Antiquated Press Journal

MR Bitey: aka Kelsey Excelsior Mercury 5X8 restoration project

I have been promising to post more cool studio stuff. SO here we go. Let me introduce you to the Antiquated Press’s sweet little letterpress man. We call him Mr Bitey - but he is officially a Excelsior Mercury 5X8 - These cool presses were made for a hundred years by the Kelsey company starting in the late 1800’s I would give a detailed history but thats all kinda boring. If you want to get into these sorts of machines there are some really great resources and old timers with insight into the production and distribution etc. 

I wanna talk about RESTORATION! 

so Mr Bitey was discovered in a sad corner of a thrift shop - he had been out in the weather for years and suffered from ages of build up rust and deterioration. 

the shop owner (I didn’t catch his name so let’s just call him snaggletooth mcgee) well he was eager to sell me what appeared to him to be some sort of hamburger patty maker. And he offered it to me for a hundred bucks. I didn’t hesitate and he obviously was disappointed he did not ask for more. I am not much of a haggler… the opposite actually, its hard not to be all “are you kidding me! this is an original Kelsey! " 

SO I took poor rusty Mr Bitey home and took some details of his condition. 

really besides having some serious rust issues in on the platen, the chase and the inside of the base.. and the rollers being completely rotten. It was in pretty decent condition. Nothing was missing except a few of the retaining clips. 

it would not function obviously as it was rusted solid. But slowly I dismantled it piece by piece. Sometimes having to chisel away the barnacle like accumulation of rust. 

you can see in this picture the chase is really bad. but once I got it all taken apart I deliberated on how to clean it up. Knowing it was cast iron which is pretty much indestructible (pretty much) and since i grew up with southern roots I have cleaned my fair share of cast iron jambalaya pots. SO i figured oil and steel wool would be a good start. 

Oil and steel wool is really non toxic and awesome but didn’t even come close to getting this poor guy straight. So I whipped out the rubber gloves and got my Naval Jelly (the only thing for the job) and one of these guys

its a multipurpose stripper that attaches to your drill. It worked like a CHAMP and really took the elbow out of it all. So after about 30 applications and dwell times with the naval jelly followed up with scrubbing and stripping with this.. well my kelsey was looking pretty damn good. 

I protected the platen and chase and the areas that the rollers ride on the chase with some masking tape before priming all the parts. 

I ordered replacement ink rollers from ebay - they were pretty affordable. And then painted it up real nice in a two tone black and blue. 

look at those shiny parts

everything fit together like butter… BUTTERRR. and check out that smooth platen. 

more saucy photos

Mr Bitey gained his name right after this photo was taken, as he is prone to chomp at fingers. But he does function perfectly - smooth operation all around. Lil Joe even sorted out how to print type high blocks with his solidoodle 3d printer to make custom letterpress images. pretty sweet. 

And here he is at home with our studio etching press. 

If you too are restoring an old rusty letterpress - feel free to give me a shout. If you ever run across one of these in a thrift shop.. and it is complete BUY IT - they are wonderful machines. 

Yards of Happy Christmas Cards

So I was going to not post these but I can’t help it, they came out so cool I want to share. Finishing them up this weekend and getting them in the mail to all the special people who helped make Antiquated Press happen this year. 

2013 was a hell of a year, I for one am glad it is wrapping up. With the exception of shopping for awesome stuff for my kids, I am not really a big fan of the holidays. But this year is different, cause I have things like wicked cool 3 color screenprint hand made AP christmas cards to sort out. 

Registration has it’s quaint offset all over. it’s not easy to register 3 screens on kraft paper - but I think they came out pretty swell. Even with just making up cards for AP friends, customers and supporters, it ends up being hundreds of cards… I see hand cramps in my near future writing in all of these.  I have never been a card person so this is all new, but that’s cool. I like the idea of sending something special to the incredible AP fans out there. You guys are the best.






