A week out from the opening and it's feeling a lot like the end of a pregnancy: emotional, exhausted, irrational, scared, excited, inevitable, on the brink... If I pulled a tarot card right now it would probably be the Tower. I feel like my judgment is unreliable, yet I have been impulsively making some major decisions.
For example, I bought a printing press this week. Since I don't have anywhere of my own to put a ton of dirty old cast iron, Neil said I could move it into Te Kowhai Print Trust. I didn't have time to check with anyone else, so I'm hoping no-one gets cross with me. A couple of members came by today to see for themselves the rumoured new press, and seemed to agree that my impulsive rescue from the scrappers fate was a good idea.
Here it is coming off the truck shrouded in baby blue. Shifting it a dozen blocks across town was a major logistical exercise involving joists and hoists and a big truck and a hand truck and the fork lift pictured above. The man on the left was the amazingly good humoured truck driver who responded to each new challenge with equanimity. The fork lift driver never cracked a smile.
The Chandler and Price Old Style (C&P) is fitted with an relatively recent electric motor which is surplus to my requirements (I like letterpress because it is slow). The C&P makes the Arab look very small and clean in comparison, but once the belt and motor attachments (visible as the white hose and the wheel on the far right, above, and the small wheel at the back, below) are removed, it should be much more sleek and balanced looking. Machines in those days were designed to be elegant as well as indestructible.
Don't worry, I won't be abandoning my beloved Arab for the new big boy in my life, even if he does have a brake (the Arab requires skill, strength and sheer nerve to try and stop mid flow). As the C&P has been used exclusively for die cutting for at least 13 years, I will probably stick to cutting on the C&P and keep printing on the Arab, at least for a while. But eventually I will put the rollers back on and let the C&P have a print run and see how it goes
Meantime I look forward to researching its provenance (Murray thinks it was part of the Northern Advocate plant -our local daily paper- and apparently they have very good archives) . I haven't managed to exactly date this model yet but the Old Style was made 1884-1912 (after that C&P made New Style recognisable by their straight spokes instead of the curvacious ones like mine has).