We had a tragedy here at 622 press about two weeks ago. I’ve been so stressed out about it, I barely spoke a word about it to anyone.
Bess has been put through the ringer in Bermuda, but nothing could be worse than a crack through one of two main joints (which create the pressure that makes the beautiful impression into paper). I had her all cranked up and off-kilter, trying to get a decent impression on an uneven printing plate. I knew what the awful sound was as soon as it happened, but I prayed “Don’t be broken. Don’t be broken.” as I opened the press back up anyway.
This had happened once before, several years ago, so once I finished a mini cry session, I started searching for a cast iron welder in Bermuda. Welding cast iron is requires more skill and equipment than your average metal, as the surrounding material needs to be heated thoroughly to bond with the new weld. Last time, my superhero dad just happened to know a guy who fixed it right away. This time, I had to disassemble my press and send it off in the back of a junky car with a stranger.
It turns out the welder (the only result when I searched for a cast iron welder in Bermuda) didn’t have a kiln large enough to fit the top bit of my press into, so he ended up completely taking it apart—but don’t worry, he sent me a picture that looked like a pile of scrap metal, as though that would ease my anxiety. Several days (more than three times as many as quoted) and several hundred dollars (more than twice as much as quoted) later, Bess is back home.
I’ve been quite timid with her so far, but I’ve been able to get two projects finished since she’s been back, so it seems like things will be ok. I’m trying to take the whole experience as a lesson in mindfulness—a reminder that unfortunately has been sorely needed. Not only would I never have broken her if I had really been paying attention, but I also let ink dry on several pieces of equipment the week prior because I got distracted during clean up.