Printing Wooden Rulers

Part of Metal Type’s Printing Advice section, Phil describes a very unusual print job.

One of the most interesting jobs that we ever did was to print 10 thousand wood rulers that had an angle on one edge.

Job was printed in two colours front and one colour back.  Ruler was one quarter of an inch thick by  exactly 12 inches long.  The inches were printed on the angled portion.

My Dad had brass cuts made and for the inch part he had to mount the cut on a matching angle base.   He did all of this mounting just by eyeballing it. My Dad had a keen eye and a really mechanical mind.

12X18 C & P

We ran the job on a 12 x 18  C & P with the machine in the off impression, position. My Dad took the precaution of tying the impression lever down so that the pressman would not absentmindedly engage the lever and thereby ruin the cuts.

The wood rulers were milled locally on Saskatchewan birch. The job took a long time to run off as we did not want to do the job in for example batches of 1000 or so. This would have meant changing the form too many times; so the entire 10 thousand was run off in the first colour and then proceeded to the second and third runs.

We were not able to feed at any speed at all.  Just slowly plugging  along day after day.  The job was for the Province of Sask. Forestry Department and these rulers were handed out to advertise the Forestry part of Saskatchewan.

The only really hard part of running the job was that the  form rollers had to “bump,’’ over the inclined cut that was used to print the inches part.

I was in about grade seven or so at the time and hence really too young to be entrusted to feed this job.  But I did help a lot with the fetching and carrying.

This all took place in our  shop building in the early 1950s.