No one knows Murphy’s Law better than a printer. Rarely does a day in the print shop or studio go by without some hiccup or problem to be solved. And while most problems are a speed bump, there are those doozies that hit us, challenge us, and make us wonder why we ever thought printing should be our career choice.
A disaster story at PRESS, inspired by the Boxcar PRESS Blog on printing disasters and personal experience. Written by intern and up-and-coming printer, Marli LaGrone.
This blog is so highly relevant after our experience at PRESS: LetterPRESS as a Public Art Project on Friday, September 28 when we broke the press! Half way through the day at PRESS, I had finished carving away the second level of my reduction cut, mixed the perfect color, and had everything ready to go. As we put the ink on the rollers, we noticed that it wasn’t inking evenly. After a lot of tinkering, we realized that a screw just needed to be tightened to bring the right side of the roller back into place.
This simple fix soon turned into the biggest disaster I have yet to see at PRESS. Using all our might to turn this forty-something year old screw back into place, the three of us interns did the unspeakable. We broke the screw off in the press!
Covered in grease and guilt, we reluctantly called our instructor to confess. After careful assessment, it was determined that we would have to call a specialist to get the tiny piece of left over screw out of the machine before we could do anything else. Which at the time seemed like the worst thing that could happen. We’d have to wait for a specialist, with our instructor gone for the next three sessions, having no idea what that would even cost or how long it would take to get us back on track or how many make up sessions we’d have to have to finish our current project due next Friday. I just couldn’t image dealing with all of that backlash from a screw! So I decided to tinker around with it.
After at least an hour of straining and tinkering, I was able to twist the last bit of screw out of the machine with a pair of tweezers of all things.
In shock of the fix, we rejoiced! One fellow intern fell on the floor in relief as we called our instructor with the good news. 69 cents later after a speedy trip to the hardware store we had a replacement screw and a working, unharmed, evenly inking press again! We were also able to finish the run that we had started and clean the press before closing at 6pm.
Some days of printing just have little hiccups and speed bumps; others have giant, scary, looming roadblocks. Yet at the end of the day, we got the job done!