Do I need to take a class before using the presses at The Arm?

To use the presses in our public studio you must first take our introductory workshop or demonstrate your proficiency on the press you intend to use during a paid individual lesson.

How do I reserve time to use the presses?

Press time must be booked using the the calendar on our website. You can reserve a specific press in hourly blocks. Once you have taken a class and had your user account confirmed, you can book any of the presses in our public studio for $20 per hour. Each press has a letter on it- if you like a particular press, remember the letter! Payment is by cash or check at the end of your booking.

Be aware: All late arrivals will be billed from the start time specified in your booking. No-shows must be paid in full before a new appointment can be made. Bookings can be canceled or modified up to 48 hours before their start time. This must be done by editing them on the calendar. After that time there are NO cancellations or postponements. Studio users are responsible for paying for all the time they have booked on a press. If you finish before your booking is over we encourage you to experiment with the wood type and antique image blocks in our collection. 

What do I need to bring with me when I print at The Arm?

You will need to bring your own paper, photopolymer plates and/or ideas for type projects, plus a can of Van Son ink.
We maintain a cooperative ink supply of Van Son inks from their Rubber Base Plus system. If you would like to use this co-op and use these inks all you need to do is contribute one 1 pound can from this Van Son ink system and bring it in with you the first time you print. We will add your name to the co-op list and you can use any of the ink in the communal supply. Please see the list below to see what colors are currently running low. You can order ink from the “Rubber Base Plus” ink system from Van Son. This ink co-op is provided as a service to our users and is for printing in The Arm's studio only.

If you prefer to use your own inks you may do so, but you must store them at home, and you will not have access to the communal ink supply unless you contribute to it. 

Inks Available For Use in the Co-Op:

  • Black - WE HAVE ENOUGH BLACK INK TO LAST 200 YEARS
  • Opaque White
  • Transparent White
  • Reflex Blue
  • Brilliant Blue
  • Process Blue
  • Pantone Orange
  • Pantone Warm Red
  • Rubine Red
  • Rhodamine Red
  • Red 032
  • Pantone Green
  • Amazon Green
  • Forest Green
  • Pantone Yellow
  • Pantone Violet 
  • Pantone Purple 

NOTE: If you do not bring ink it will cost $45 to join the ink co-op. This money will be used to order a can of ink for the co-op supply in your name.

What if I want to print from the type collection at The Arm?

Those who print in our studio are welcome to compose and redistribute type projects any time during our posted open hours without a press booking, as long as there are paid bookings on the calendar at the same time. If you'd like to store a project for printing or redistribution at a later date, we require that a $50 check be left as a deposit. This is to insure that type is properly put away at the completion of a project. This check will not be banked unless 30 days have passed and the type has not been put away. After 30 days, the type will be redistributed by our staff and the check deposited. If you set type, print, and redistribute your type in a single day you do not need to have a check on file. If you fail to bring a check and want to store a project, you must leave the deposit in cash.

Printers interested in working with type will be assigned a storage galley for the duration of their project. They can empty their galley and request the return of their check or cash deposit at any time. 

Where can I get photopolymer plates made?

Boxcar Press are the recommended supplier for photopolymer plates made from your own digital files. Our bases are STANDARD HEIGHT and we reccommond the use of their KF95 plates. Order plates at Boxcarpress.com.

Anything else I should keep in mind?

Yes! Please don't forget that the Vandercooks need a half an inch for their grippers at one end of your sheet. If your paper is trimmed to size and you don’t have this margin beyond your artwork you are going to be in trouble!

Available Supplies:

Gauge Pins:

Those using a C&P Pilot press will need a set of three gauge pins. You are responsible for having your own set.  Gauge pins can be purchased at The Arm ($15 for a set of three) or from American Printing Equipment in boxes of a dozen (see link below).

Coasters:

The Arm keeps a small inventory of packs of drink coasters in a variety of sizes and shapes. Inquire for current availability of coasters, gauge pins, and other supplies.

Resources

Letterpress Information

  • Briar Press – online letterpress discussion, classifieds, museum…
  • VandercookPress.info – Paul Moxon’s website on the history and evolution of the Vandercook press
  • Letterpress Commons – An ever-growing letterpress information site created by our friends at Boxcar Press

Services and Supplies 

  • Boxcar Press – The best photopolymer plate making service there is.
  • Amax Printing – Amax can cut your printing to size once you have printed if you include cutting marks in your plate. They are a block from The Arm.
  • Owosso Graphic Arts – magnesium cuts (print blocks) and custom foil stamping blocks. We use their type-high wrong reading magnesium mounted dies for the Kwikprint foil stamping press.
  • Van Son Holland Inks – Rubber Base Plus letterpress printing inks
  • NA Graphics – letterpress supplies and Vandercook press parts in Colorado. Fritz is the man!
  • American Printing Equipment & Supply – letterpress supplies - gauge pins, tympan, pica rulers, ink knives, etc.
  • Letterpress Things – John Barrett’s warehouse full of used presses, type & supplies in Massachusetts. Check his site for open dates and plan a visit. It's worth the trip!

Paper

  • Reich Paper – Brooklyn based Reich Paper (pronounced "Reesh") produce a 100% cotton paper called Savoy that is an excellent choice for stationery products like wedding invitations. Contact them for a sample book.
  • French Paper – French are a small paper company with some really interesting papers. Their mill is powered by it’s own hydroelectric plant (since 1922!) and they work with recycled content. They also have really amazing sample books!
  • Shulman Paper – Shulman are paper vendors located in the Manhattan. They stock Crane Lettra and can cut it down for you.