Mark Zaffron 1960-2013

One of the few friends of Antiquated Press. Mark gave invaluable advice, direction and support to our little shop and he will be deeply missed. Mark was an incredible person and his non-toxic printmaking methods and products are a cornerstone of our studio. 

Rest in peace Mark

Your memory, impact and work will endure in the minds and hearts of those who knew and worked with you.

Condolences to his family can be sent to



Pupdate 11-22-13

Well, I tried… I TRIED! but I failed.

I like to really consider it less of a fail than probably having too high of goal set before thanksgiving. I wanted to put out holiday card sets - you know, some sweet AP card with some drawings on them. But alas with some other projects I have going on and with filling orders and (excuses excuses) I cannot really finish them. I have them all drawn and let me tell you what, they are some really cool holiday cards. But no go for actually hand printing them up and getting them available. Besides it really is late to be ordering Christmas cards.

So basically there will only be one Holiday card made, a very special card that is going to all the incredible people who have supported AP this year in so many ways. I am pretty excited about this card, and due to the fact that i have all your addresses (bwahaha) I can mail you guys stuff without rhyme, reason or a heads up (I may go crazy and start sending dirty laundry.. WHO KNOWS.. LOOSE CANNON). So yeah, that’s rad.

We are now less than a month from BIG NEWS day. I would start a countdown but countdowns are cheesy. So instead I will just mention here in the depths of this post that probably one 1-2 people will read.. (don’t tell anyone else) Next week the Antiquated Press editions shop will be free shipping (both domestic and international) it will stay that way for a couple weeks. Kinda a holiday shopping thingy of sorts. So yeah, boom! Christmas card (singular and not for sale but still cool) free shipping and maybe just maybe some other neat surprises before December hits.

Not bad for the worlds tiniest low brow print shop.

Your Pal,


Riso restock!

things are things

I am going to try and write more, not with much anticipation that anyone is really reading it.. but more to keep track of things myself and be able to look back at notes and timelines and such. I tend to lose track a bit.

This week has been pretty busy, mainly with packing and shipping. The big wave of orders from release 4 has been a challenge to keep ahead of. Shipping is still stressful but not near as much as release one. After doing it and getting positive feedback from people who have ordered, and not really having any big blunders - well.. it does get easier I suppose. And we have been pretty good about not delaying more than 5-6 days from order to shipment.

The only damaged tube we’ve had has been this poor guy in Dublin. I botched the label and his prints ended up in the LA hub for a month and a half (I imagine it in a dusty corner getting kicked around while other properly marked mail was getting handled…poor robot) I sent him a replacement with proper addressing, and sure enough his first order finally made it to him as well.. but the tube was beat up pretty bad. Remarkably though the prints inside were fine. But if anyone ever gets a damaged print (or even worse, no print at all), basically what I am going to do is mark the damaged edition accordingly in the archives and send out a replacement. If it is a situation where the edition is sold out and there are no replacements. I will send a nice proof, and contact the customer to select a different edition as well. Rather than reprint the damaged edition number which is not very good form in my opinion.

I don’t know why I said all that, just kinda got sidetracked.

I received some really amazing emails this last week, my favorite is from a customer who ordered a Stars edition. It was ordered as a birthday gift for her father who was a pioneer in artificial intelligence. After getting her print she took the time to let me know how wonderful it was and excited she was to give it to her dad. It made me feel like a million bucks. I know it might sound silly, but it totally made my day. It is nice to pull my head out of the printing and packing and working on plates to check my email and get personal messages from folks who have not only appreciated my work enough to buy it but also to contact me after holding it in person. It is pretty wonderful.

I am currently working on a couple different fronts.

First I have been delaying in getting my press kit done. I really do not like to present myself or market or anything like that. It is awkward and difficult and very far from my comfort zone I would much rather just make stuff. But unfortunately just telling people I am reclusive and want to make a spire does not cut it. So I have to wrap up the press kit, get photos taken and put that “to do” behind me.

