Saturday, July 4, 2015

New Roller Box

This is the beginning of what I hope will be the unclogging of a logjam of ideas/goals/projects that have been a LONG time in coming.  I have finally mustered the courage to take the plunge and take a leave of my day job for the month of July to invest in myself a little.

These are the rollers for my Chandler & Price Pilot Press.  VABC's new space has seen a moving around of things and my little press can now be seen in the front window from the street.  I'm hoping to get people excited about printing with some free demonstrations called Pilot Events, but more on that in a different post!

Now that my press is in the window and open to a lot more street traffic, I had to make a few changes.  I like for people to be able to approach the press to see what a beautiful little machine it is but I get a bit nervous about the rollers.  There are a few factors: 1.) The wonderful sunshine that flows in through the front window heats everything up and I'm just not sure what that will mean over time. 2.) There will be much more traffic of people in and out, the rollers are soft and sensitive, and they also have a constant film of grease on them. 3.) The biggest sticking point of having them around without ME being around is . . . I paid $500 for them and just don't think it's a great idea to have them hanging around.

In the past when I was at McGuffey, I had the ugliest scrap wood contraption cobbled together to hold the rollers on the tabletop.  I only used it to let the rollers hang out when they were drying from being cleaned but then, I was only contending with myself because it was a private studio so it worked well.  At VABC, I left the rollers on the press because it was in the shop and only certain individuals who knew how to run the equipment properly had the ability to use them.  If those people wanted to use it when I was not there it was kosher.  Fast forward to the Pilot moving upstairs and the above photo is how my rollers were kept at home and brought in for use.  Yes, it worked but to me was the hottest of hot messes.

Well, I had all these grand plans for hand building a roller box and it was going to be awesome and cool and this and that.  Life has a way of happening, you know?  Here we are and I am currently in one of those states that all artists . . . scratch that, MOST artists know currently known as "poverty mode."  I'm broke as hell, folks.

So, I'm sitting in my living room having a little pity party.  Just a little one, mind you.  I have scrap wood but don't want to use the table saw at work.  I'm being a bit lazy here but I'm prioritizing in my head and foreseeing a common theme in my life: I spend a lot of time and effort cobbling together scraps for a project and before you know it I've blown a huge amount of time on a project that I could have better used making art.  What to do?

Suddenly, I remember an old box I had.  I had gotten this piece of shit from an antique store for $15 probably 10 years ago and some people would've shot me then and there because it smelled of basement and had a chunk missing out of the bottom.  It was a nice shape, however, and had dovetailing.  I tried to use it to store my gouache but it wasn't very functional.

Turns out, it's just perfect for housing my rollers until I need to use them.
I popped some new brass drawer catches to the front of it.

It looks kind of Japanese when you open it. (That suits me just fine!)
I fashioned this inner lid out of wood scraps.  It fits exactly over the roller nesters to lock them down so they won't jump out of place should they accidentally get jarred.  The lid pulls on the top double as spacers that touch the top of the inside of the lid so the rollers are locked in place.

Pull the lid off and there are my rollers, ready to go and happy to see me!

While constructing this, I figured out that oops, there is space between stringers on the lid and if the box got jarred from side to side, the lid might fall down onto the rollers.  My heart first said, Oh, but I'm careful.  I'll just be really conscious not to let that happen.  My brain then chimed in, Whatever, ding dong, figure out how to fix it now while you have all the tools out or cry later about how you screwed up your $500 rollers.  So, I cut some scrap spacers and glued them in so the problem go fixed.

Note the daylight you can see under the rollers.  It's really important that the roller itself be suspended in mid air.  If the roller rests for an extended period of time on a flat surface, it will settle a flat line in your roller surface and ruin your $500 rollers.  We're in business now!  Now, to see what else needs to get done . . .

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