Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hell On Wheels Pt2

In March 2014 I had a voicemail left on my phone from a person who said she was with a production company in Calgary Canada, getting ready to film a show called Hell onWheels and wanted me to call her back.
At first I thought it was a show about fast cars and assumed it was something like the Fast and Furious movie and dismissed it as a low priority and did not return the call until 7 days later.
When I finally called her back she informed me that Hell on Wheels was a television series about the roving tent city that accompanies the transcontinental railroad’s western expansion. The show was returning for its fourth season and that the script called for a fully stocked 1870’s letterpress/newspaper/job shop called the Cheyenne Leader, which actually printed its volume 1, #1 newspaper on September 19, 1867.
The Hell on Wheels crew brought me to Calgary for 4 days on the set. They had all the equipment in its Cheyenne Leader building.
My previous post details the equipment package that I put together and shipped to Calgary. In addition to my equipment the set director also bought a C&P, 8”x12” from New York and a Washington hand press (approximately 14”x34”) from Briar Press. The C&P was very rusty, almost frozen and had fallen over in shipping and the main shaft with the drive wheel had broken along with the feed table support arms.
My job was the get all the equipment cleaned, set up and printing correctly and arranged to approximate a working 1870’s newspaper shop. They gave me a crew of 2 or 3 guys who would clean move or build anything I needed to assist in the shop assembly.

The crew welded the broken shaft and feed table supports. They then set up the Washington press, which had been shipped in pieces. They then sourced the correct bolts for the Paragon Paper cutter, which were lost in transit. Built shelf’s and work tables…then they broke for lunch. These guys are good, I mean-real good, if only I could have these guys and their resources in my shop for just one day…

After I had all the presses & cutter back put back together I hand set type for jobs which I used to I set up and run on each press and get them into working order.
 On the Golding 4”x6” tabletop press I printed a business card for the Cheyenne Leader’s Editor.            On the 5”x8”Golding Pearl, treadle press I printed a post card size ad/bill for the Leader.                      On the 8”x12” C&P I set up and printed a card for the Palace Saloon’s bingo day, meat raffle.                On the Washington press I printed a No Credit sign for the Casino/Saloon and a Wanted for Murder poster.                                                                                                                                                       Finally I cut a stack of 'Paladin's' business cards on the Paragon Paper cutter to make sure it was true and parallel.

Ultimate Press Check. The last day I was there we had a large group of people do a walk through the shop to see how it all looked. The director,producer, writers, set decorator, property master and a few more showed up. I explained how letterpress worked, what each piece of equipment was, answered questions. Then I worked with 4 extras. Each one took a turn on the presses so that they could get comfortable running them and look like they knew what they were doing. These guys may be in the background shot working the equipment.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hell on wheels Pt 1

A fun couple of weeks at Drew Press. I was contacted by a production company who needed an antique letterpress shop, circa 1875 for season 4 of "Hell on Wheels"
Hell on Wheels is an American western television series about the construction of the first Transcontinental railroad across the United States. The series follows the Union Pacific Railroad and its surveyors, laborers, prostitutes, mercenaries, and others who lived, worked and died in the mobile encampment called "Hell on Wheels" that followed the rail-head west across the great plains

Here is the package I put together for them;

Furniture Cabinet

Pearl, Floor model, treadle driven, 5” x 8” press, 
Pearl, Table-top, hand operated, 4” x 6” press
Paragon, Paper cutter, guillotine style, hand operated
Hamilton type cabinet, single bank, 24 drawers, 18 w/type
Hamilton, double type cabinet, 48 drawers, most filled with type
Hamilton Furniture cabinet
Rouse, American lead & slug cutter
Rouse, Miter

Annie Walsh's first Press
A Golding 5" x 8"
1890, Golding Pearl OS #1
Previously owned by The
 Scott Free Press.

1890's Paragon paper cutter
Rescued from garage in
Osseo Minnesota

Type cabinets from Perfection Type,
Minneapolis  Minnesota

 Miscellaneous 'stuff' also needed in every letterpress shop.

Lock-up stone                       Line Gauge                                 Shop apron
Lock-up furniture                  Tympan paper                             Gauge pins
Leads & slugs                       Pressboard & packing                 2 hand composing sticks
Quoins, keys                         Paper, Cardstock                        Rouse Lead/slug cutter
Type planer & mallet             Wash up container                      Rouse miter
Twine                                     Notary seal stamp                      Ink knife
Sealing wax                           Ink brayer (2)  

They also have a Chandler & Price 8' x 12" Treadle driven press that is in rough shape and some type of proof press that I have not seen yet.

The crew at HoW is flying me up to Calgary on Monday 21st 2014 to act as a consultant. I will be putting the finishing touches on the equipment, to get it into running/printing shape. I will be working with the props people and possibly the actors to teach them how everything works and how to use the presses and type so they can pass as letterpress printers circa 1885.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

1885 Paragon Paper Cutter

January 2014. Paragon restoration. This cutter has been sold to Kim Burks of Omaha Nebraska.

Visit her site, watch the video to see the cutter in action...& buy a card or two.

Here is

This press is going to Monroe, Louisiana.
David bought this beauty for his Honey (S.B.)

Craftsman, Table top Letterpress. 8" x 12"

I hate to sell this press because good, strong, big table tops do not cross my path very often but I have some other projects that I need to fund.

This press is a brute….
One of the biggest and best table top presses ever made.
Bigger & stronger than a Pilot press
Perfect running condition. 
New rollers. 2 chase's. 
Mounted on a custom low-rider rolling work station, for easy leverage and feeding access.
Ready to print.....