Christmas is coming, and I am going to be putting out a small set of prints, and cards (yay) they will be tasteful and It will give me an opportunity to use my Astronaut Santa plate. I am also making a very special card for all the incredible people who have supported AP the last several months. So that’s pretty neat.

AP’s official newsletter is up and running, should have the first one out next week. Using mailchimp, which is a very easy to use and powerful email database system with all the bells and whistles. I plan on using the newsletter to put out solid info on AP, illustration, print making and featuring some of the incredible artists and makers I have come to know over the years.

This whole experiment has made me understand the mindset of independent artists so much better. There is such a huge commitment to hand making products to sell to the public. I thought I was savvy before with my shirts and prints and other merch that was produced and sold through different (great) companies. But there was a disconnect that I truly only understand now. And heading into the holiday season with my new outlook makes me want to spend every single shopping dollar on independent artists, artisans, makers and crafters. And that is exactly the plan. When you purchase from a small online store, you are basically santa claus.. giving both to the maker and the giftee. So consider doing the same thing this holiday. If you need a gift for someone, look first at the independent shops, stores and websites. For the most part you will find people and product that has more quality and love invested than anything corporately produced could ever achieve. The world is at your fingertips and there are thousands of brilliant people making one of a kind items. Just something to think about. And to you magical people out there who put your heart into making stuff, and take the huge risk of putting it out into the world. I give you all high fives. Well done.

I was up late again last night trying to find supplies for my riso gocco. I swear JAPAN!! get your act together. You cannot make the coolest easiest screenprinter in history and then just shudder your doors. I found a case of 400 bulbs in Australia for like $800 which I almost considered but seriously… 400 bulbs. a little excessive. And the screens are pretty much all gone. unless you want to spend a fortune for 2 on ebay. So gonna try making my own - lots of folks do it. Shouldn’t be too hard (famous last words)

This post is ridiculous. Is it obvious I am avoiding working on press kit copy? ha!


Packing tubes

This sticker uses the illustration I made for the 2013 AP print given away with the first 60 or so orders back in June. I was considering it for the chop but instead opted for the simple AP design. The sun imagery is based on my family crest which is a belted sun, so that is kinda interesting.

Post Release 4 Ramblings: AKA Clockworks Complete


This is a little delayed, this post about release 4 and stuff. Only excuse I have is that things have been crazy busy packing and shipping orders for R4. Which is a good thing.. to say I am pleased with the reaction and support from the world about my prints is an understatement. Thanks World. I am not very good with people, and I do not really have a lot of interactions or communications with folks. So I really had no clue how my prints would be received or how people would even find out about them (I don’t work well with galleries or wholesalers or anything, so it’s just all on my little website). Luckily / providentially / remarkably, there has been a handful of people with excellent taste who have connected with my work and told their friends.

To have my prints be related to and understood and appreciated enough to purchase is pretty incredible. I do not spend a lot of time explaining each piece or the whole point of Clockworks with a bunch of confusing artists statements. Instead I endeavored to make something immensely accessible and personal. Something that maybe would connect with people. The fact that my subject matter is robots is not at all the key facet to the series. The robots are just a useful tool in expression. To me the key is the viewer, participating in the work through identifying with it. Hopefully Identifying with universal experiences in the human condition. The juxtaposition with the natural environments and the clockwork robots highlights this. But at the same making something whimsical and pleasant to experience, whether you are young or old - fancy or not. Plus robots are pretty great.

It’s fantastic to have all restraints on my work removed, not having to answer to a design firm, apparel company, production group or even audience. Nothing derivative or culturally savvy. To just do something without a target demographic without expectations or limitations is truly rewarding in itself - I had no idea.


I am happy with the series, very happy. I am also so FREAKING EXCITED for what’s coming next. Sure I am going to be putting out some individual stuff in the near future - and some collaborations with amazing artists that are going to be rad. But also 2014 will bring another AP series that I am super stoked about. I promise to revisit clockworks years down the road - but for the time being the robots are going to be just hanging out.. doing their thing. And It will be nice to draw something different. Show folks out there AP is not just sprockets, gimbals and glass domes.


