I shall not build an historic printing press…

Repeat after me: “I shall not build an historic printing press…”

I use this mantra to keep myself from diving into another crazy project. Most readers of this blog know that the history of printing and its practice is something that fascinates me. Stephen Fry once described books as “the building blocks of society”. I think he’s right about that. Our modern western civilisation started to develop when books became more widely available. Giving the possibility to share knowledge all across Europe. Leading to a vast rise in science and philosophy.

Last week I was researching some of the early makers labels. Tielke, Schelle, Stradivari, and the way they were made. The fonts, and sizes. And it started to itch again… Wouldn’t it be cool to make my own labels te same way? Well, ehm… And besides that, a printing press would be a great addition to our reenactment project… (Yes I am looking for an excuse)

Schelle Label

For now I just wanted to share these two short clips about two groups of students making a reconstruction of an old printing press. These are great projects. I love the approach, it’s very close to how I work when reconstructing historical instruments. There is much more involved than cutting and gluing wood. It’s studying the backgrounds that completes the project. Knowing why and how a maker made something, rather than just making something that looks like the real thing but doesn’t have anything in common with the original idea.

The other reason why I love this approach is that I missed it at most of the schools I went to. They always failed to combine theory and practice, favoring the first and ignoring the latter. The only school this isn’t true for was the ILSA lutherie school in Antwerp. Our teachers granted us the trust and confidence to find out things for ourselves.

I rather recommend that you visit this team’s website at bit.ly/UncommonReconstruction or visit their instagram page. Much inspiration there…


This entry was posted in Books, Documentary, History, Movies, Projects, Think different, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Woodworking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to I shall not build an historic printing press…

  1. kittybriton says:

    There was a time when I needed a letterpress. I had no metalworking tools, and very few skills. So what I built was a sturdy wooden frame to hold the platens while applying pressure with an automotive jack.


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