Thursday, January 29, 2009
You Have A Line Gauge, Don't You?
I studied typography with Harry Duncan at The University of Iowa Typographic Laboratory. I was at an opening once when a visiting printer asked him how he held such good registration. Harry replied, “You have a line gauge, don’t you?”
Getting the form square on the sheet to begin with is the key to perfect registration. Sometimes, though, the printed form, whether you’re measuring points, agates or inches, falls vexingly between the marks.
I use a method, which providing that the sheet is square, or at least reasonably square, aids considerably. And that is to butt the side-guide edge of the printed sheet against a straight edge and then to lay a triangle across the page, also butted up against the straight edge. You will see a slight shadow immediately below the edge of the triangle. This shadow is razor sharp. Then move the triangle up or down so that the shadow falls across a baseline. Straight away you will see if the baseline is parallel to the shadow.
This method is especially handy for aligning a plate on a magnetic base. Then it is a simple matter of moving the base up and down, or left and right, on the press bed.
Once the form is parallel to the top edge of the sheet backing up the second side to it should be fairly easy. However, if the first run is canted, backing up to it, or registering a second color to it, can prove far more difficult.