Archives for the month of: April, 2011

GGGGCadet Redstart reached the top of the hill. The gusting wind blew his red, BirdPatrol: SPACE scarf back behind him heroically. He took a pair of binoculars out of his pack and scanned the horizon. There was supposed to be a massive deposit of Feokistav crystals(1) somewhere in this valley and it was Redstart’s job to find it.
GGGGHe looked back the way he had come and wondered if he had remembered to lock the hatch on his T-13 Skylark. He shrugged and began walking down the hill. All the scans showed that this planet was uninhabited so there was little chance of something breaking into his ship and stealing his music discs (2). He took off his pack, set it on the ground, and flew up into the air to get a better view of the surrounding terrain. The crystal deposit was supposed to be within 200 yards of his landing zone, and since he didn’t see any huge, purple crystals that shoot lightning he was beginning to think something had gone wrong with the Nav computer. Redstart flew back down and took the map Commander Eagleton had given him out of the front pocket of his pack. After studying it for several baffling minutes Redstart realized that this was the map for a completely different planet! He crumpled it up and tossed it over his shoulder into the wind. He watched as it uncrumpled, flew through the air, and slapped a giant spider in the face!
GGGGSpiders aren’t famous for being able to show a lot of emotion, but this one sure looked angry! It knocked Redstart off his feet with one swipe of its foreleg. Redstart landed in a roll and came back up on his feet, drawing his Bennington’s P-426 blaster in one fluid motion. He shot twice in quick succession. One blast went wide and the other grazed the spider’s abdomen, burning a line in it’s thick, black hair. The spider didn’t seem to notice. It shot a web and hit Redstart left wing, pinning it to his side. Redstart got off one more quick shot as the spider moved in for the kill. The lucky blast took off one of the spider’s legs at the knee joint. The spider let out an hideous screech as black liquid poured out of the wound. The spider quickly backed away and soon disappeared into the thick underbrush.

  1. Feokistav crystals were originally found growing in the great scientist Feyodor Feokistav’s kitchenette. They are widely used by BirdPatrol to power their Post-Light Drive technology.
  2. In the future, all music will be stored on aluminum discs about the size of a silver dollar.

let me know if you find seeds for those fire flowers.

I have officially finished the printing phase of my Vance book project! 6 hours and 560 more cranks of the press. Today I went back and printed the images in color. All that’s left is for me to cut the pages down and bind them.

the red ink the images are printed in

today i finished all the text press runs for my Vance book in one marathon print run. tomorrow i’m going to print the images in a nice, brownish-red. i don’t think that will take as long as it did today. now i’ve got a system, and the system is go.


also, it’s 560 if you count the backwards cranks.

Well it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and I just came up with the best title for a book that I’ve ever come up with. It’s for a book that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’m going to try to print it after I finish my beloved Jack Vance project and before I leave Tuscaloosa for my summer adventures. I don’t want to give away any of the details because it will lose its power, but I will say that the subject matter is something that I’ve loved since I was old enough to think, and I can name something like 20 of them off the top of my head. So if you can guess what it is, don’t say it out loud in cyberspace, just whisper it to me.

First of all, I get all my photo-polymer plates from Boxcar Press. As you can probably tell from the name, photo-polymer plates are light sensitive plastic material. They come in various sizes, but the ones I get are around 16″x23″ and I cut them down to the size I need.

These negatives are cut down and ready to make plates.

You can either scratch the image into the negatives by hand or you can have them printed. All the negatives I am using for my Jack Vance project were printed. The negative at the top left of the picture is the image for the cover of the book. The other three negatives are page spreads within the book.
Once we have the negatives and plate material cut down to the correct size, we expose them using the Anderson Vreeland Orbital VIII (or “Roy Orbital”), which can be seen in all its glory below.

Only the lonely Roy Orbital

Above you can see that I’ve placed the negative on top of the plate material in the exposure drawer of the machine. A thin sheet of transparent plastic called the “kreen” (for mysterious reasons unbeknownst to me) is placed on top of the negative/photo-polymer sandwich. The machine uses a vacuum to keep everything flat. The drawer is pushed in and the plate material is exposed to UV light for three minutes. (NOTE: There are different exposure times for different plates and machines.)

After the plate has been exposed, it is placed on top of a rotating platen in the washing portion of the machine. Everything that was not exposed to light remains soft and is washed away by a big square brush. That part of the process takes five minutes. After it has had its bath, the plate is placed in yet another drawer on this wondrous machine: the drying drawer! After about twenty minutes of drying time, the plate is placed back in the exposure drawer and exposed for another five minutes. This is the step that really hardens the image on your plate.

Above are almost all the plates I will be using on my Jack Vance project. I used about a sheet and a half of plate material for this book. After all the plates are made, they are backed with a special adhesive. This adhesive keeps the plates from moving around while printing. The plates are placed on special metal bases (also from Boxcar Press) to make them the height of type for printing.

At long last printing has finally begun on my cherished Jack Vance book project! On the bed of the press you can see the photo-polymer plate with the image that’s going on the book’s cover. Tomorrow I’ll be making more photo-polymer plates of the text and images that will make up the content of the book.

My beloved Jack Vance project is about to go to the presses! Everything I ordered for it has come in the mail:

  1. Mohawk Superfine 70lb text – this will make up the pages of the book. It’s a soft-white and has an eggshell finish.
  2. Hollander’s .059 binder’s board – this is a thin but durable board that will make the cases for hardcover binding.
  3. Khadi handmade Indian paper – it’s a stone color and has a rough finish. This will be printed on and used to cover half the edition. The other half will be cloth-covered case bindings.

The text and images will be printed using photo-polymer plates which I will be making Sunday. I’m going to document the entire platemaking process and post the pictures on here with explanations of the steps for anyone interested. I’ll also be documenting the printing and construction of the book and posting that along the way.

I was going to start making the plates today but I decided to get a research paper and book review out of the way so I can concentrate on this. I’m very excited about this project and since I’m sending some copies to Jack Vance, I really want to do it up right.

Below are the covers of the five books in the Demon Princes series that I took the excerpts from.

Papermaking in the Lost Arch Papermill at the University of Alabama.

formation aid. turns out i'm allergic. who knew?! good thing i didn't eat any.

amy beating up some kozo, the olde fashioned way!