Thursday, September 24, 2009

Squaring the Deckle

Preserving deckle edges and holding register is a common enough problem to warrant my suggesting the following method. Recently I was printing some invitations on a handmade from Cave Paper. By use of a steel perforating* rule I did some additional tearing in an attempt to square up one side of the sheet, as the two-color job I had in mind would present registration problems. To make sure the invitations fit the envelopes I decided to fold the sheets ahead of time. It then occurred to me that the fold presented a natural “horizon line.”

Pictured above is the setup I used to guide the sheets parallel to the fold.** I first lined the type up to a square setup sheet; then I lay parallel to the edge of the setup sheet (while in the guides) a piece of 72-point giant metal furniture.

I then used a triangle to create a guide-edge perpendicular to the side guide. By first bringing the folded sheet into the uppermost guide on the cylinder and then bringing the folded sheet back and flush to the long edge of the triangle I was able to get the type parallel to the fold. This was easily accomplished as the triangle was free floating, and I could easily slide it backwards and forwards along the piece of giant furniture. Then it was a simple matter of opening the sheet up and running it through the press. I found this quicker, easier (and more accurate) than lining up to a frisket overlay on a light-table.

To the right of the press in the composite photo is the completed invitation. Admittedly for all my talk of registration this is not very tight registration. Nevertheless, the two type blocks are parallel to each other, and the entire text block is imposed parallel to the fold so that it does not “slide” off the sheet.

I should think this technique could prove useful in bookwork, where one would want to preserve all the deckles. Certainly it would facilitate in ensuring that the text block remain perpendicular to the gutter.

A note on the type: the display type is Alladin (a digital incarnation of F. H. E. Schneidler’s Legende), a typeface commonly used in the past for “things Oriental.” The sans serif is FF Meta, a favorite of mine for its well balanced caps and small caps, and the ease with which oldstyle figures can be accessed through the Roman font. As they say on eBay: “Highly Recommend.” “Would Use Again.”

*In place of a tear bar I have found that a perforating rule can make an effective substitute. It is very sharp and can make a clean serrated edge; or by making small tears at a time, a wide, false deckle can be achieved. You have to be careful of the indentation that the rule may make, if you are too hasty. If this happens, slight dampening and use of a bone folder can be used to lessen it.

**You will note that the sheet is not under the grippers. This to show better the irregular fore-edge.