts to curve inward towards the pole, and this produces at least some axial field in the sensor. Thus it is just a matter of placing the sensor close enough that this axial field is strong enough to trip the sensor.

This is a big improvement over the original disk magnet, where the field was almost axial to the sensor all the time and the system had to rely on changing distance (of which there was little) to switch the sensor. Hopefully the diagram below illustrates this better. The counter now works much more reliably.

Diagram showing interaction of sensor and magnet field

Legend: Black: Magnet, Red: Field, Yellow: Sensor, Dark Red: Field at sensor tip, Pink: Axial field at sensor tip Note how, with the disk magnet (left), the axial field doesn’t change much when the pump operates making it difficult to position the sensor to distinguish between the two pump positions. With the magnet turned (right) the field changes from zero to some non-zero amount which, by adjusting the sensor distance, is strong enough to trip the sensor.


Papermaking Workshop March 28th cancelled

We have cancelled the papermaking workshop we had scheduled for March 28th as part of general efforts to reduce the speed of transmission of COVID-19. Most of the participants who had signed up either felt they were part of a vulnerable population, or were extra-busy because of the epidemic.

We will pick a new date for this workshop once the epidemic has subsided and things get back to normal.

42nd Grimsby Wayzgoose cancelled

Unfortunately, the upcoming Wayzgoose scheduled to be held at the end of April at the Grimsby Public Art Gallery has been cancelled. This is part of efforts to reduce the spread of COVIDS-19. Although the threat of this disease might well have been cleared up by the end of April, there is no way of being sure, so the organizers felt it was best to cancel now rather than put more cost and effort into an event that might not take place.