Posts Tagged ‘BUILD’

Turn Out the Lights

April 3, 2017

When you spend enough of your life in one physical space—an entire life chapter filled with so many highs and lows, laughs and tears—it’s hard to close the door on it. That realization is not exactly breaking news, but there you (and we) go.

We are talking about a building that frosted our very souls each winter with lousy heat control and spooked us with weird, late-night creaks and groans or the occasional freaky insects—as in when the furniture place next door was importing all those Indonesian chairs. Ooh. It also took thousands of Typecast Press dollars to paint and decorate just so and improve the lighting in three separate spaces so that, you know, we could see the bugs coming and arm ourselves.

The building’s given Shop Boy headaches and heartaches and, lord knows, muscle aches. Oh, and plenty to write about lo these 249 posts later.

Sure, but over more than a decade the space also produced unbreakable friendships and a (fairly unique) business model that we think can withstand the twists and turns of the economy as well as Mary’s infamous crusader tendencies.

It’s done, then. (Not the blog, sorry. Shop Boy’s just getting started … again.) Late Sunday afternoon, we toasted the Noxzema-Fox-Simpson Strong-tie Building with fellow former residents and hoarders. We took a few pictures and one last look around the place to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind, then locked the door to 3100 Falls Cliff Road, future home of the reimagined Fox Building and the residents of its planned 93 apartments. Nevermore will a frazzled man and a tired but still tweaky woman hunch over a Chandler & Price printing press in the middle of the night doing crazy things to meet a deadline. Gone are the days of running frantically around the building to find the owner of the car illegally parked in the loading dock so we can get our paper for a big job. At Fox, anyway. Never again will a member of the Mashburn family—including myself—trip and fall down those concrete steps. (Sniff! I’m having a moment.)

As Rolie Polie Olie welcomes his own uncertain future with a trademark “Howdy!” so will we welcome our next chapter (already in progress).


We’re gone.


‘Round the Corner

September 14, 2007

It’s the designated hitter of the printshop, the letterpress version of a baseball player who can’t do anything but hit well. Perfectly one-dimensional, by design.

Now batting for Typecast Press: Corner Making Contraption.

OK, that’s just its nickname, based on the manufacturer’s initials — Challenge Machinery Co. It cuts corners and it’s stiff and heavy. What else are you going to call it? Maybe “Jason Giambi“?

(Sorry, Yankees joke. It’s reflexive.)

This corner rounder fascinates me. Is it ugly or beautiful? The most amazing piece of machinery we’ve got — or dead weight? It’s got one very particular skill, turning sharp papers corner into a rounded edge, a whole stack at a time. (Oh, it can also scatter bits of confetti all across the floor, but is that really a skill?) It helped us turn simple peel-and-stick labels and unadorned shopping bags into classy dress-shop totes.

The Corner Making Contraption does its thing, then sits quietly until it’s needed again. In six months, we’ve used it just that once.

We bought it from Wayne Phillips of Oliver Press, yet another venerable Baltimore letterpress printer closing down his business. Can’t blame Wayne too much for wanting to leave this particular neighborhood. A drug dealer eyed us as we pulled my truck up to the building. To an outsider, the look might have seemed like suspicion. If you spend much time in the rougher parts of Baltimore, though, you know the look means, “What can I get for you?” He’d sized us up as two more white suburbanites trying to score.

Three doors down the block a house suddenly was on fire.


Baltimore’s like that: Well-to-do neighborhoods butt-to-butt with struggling ones. Mary’s working on it. She volunteers with a group called Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD). Good organization. Rob English runs the show. Hope isn’t dead.

Anyway, we got off on the wrong foot, me and the Corner Making Contraption. While loading it into the truck, Shop Boy failed to notice that the metal rods of the foot-pedal mechanism extended out the back of the thing. So, rather than sit flat, it tipped and rolled. Bruised skin … and feelings. But that’s not the machine’s fault, I suppose. It was just following a rule Shop Boy apparently wasn’t aware of: Every piece of machinery, when moved against its will — and that of gravity — must leave a mark on the mover. This can be a cut, bruise, torn muscle or broken bone. Knowing this rule now, Shop Boys realizes it could have been worse.

It could still be. The CMC is sitting there waiting for the end of the month, when I have to move the Contraption so I can paint the studio. Still, I’m hoping I can get around the bruise/cut/tear/break rule just this once.

Knock on cast iron.