New vs. old
When we began our letterpress adventure, one of our first concerns (after the presses) was excitedly looking to build up our type collection. After some talk amongst ourselves, and with people who know better, we decided to get new lead type cast. But when it came to wood, despite hearing whispers of new wood type being made, we felt old was best. Perhaps we came to this conclusion from wood printing's history in ancient China, before Gutenberg and movable type came on the scene in Europe. Or perhaps it was somewhere in the recesses of our minds that we held the traditional belief that letterpress should use old wood poster type. But its most probably because it not only looks beautiful as an object, but the nicks and softened edges of each individual letter create an unique print.
All that said (and old wood type duly purchased), recently there have been some very interesting rumblings from new wood type craftsmen. Notably, we stumbled across Virgin Wood Type over in America, where they have a large catalogue of type which is slowly being worked through, learning more as time goes on it seems. Then type maestros Dalton Maag launched their new digital typeface for Nokia… But interestingly choosing to collaborate with the design agency Build, who got the Paekakariki Press in London to create the brand new typeface as a wood fount to be printed. Not content with creating the wood type and printed edition, a film was made of the whole process… Well worth a look.
So, now we are torn; new or old wood type? Well its nice to have the choice, even if we can't make up our minds.