Not wanting to put too much pressure on the printing team or end up with too many mis-printed precious sheets, I decided to build a paper placement jig. This contraption allows one person to handle a larger sheet of paper, place it with confidence on a little shelf perfectly aligned over the block, then lower the paper in perfect position.
The jig can then be retired to run the block through the press, and replaced to position the next sheet of paper.
Basically the paper-placement jig is a simple “kento” (Japanese registration guide) shaped foamboard construction.
Take foamboard strips and glue them together in a corner shaped “L”, checked with a square. I used two strips for the entire length of the contraption, about 22 inches long side and maybe 8 inches short leg.
I next cut enough smaller strips of foamboard to build up the paper-shelf supports in the corner and some distance along the long side.
I built it to the height of the block plus one layer because the block will be inked when the jig is placed next to the block and the paper shelf needs to be above the block.Next I glue a paper support “shelf” on the corner and a papr support shelf somewhere along the long side of the jig. I made these out of a contrasting blue matt-board to aid in visibility.
The corner shelf is below the square in the picture above, already secured with the paper guide made of foamboard on top. The long-side shelf shows the (blue) shelf before the paper guide goes in place.
Secure with another piece of foamboard, the paper guide, aligned to the exact place you want the paper to be. I offset the long side about a quarter inch because my paper is that much larger than the block (when centered, of course). You can see the pencil marks on the blue shelf above indicating where the paper guide will be.
Next picture is the completed guide placed against the block:
Next picture is paper placement, pretty self explanatory. Just place guide against the block, and place corner of paper against corner guide.
Hold paper in place with two fingers, guide with the thumb or however it works for you; the guide is very lightweight so it has to be held in place while placing the paper or it will shift away from the block.
Lower the long side of paper against the long-side guide, let the paper drop gently. Secure to the block with a caress of the hand and remove the paper guide before running the block through the press.
After a few tries and the invaluable "husband test" I glued a strip of rug-hug to the bottom of the paper-placement-jig so that now it does not slip at all when placing the paper. I hope the print-team is reading this, there will be a quiz before we begin!