Typesetting on a Winter’s Afternoon

Typesetting on a Winter’s Afternoon

by Raymond Stanley Nelson, Jr.
Edited by Mike Koppa

17 January 2018

In brief, this is a manuscript found enclosed in a letter from Stan Nelson, then Curator of the Print and Graphic Arts Collection at the Smithsonian, in 1998. The story has been previously published in Parenthesis No. 3, in May 1999, within a section titled “Fine Presses in the Next Millenium.”

For almost 20 years, Stan’s story has been in mind as something that would make a fun book project. The shop had been idle in storage since 2004, and finally resurrected in its new home, dubbed Der Klubhaus at Holy Hollow, in 2016. Seasonal employment allows The Heavy Duty Press to be active only in the winter months, and serendipitously, Typesetting on a Winter’s Afternoon has become the perfect project to resurrect the letterpress operation.

With permission, the original story has been slightly edited, omitting some of the more bleak perspectives regarding the outlook for the fine press movement in 1999. True to the title, the typesetting has been conducted on a handful of winter afternoons. First proofs were pulled in February 2017, with very satisfactory results. Now, a year later, typesetting edits are complete, a prototype book with cover has been built, and printing will begin on the first stretch of weather fair enough to be able to vent the clubhouse.

Please send your name and address if you would like to receive a prospectus for this book.

A brief photo documentary of the process follows, but you may also follow the progress of this project and other creative adventures on the Tumblr blog. This site will be updated less frequently.

Thank you for looking.



January 2017, type locked up for pulling proofs



January 2018, cover design development



January 2018, deconstructing the bible for parts to build the covers



January 2018, discovery of a living bookworm in the binding during deconstruction



January 2018, tending to the proofs, in particular a bad em dash



January 2018, new em dash cut from 1 pt rule cast on 6 pt slug