It is with a heavy heart that I inform the letterpress community that Bill Jones passed away on November 6, 2012. He was comfortable and not in pain.
Bill felt that Virgin Wood Type was his legacy. So he dedicated most of his time since his diagnosis to training me to make wood type. Most of the type that has shipped over the past few months was made by me, Geri McCormick, Bill’s wife. I am determined to continue the manufacture of wood type.
I have found this wonderful young man who reminds me of Bill of yesteryear. So Derek and I are working together to continue to make wood type.
I survived the brain surgery in April. I had quite a large tumor removed from my brain in late April and stayed in the hospital for 9 days. Upon release I was able to walk and talk and do everything almost normally. Really a remarkable recovery. At least for the short term I had plenty of energy to work on making type to fill some of the back orders that I was terribly behind on. During May and June I was able to fill around a dozen orders that had been purchased by some of my new customers. I thank everyone for their patience and understanding during my slow resurrection.
I still have a few orders to make and I intend to work through those orders during the next month or so.
Last week my web site was severely hacked and after a little despair and a lot of floundering I have the site running in a basic way again. I am not sure if I will ever recover everything but the site limps along.
I restored the ordering process to most of the pages and am willing to take a couple of orders now. I think the shopping cart is working again, so if you are interested in ordering something, please give it a try.
Since I make all of the type to order, it will take a while to fill new orders. Depending on my ongoing cancer treatments, I must warn you that it will probably take a few weeks to make any new orders. If anyone orders a new font or more, I will send a personal email to let you know when to expect anything.
I would like to thank everyone who is supporting me throughout this period.
Easter Sunday I had to go to the emergency room of the University of Rochester Medical Center because my health was deteriorating. They immediately put me in intensive care and 2 days later removed a massive tumor from the right front of my brain. I spent a total of 9 days in recovery and was then released. The surgery was very successful in that I can still think and talk normally and physically I am intact.
It is all very early in the process but I have been diagnosed with cancer in my brain and cancer in my lungs. What the future will bring, I do not know at this point. A series of treatments is being designed but it is still too early to tell what will happen next and subsequently.
I have been struggling lately to fill back orders and generally to keep up with everything. I fell behind in early fall when I accepted a huge order from an art school that was beginning a printing school and needed type to get going. That order took me a solid 6 to 8 weeks of work to make the type and ship all of it.
In the meantime orders continued to come in and I fell at least 6 weeks behind receiving an order and then making the type. At the same time I was starting to become less efficient at getting around and weaker when it came to the work involved in making type.
At the same time I started losing track of things such as orders and vast amounts of time. I didn’t realize it at the time but I think my mental condition was deteriorating. I have a bunch of orders to fill that have been paid for and people are waiting for. Until I am solid on making the back orders, I need to stop taking new orders for a couple of weeks.
I am in the midst of sorting everything out and I will try to contact everyone who I owe things to and will establish a realistic schedule to complete each order.
So, as much as I regret it, I must stop taking new orders all thoughts of new typefaces and other projects and try to get back on track. At this point, I am still able to work and I think I have enough raw wood to complete the orders that I have to make.
I anticipate losing time to medical treatments in the near future, but so far I am able to work. I may share additional health information as time moves on.
I have had several requests for calendar fonts so I have created a new set of patterns for a condensed gothic calendar font. Each font consists of the numbers 1-31, 23/30, 24/31, and 7 blanks.The 5 line calendar measures 7.5″ x 4.25″ when set solid. I am offering 5, 6, 8, and 10 line versions. Additional size information is on the Calendar Font order page.
This font is revival of a font that first appeared in wood in 1878.
Mansard Extra Bold is from the Wooden Type font collection and the patterns were produced directly from the digital font drawn by Jordan Davies. The digital version of Mansard is available from myfonts.com.
I am making the Caps and Figures in 6, 8, 10, and 12 lines. The lowercase is not available at this time.
Aldine is another subcategory of Antique. William H. Page patented the design around 1870; Aldine Expanded appeared in 1872. The serifs are significantly heavier than the stems and conspicuously bracketed. Despite its impractical width – some characters, like the capital W, are more than twice as wide as they are tall – the Aldine faces were used extensively in poster printing throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century. The strong figure/ground relationship inherent to this design creates a wonderfully dynamic tension on the page. Sadly, my capitals only font is incomplete. Missing B, D, E, H, L, M, R, S, and Y.
Well, David, soon you will have your missing characters.
Here is a link to the Aldine Expanded page from the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection web site.
I made a 5 line proofing version from the Aldine Expanded patterns. The form includes all of the characters in the typeface as it will be offered by Virgin Wood Type.
I totally enjoy the first inking of any of the wood type that I make. That is the time that I can really see the typeface that I have spent hours making. Since most of the type that I make is sent to customers as uninked “virgin” type, it is gratifying to see.
Sometimes it even prints well on the first pass. It really depends on the packing of the press and how good or bad the tympan sheet is. Often I have to makeready a couple of weak (short) characters. I usually use 1 piece of masking tape on the bottom of the weak characters to bring up the height.
I’m trying to get a handle on making replacement characters for people’s wood type collections. Here is a movie I made this weekend with Paul Dodd. Watch the video and then read on.
I had several email exchanges with David Wolske about pricing wood type. One time was just after I first started trying to sell wood type on this site, and how a single font in 4 sizes has 60 prices online. I figured out how to load pricing into the store, but it is not much fun.
The conversation drifted to replacement characters. I said I was nowhere near ready to publish pricing. Too many unknowns. Continue reading →
Virgin Wood Type in association with the P22 Type Foundry announces the release of a completely new wooden version of the Czech Modernist font Preissig Scrape. The digital version of Pressig Scrape and the Czech Modernist font set will be available from the P22 Type Foundry at a 25% discount for the month of March 2011. Preissig Scrape is an entirely new typeface that has never been offered in wood before. What follows is a brief description of how I converted the digital font to the master patterns that I use to cut the wood type.
In addition to working from the American Wood Type patterns, and there are many more to come, I have wanted to bring some truly new type into the mix. Rich Kegler of P22 Type Foundry and Western New York Book Arts Center has offered up one of his fonts. Enter a font that has never before been made in wood—Preissig Scrape.
These are photos of Preissig Scrape cut into Baltic Birch plywood using a laser cutter. Rich sent me the Macintosh fonts and I created an InDesign document and gave the letters no fill and an outline of 1/4 point. The characters are all around 400 point type–whatever fit into 4″ from the top of the tallest letter to the bottom of the lowest descender. I exported the document as 2 pages into a pdf file and sent it to Creative Plastics to cut.
This post and probably others will explore how to make this digital font into wood type. Continue reading →