Posts Tagged ‘Heidelberg’


April 7, 2017

zapCall me a weenie. Shop Boy is OK with that. But I am also satisfied with whatever “normal” electric current flows through my body. You know, the type of current that can pop car locks at a near touch, that can create an arcing bolt of lightning between Mary’s nose and mine before a kiss. So I just figured it wasn’t my place to go try and unhook a possibly still-“hot” three-phase electric current converter from the old space. Enough energy inside me already, you know?

You know what’s not inside me? One idea of how to work with electricity.

But the converter is valuable!

What am I, chopped liver?

Mary suggested that either I’d do it or she would, and so …

True story: Shop Boy’s mom would have moments when she was up to here with seven kids bickering around the dinner table. By the time we started arguing over whose turn it was to remove the dishes from the table, she’d blow. “Clear this table or I will,” she’d growl, gripping two corners of the tablecloth and threatening to yank them. We usually jumped over each other to begin clearing.

One day, we didn’t.

Cleanup took a bit longer than usual that night, despite the fact that there were now fewer plates and glasses to wash. You didn’t call my mother’s bluff. And I wasn’t about to call Mary’s. Instead, Shop Boy stalled. The proper tools were over at the new space, after all. But eventually, it was time.

“Hold my feet, I’m going in,” Shop Boy only half joked. Hey, might as well go out together, right?

Mary at least decided to call in a long-distance ringer to offer guidance on which wires not to cross. (I suppose my dad could have been more helpful there as well back in the day.) Brother-in-law Tom had installed the three-phase contraption, which allows you to operate machines like the Heidelberg Windmill from more common current rather than run actual three-phase electricity into the building. The money savings can be phenomenal. But when you move, you need to unhook it and see to it that the wires do not become a hazard for, in this case, the workers coming to begin rebuilding (and rewiring) the old factory.

One problem: Tom’s in Massachusetts. We’re not.

Second problem: He needed to see the wires Shop Boy was touching. We could FaceTime on our iPhones, but we’d long since canceled the WiFi that FaceTime requires.

Now, Shop Boy wonders sometimes why Mary keeps him around. He never wonders why he keeps her. She began figuring out how to use my phone as a zombie/hotspot to channel wireless to her phone, something she’d heard about once. While she was doing that, Shop Boy trudged to the new shop (just down the street) to grab a few final tools, surely the instruments of his own doom.

I returned to find that the cavalry had arrived. On Mary’s phone, Shop Boy could see a white-bearded guru calmly dispensing the wisdom of the ages from his mountaintop lair. (Actually, it was Tom—a wiseguy for sure—from his living room. But the advice was no less sage for whence it emanated.)

On the factory floor, staring the three-phase converter in the eyes, was Jake Rivera of Baltimore’s Design & Integration. The firm does communications work, arena-sized (and less huge), amazing, one-of-a-kind, audio-visual gigs.

Jake, wife and business partner Tammy and their sons had been celebrating with us the end of an era at the building. Mary mentioned the converter, and Jake was curious. And wiring’s wiring, right?

Shop Boy’s brain: “Yes, Jake, it is. You go, young man!”

Before you could say, “Thank you,” Jake had disconnected the converter to much applause and explained how we should cap off and then seal up the loose wires. Even I could handle that. And as Shop Boy bravely turned the screw that sealed the wires behind a metal plate, Mary patted my head like the farty, old, loyal, afraid-of-lightning dog that I am.

Pride be damned.

The Last Printing Press You’ll Ever Need

April 14, 2015

Mary speaks of printing presses in what for her are hushed tones, or anyway what they lack in hush they more than make up for in reverence.

And every time I think we’ve found and acquired her holy grail of letterpresses, she develops a reverence for another one. It’s like I married a dude having a midlife crisis sometimes. Like, for instance, a red Ferrari would weigh 3 tons less and have only a slightly larger footprint than the latest printing press she fell for: the Heidelberg KS.

Oh, but what it’ll do … or so Shop Boy is told. See, we’ve never laid eyes on the thing. Mary bought it at auction from a place in, I swear, Novelty, Ohio. Today it’s in Baltimore, at North American Millwright, a name you should surely know if you’ve followed our loopy path as printers or have had to move something really, really, really heavy. Bruce Baggan and his crew are the best. (Bruce reports that the press arrived in good shape.) This month or next we will meet the thing in person, at our shop.

