Projects Printmaking Services Blog About Contact

New Handle for Prototype Press

<< Newer | Latest | 16 of 103 | Older >>
Tue 26th May 2020
Blog Categories: Printmaking Press & Other Tools | Wood Engraving Printmaking | All / Filter

The prototype printing press I have been experimenting with in the past 18 months has too short a handle to get enough pressure to create prints, so as I have the tools, experience and materials, I've made my own handle from a good straight branch.

I've been aware of the short coming for some time, but haven't had time to make a new one, and whilst we are in lock down, have been using the evenings to make a new one.

Note: photos show press without clamps securing it to bench - these are normally used to hold press safely
New press handle
New press handle

Materials

I have a nice straight tree branch of the right diameter and length sitting around, and decided to use that. Branches can have lots of hidden tension within them due to how they have grown, but this appears to be OK.

It's diameter is in fact much larger than I need, but that is an advantage because it makes it stronger and easier to hold and pull round to get good pressure to make the print (current handle is about 1" diameter and that feels small to hold).

At it's very end there is a slight kink - that is an advantage because it gives it an extra thing to hold on to.

It may look 'Heath Robinson' but it works
It may look all rather Heath Robinson and out of proportion to the main press, but the thing is that it is free and it works and that is what I need.

Branch used to make handle
Branch used to make handle

Materials

I have a nice straight tree branch of the right diameter and length sitting around, and decided to use that. Branches can have lots of hidden tension within them due to how they have grown, but this appears to be OK.

It's diameter is in fact much larger than I need, but that is an advantage because it makes it stronger and easier to hold and pull round to get good pressure to make the print (current handle is about 1" diameter and that feels small to hold).

At it's very end there is a slight kink - that is an advantage because it gives it an extra thing to hold on to.

It may look 'Heath Robinson' but it works
It may look all rather Heath Robinson and out of proportion to the main press, but the thing is that it is free and it works and that is what I need.

Branch used to make handle
Branch used to make handle

Tools

The end of the branch needs reshaping to a much smaller diameter to fit the screw thread on the press. The wood needs a shallow angled step between the main branch thickess to reshaped bit to reduce weakness in the joint.

The main tool I'm using is called a draw knife, a traditional tool used a fair amount in green woodworking, but it works on dry timber too. With the right usage it allows me to take a fair amount of material off quickly, but also to get a fine finish.

Using draw knife
Using draw knife to roughly shape the end (usually would use at more oblique angle but photo doesn't show tool as well)

I also used a wooden plane to get around a side branch that caused a knot (although I could have used the draw knife at a more oblique angle), and spoke shaves to get a final finish.

Using old wooden plane
Using old wooden plane around the knot

Using spoke shave to get final shape
Using spoke shave to get final shape

What about turning it?
I could have turned the timber on a lathe (I would have used a pole lathe) but I liked the kinked bit at the end to get extra leverage, so I decided to use a draw knife.

Tools

The end of the branch needs reshaping to a much smaller diameter to fit the screw thread on the press. The wood needs a shallow angled step between the main branch thickess to reshaped bit to reduce weakness in the joint.

The main tool I'm using is called a draw knife, a traditional tool used a fair amount in green woodworking, but it works on dry timber too. With the right usage it allows me to take a fair amount of material off quickly, but also to get a fine finish.

Using draw knife
Using draw knife to roughly shape the end (usually would use at more oblique angle but photo doesn't show tool as well)

I also used a wooden plane to get around a side branch that caused a knot (although I could have used the draw knife at a more oblique angle), and spoke shaves to get a final finish.

Using old wooden plane
Using old wooden plane around the knot

Using spoke shave to get final shape
Using spoke shave to get final shape

What about turning it?
I could have turned the timber on a lathe (I would have used a pole lathe) but I liked the kinked bit at the end to get extra leverage, so I decided to use a draw knife.

Fitting and Finishing

Before fitting the handle I sanded it carefully with 80 and 120 grit paper to take the edge off the bark, and any other sharp bits, to make it easier to hold.

It is held in place by the a wooden end cap that came with the original handle (and takes a square drive screw, requiring a Roberston screw driver, which is Canadian, which is where the metal screw thread for the press comes from).

One day I might oil the handle (it would preserve it better) but just now I haven't time.

End Cap
End cap used to hold in handle

End Cap & Roberston screw
End cap used to hold in handle with Roberston square drive screw

Fitting and Finishing

Before fitting the handle I sanded it carefully with 80 and 120 grit paper to take the edge off the bark, and any other sharp bits, to make it easier to hold.

It is held in place by the a wooden end cap that came with the original handle (and takes a square drive screw, requiring a Roberston screw driver, which is Canadian, which is where the metal screw thread for the press comes from).

One day I might oil the handle (it would preserve it better) but just now I haven't time.

End Cap
End cap used to hold in handle

End Cap & Roberston screw
End cap used to hold in handle with Roberston square drive screw

Final Handle

So here it is fitted to the press, and now I need to find time to test it.

Finished Handle
Finished Handle

Finished Handle end on
Finished Handle end on

Final Handle

So here it is fitted to the press, and now I need to find time to test it.

Finished Handle
Finished Handle

Finished Handle end on
Finished Handle end on


<< Newer | Latest | 16 of 103 | Older >>
Blog Categories: Printmaking Press & Other Tools | Wood Engraving Printmaking | All / Filter

All text, images and illustrations © Copyright David Rodgers 2020 unless stated otherwise. No copying in part or whole without written permission.

Disclaimer

All articles made are based on my own personal experience, and may not be suitable for everyone. They are not to be taken as formal advice; always seek personal professional advice before doing anything, especially if it is health related, or might affect your health.

Where links are provided to external sites, I am not responsible for the content of these sites.

All content is believed to be correct at time of writing, but policies and prices change over time, and this article is not updated to reflect this. Double check all facts before making any decisions.





Bucks Printmaker Blog
Contact   Instagram rss