Block Printing

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In the commercial process, a tierer's trolley (rather like a mobile filing trolly) had a reservoir of old ink below a waterproof layer, to provide a resilient surface, topped by a sieve. A more absorbent material (such as felt), was then placed in the sieve. Any surplus ink applied to the the felt by the tierer sank through, leaving the right amount of ink on the top surface of the pad. This is a lost art (much fun was had when Time Team visited trying to reconstruct such a trolly). We make do with a specially prepared pad which is inked onto its surface by roller, but, being impermeable makes getting the correct amount of ink onto the block much more chancy. The missing pitch pins mean Mary has to position by line of sight. The pitch pin marks helped spell the death of block printing, once roller printing (which did not produce these 'blemishes') became available. The 7lb Maul is tapped on to the block to create an even weight of pressure across the surface (experienced block printers often used the side of their fists instead).