I've wanted a printing press for quite a while but what really drove me to make one was seeing collagraphs. Not the kind kids do in school with macaroni, but the kind done by Kim Major-George and Lynn Bailey . I love the idea that you can just glue little scraps of cardboard and whatnot to more cardboard and come up with such intriguing prints.
Here's my plate; everything is glued to a piece of mat board:
Black etching ink is applied once everthing is dry and then the excess is wiped off. If you want to try this, watch Lynn Bailey's vimeo. She shows how to do this much better than I can explain. I used Stonehenge paper which which was soaked for several hours and then blotted dry with newsprint so that it was damp but not wet. Here's the resulting print.
The Black and White Press is working amazingly well for something constructed my me. It uses an 8 ton hydraulic car jack and I have learned that this can exert too much pressure. I've actually cracked a piece of plexiglass, but no harm came to the press itself. If anyone is interested in building one, I made a substitution for the complicated ramming cup. The ramming cup is the part the jack pushes against when you start pressing. The ramming cup required that you bend metal. Bending metal sounded way too difficult to me, so I searched the hardware store and found this perfect thing!
If anyone has any questions about the press feel free to ask!