After printing and packing and shipping hundreds of prints, I feel like a veteran. It is pretty much all I do. I have a normal job, and after work and on the weekends I am just in the AP studio proofing, etching, printing, packing, working to the wee hours of the morning every night doing this. It brings me joy and works well with my reclusive obsessive personality.. really well. Add in the understanding and support of my wife and kids who have been really amazingly patient and helpful. It would have been impossible otherwise. At my best I am difficult, at my worse I am a total mess.

I finally got the swag all sorted, buttons, stickers, printed cards, swag bags, mugs, shirts, all sorts of cool stuff. When I get something in the mail, I really appreciate the little cool stuff - I like getting something that has added touches of magic. And I aimed for that with each release. My goal is for people who drop their hard earned cash on my work to get a little celebration in the mail. something that will make them smile.


I am rambling, I can’t help it. there are all these little kinda specific things I want to mention. Like the fact that the successes of the clockworks series, and every dime it has earned is being re-invested into Antiquated Press. How you ask? (I am now rambling and talking with imaginary readers) well I do not want to get into details yet.. but in the next couple months the impact of Clockworks and its success will be revealed. And everyone out there who bought a print will see what they helped make happen. Its all very exciting I promise.

About the lost print. it is used as the banner on the editions page. It shows the CW robots meandering off into the distance, traveling. This print was intended to be the last of the series. And in a terribly sad series of events the original plate was destroyed. It was replaced with Climb, the print that pretty much represents frustrating struggle.But I am probably going to be offering the lost print up as a digital Print available through the AP society 6 shop. I will post about that when I do.

Some cool stuff about the release: Orders were the highest EVER for release four. Orders were 2-1 international. And we shipped to some crazy remote countries and addresses I would be hard pressed to pronounce. We have done our best to keep international shipping as affordable as possible - and it has made a big difference I think. Some super fancy customers too, so that’s neat.


we are also doing a huge giveaway for our supporters, fans, and broke artists who want prints. Giving away prints, mugs, shirts, all sorts of cool. All you have to do is sign up for our all new newsletter. by following this link: or going to the official facebook page I promise NO SPAM. And I will be sending out free crap to my newsletter people. Lord knows anyone who would sign up for my newsletter is kinda weird, more than likely awkward. AKA my favorite type of people (all 14 of you)

The stop motion animation for stars was a huge success. it has gotten a bunch of great feedback and featured on printmaking news sites and blogs. if you haven’t watched it - check it out

Um, I guess that is all for now (or rather ENOUGH.. I tend to ramble and could really go on and on)… except to say that if you are a customer. Please be in touch. I have only had ONE order get a damaged tube in the mail which I promptly sent replacements. So please keep in touch and let me know if there are any questions, concerns, shipping delays or damages. Also send me a photo of your print if you want. We have gotten all sorts of great photos and seeing my work in the wild is so damn cool.


Your Pal, Joe

details of the Stars edition, last of 13 etchings in the Clockworks 13 series.

9X12" plate on 13X16" arches - watch the making of this plate –

For more info on the series

detail and process images of the Parts edition, one of 13 etchings in the Clockworks series. 6X9" plate printed on 13X16" arches

Detail images of the Climb etching for release four of Antiquated Press Clockworks 13 series. 9X12" plate printed on 13X16” Arches

Detail images of the Ibex etching for release four of Antiquated Press Clockworks 13 series. 12"X18” plate printed on 16X22” Arches cover etching paper

This is a process film for the edition Stars, part of the Clockworks 13 series of etchings released by Antiquated Press. The video was shot over the course of August, Sept and October 2013.
The audio track on the video is “Sea of Air” by Portugal the Man from their album Evil Friends - used with permission.
to learn more about Antiquated Press - visit our website

The final release of Clockworks 13 is posted. Which means that the whole of the series is now available. Thirteen editioned etchings. It was a pretty incredibly journey and although I am a bit sad to see it finish, I am very excited about what is coming now that Clockworks is over.