I’m excited, and not. Like a sports car, these printing presses cost money. Mary will naturally tell you she got a sweetheart deal, but she’s in love, so whatever. All I know is 4 tons and that, to get this one in, another press has to go.

a_miehleAnd it’s looking as though the Miehle V50 is it. That one wasn’t Mary’s fault. It followed us home, for “only” the cost of moving it, from a Baltimore printshop before we knew enough to say no. We know it works, and it’s even got brand new rollers. Two problems: Mary’s first love is the Heidelberg windmill (Shop Boy lands anywhere between No. 2 and No. 5 depending upon how timely I am with dinner). She’s a whiz at running the windmill, and now another Heidelberg is (almost) in the house.

Also, the V50 is a younger person’s press, with ink tray cleaning performed from your knees and big, heavy chases (even when empty – imagine it with a Boxcar base!) that must be dead-lifted into the guides.

Shop Boy just had another birthday go past. Geez, it’s like that happens every stinking year. Pretty soon you’ve got more behind than ahead. And so that might soon be the story for the Miehle. We don’t want to scrap it. Mary listed in on Briar Press for $600 or best offer.

Zero offers and counting. Apparently the last thing people need is a 3-ton paper towel holder.

Or are you that person?

It’s great at holding coffee cups, too.


Taking a Powder

December 8, 2009

Imagine buying a super-expensive sports car because you like the rear defrost feature on the side mirror. Well, Shop Boy swears that Mary bought the Heidelberg Windmill for the little drawer on the side.

You know the one I’m talking about, right?

The Barbie tool kit.

Oh, they don’t call it that in Germany, the machine’s birthplace. It’s the Brunhilde box or something. Anyway, it’s this tiny container that disappears into the side of the machine with its store of odd, teeny little doodad-y tools — for tweaking things on the windmill. Just Mary’s style.

And, thanks to Shop Boy’s, um, special arrangement with the
Georgetown Sephora branch, the box also holds the blush brush.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a Beauty Insider, right? Well, now I’m like the king/queen of beauty insiders, a “BIP.” Swear to god. I’ve bought so many beauty products there (what, you thought this look was natural?) that they added a little sticker to my Beauty Insider card, meaning more free samples. Sparkly lip balm, eyelid lifter, perfume … whee!


See, one day, one of our interns, a guy, mentions that, hey, if you put a little baby powder on the tympan after you — doh!  — ink it, the powder dries up the mess and the offset disappears much more quickly. And to think, Shop Boy told Mary that male interns would never add up to anything. It flat works.

And the perfect vehicle for putting powder to tympan: a blush brush with a little reservoir to store the powder. Mary was so impressed with this trick that she immediately sacrificed her brush to the gods of letterpress. Which meant that the BIP was dispatched to procure a new one.

So I got two, slightly different models but with the same basic operation. Or so we figured. But when even Mary — a girl, for heaven’s sake — couldn’t figure out how to open one of them to put in powder, it quickly became apparent …

Shop Boy was about to get a one-on-one, in-store, BIP lesson in how to operate a refillable blush brush.

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me, Shop Boy. Take it back and make them show you how to open it.”

Great. Being a dude shopping in Sephora isn’t a weird enough experience as it is. At least they’re always nice at “my” Georgetown branch. Take the large gentleman who, uh, clearly knows his way around a makeup mirror. The pretty lady at the checkout desk called him over when she couldn’t figure out the blasted brush either.

He cheerily took the brush in his huge paws, taking time to explain the basic mechanism to Shop Boy as though there were no other customers in the whole store — stopping just short of explaining how to get an even color tone on my cheeks. Then he twisted the two ends in opposite directions … snapping the thing in two.

“Must be defective,” he said. “Let’s try another one.”

This one worked, but the big fellow was taking no chances, making me show him that I knew how to work the brush. Satisfied enough with my clumsy fumbling, he packaged it up and threw it into a Sephora bag with even more funny little free makeup samples.

Mary’s going to need a Barbie tool kit for the side of her dresser at this rate.

Shop Boy? Suffice it to say that I’d better go work on my speech for induction day at the Beauty Insider Hall of Fame.