Hard-To-Find Chases

Part of Metal Type’s Printing Section, here Phil discusses chases.

In regard to odd size or hard to find chases:   Let me remind everyone a perfectly serviceable chase can be made out of three quarter inch plywood.  Ordinary construction plywood is not all that suitable, but the multi ply plywood as is used by the companies that make steel cutting dies, works well.

Second item here.  These home made style plywood chases need not always be made with the identical inside dimensions of the original steel or perhaps cast  iron chases, as often this full inside dimension is not required to lock up a small form.

Third point here.   One need not necessarily use steel.  I have heard but never seen chases made of brass or bronze.  And I do suppose that other non ferous metal could be used as well.

Assuredly, these non ferrous metals are more expensive than steel, but if one happens to have bar metal in brass in their possession, then this becomes much more feasible.  I know of at least one case where this exact thing happened.  And if I remember correctly, this small chase was cast in a sand mould and then surface machined to a nice even surface.

Odd example given here: I watched on day as a worker for a Regina charity was building a fence.  He was using bolts to hold the boards together.  Very odd and really rather expensive as one dollar buys a small pail full of nails and only two bolts.  When I questioned this man, as to why he was using such expensive joinery methods, he replied,  ” we had the bolts on our shelf from a donation and we did not have any nails, besides I am half blind and can no longer use a hammer.”

Now each to his own.  What will work for one person, will not work for another.   I had in my possession three small chases that were cast iron and broken and then welded and then broken again and then brazed.  So, how did this happen?  How did this come about?   Who knows