Archived entries for Doric

Letterpress Loves Lasers

Yesterday morning I spent some time with Brett Blaisdell, owner/operator of the big-ass laser at Smug Labs. My mission was to test the capability of Brett’s Epilog laser to engrave wood type. The Book Arts Program generously donated a plank grain maple board from Art Boards for the experiment.

I had little time but knew I wanted to try a chromatic design, so for expediency I used Adobe’s Zebrawood, a digital font comprised of glyphs based on Doric and Doric Ornamented.

I cut the first two characters from the block using the Book Arts Program’s Hammond Glider. For safety reasons, I chose not to take photographs of me operating the saw.

I trimmed the blocks to 12 line. Then using magnets, I locked up the solid (Doric) letter L on a galley, along with two star rules for roller bearers, and hand inked the block for a proof.

The first proof of the laser engraved, 12 line Doric L.

Locking up the Doric Ornamented and inking in black for a chromatic effect.

Not bad for a first proof. More experiments to come, stay tuned.

Holy F*#!

12 line Doric Ornamented

Since its introduction around 1849, some variation of this ornamented Tuscan style design was produced by nearly every major European and American type foundry. Nicolete Gray credits the design – calling it Tuscan No. 3 –  to the British foundry, Stephenson Blake. Mac McGrew claimed the design originated with Bruce’s New York Type Foundry as Ornamented No. 847.

Over at the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection website David Shields writes that an ornamented wood type variation of this style, called Doric, first appeared in the US in 1854. It was this design that directly inspired Adobe’s Zebrawood.

Finding a sort (the term used for a single piece of type) from a face like this is both a blessing and a curse. The location of this lonely F’s siblings will haunt me for the rest of my life.



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