Monday, September 6, 2010


A call came through late Sunday morning. Ben Jones, an engraving & print zealot, breathed excitedly into the phone, "got a Chandler & Price for you if you want it-just have to pick it up." "Uhhh, okay." I reply.

Three hours later, Ben introduced to the head of the KC Ink & Paper society, Calvert Guthrie. He was providing the trailer & outfitted us with all kinds of pry bars, leather hammers, beams & straps. As he rifled through drawers & boxes, tossing us random objects("might as well take that - might need it."), he reminded me of a mix between Hunter Thompson & a vampire hunter. We didn't know what half the tools did, but we suspected we would understand when the time was right. Oh, and yes, it was going to get ugly.

The deal entailed removing an old-style Chandler & Price platen press from someone's house in the Westside. We learned that the original owner of the press was the sole printer for the latino community in the mid-century. His son took it over, and now he was ready for the heavy heavy beast to be out of his house. Simple enough, right?

We called a few friends, and snagged a few to help us lift something heavy and be enjoying a cold beverage by the time the sun went down. We measured the door:27 inches. We measure the press:way wider than 27 inches... What we though would be a simple, yet ridiculous job, turned into a slightly more complicated, ridiculous job. That said, the friends we recruited were smart, & found reasons to go & be free elsewhere.
Crammed into this little basement, complete with bucket to catch water a leak, & a pretty sweet virgin Mary sculpture, was this beast of a press. We began to embrace the greasy metal, sweating and grunting. Ben's zeal is the reason this is going down. The prospect of taking the press apart, down to it's essential frame lit up his eyes in the name of science. I was there to help and use whatever brute force was necessary to get the job done.
Long story short, we got the press out one door, down two steps, across a room, up four steps into a trailer, and into our new shop in less than twelve hours over two days. Using the might of Ben, myself & the beast, Mark Beard(as well as some ancient Egyptian technology), the press is ready for a severe cleaning, which will reveal some lovely pinstriping on clean iron.
Now begins the meticulous process of assembling the machine, back to its former glory. We have named the press Gabriel, for that was the name of the original owner/operator. We will love, cherish, use & protect it.
Pictures to follow

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