Well over is not quite right, there are a bunch of things that will be showing up on the site over the next week or so. For example the process film for the Stars plate, which I was lucky enough to score the skills of my incredibly talented son to direct the project. I will also be posting a ton of photos, behind the scenes action capturing the intense excitement that is intaglio print making. (I am not sure if “intense” is the right word.. but you get the idea)

Additionally we have some pretty crazy swag relating to Clockworks 13: Buttons (actually just calling them buttons is an understatement.. more like little pinback robot parties), Shirts (yes the shirts are coming back), Totes, Pillows, Stickers, Cards… and action figures (no not really action figures, but that would be really cool)

Also on our facebook page I will be giving away a bunch of prints over the next couple weeks - so if you would like an original etching, but cannot afford it… keep an eye on our FB.

Finally, everyone who has supported and encouraged this endeavor has my eternal gratitude. I thank you all, working on this project is just the start - Clockworks 13 is a complete series.. but it is also just the first chapter in the Antiquated Press story.


Jabba the tape dispenser.

One of Antiquated Press’s studio treasures. Jabba is ever present and invaluable. A couple years ago his Bakelite center spool succumbed to years of demanding use and hairline fractures grew until it fell apart one fateful afternoon. Luckily Lil Joe is a pro with his calipers and solidoodle 3d printer. He replicated the spool in durable ABS plastic and Jabba made his triumphant return.

Jabba was rescued from the back corner of a thrift store shelf - his vintage faded name-tag sticker already in place.
Always stocked with no residue drafting masking tape and weighing in at 1/1000 ton Jabba is forever a soldier and friend to the AP studio.


Clockworks Release Four - delayed

I apologize for being less than informative lately. I have gotten some email inquiries about what is going on with release four so I figured I would write up a post. September has been tough, I hoped to have had Clockworks done and posted by now- unfortunately it is not the case.

It looks like it will not be up until early October.

Also, due to some poor choices when it comes to the AP and clockworks shirts. They are not going to happen. All orders for the shirts have been refunded. If you ordered a shirt and did NOT get a refund/email of deepest apologies. Please email and I will get it sorted (

I don’t know if we will end up even making AP shirts right now. Me and shirts are a complicated thing and as of right now I kinda hate t-shirts. but as usual that is subject to change. Cool thing about doing all this without a production co. is I get to do whatever the hell I want. Bad thing is I get to do whatever the hell I want.

In other news it snowed this morning - which combined with the late May snowfall means that our non-snowy months were a paltry four. Four is not a lot of months without snow.

Some pretty neat stuff in the works - not really one to do the whole “I can’t talk about it” thing, it’s not really that cool. Just collaborations and an intensely involved process video.

Since the release is so damn delayed, here are some photos of some of the R4 plates








Post release 3 notes

Release three went really well. It has been so busy since the 16th with packing and shipping orders. If you ordered before Wednesday the 21st - your order was shipped on the 22nd-23rd. And orders since the 21st will go out by the 28th.

I ordered these awesome Print Shop Primers from Work Press and Publication. They are totally sold out now but I wanted to include a copy in the first 20 orders from release three. Unfortunately due to an unfortunate collapse in the United States postal service, I still have not gotten them in.

I guess it will have to wait for release four.

Um, so as of today the launch and space variants are totally sold out. I have a couple artist proofs if there is someone who really wants one and missed out. Email the shop directly - the opportunity to get a set of the variants is gone.

It is really quite a bit doing this whole “series” “release” “printmaking” “stuff” This summer is just a blur of ink, paper, whiskey and tubes… so many tubes.

This is a pretty short post. Just saying HI and then getting back to work on release four.


Detail images of the Roccketships etching for release three of Antiquated Press Clockworks series. 3 4X6" plates printed individually and as a triptych on 12X21" Arches

Antiquated Press Fall t-shirt pre-order is posted on the shop section of our website

re-order runs till Aug 26th

Clockworks release three

release three of clockworks series posted late last night

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