Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gable: In all his glory...

Kevin- the Friendly Electrician...and 3000 coasters just WAITING to be printed


Gable- the last time he will see the treadle for a LONG LONG time...


I can't possibly believe this day has come. Gable is motorized!!

I won't fib to you all- it was touch and go there for a hot min. Between lying to the Grainger store that we actually had an 'account' there to purchase motors and having to return 3 (!!) in 3 days, I'm done talking about electricity and any kind of motor. My husband put on his amazing hat a few weeks back and was determined to help me put a motor on Mr. Gable.

It started innocent enough; Hubs bought a new motor when he saw how long I was in the studio printing- tirelessly with my foot treadle (which wasn't terrible, and I have amazing leg muscles... on the right side only)- and wanted to spend more time with me on our precious weekends. Pause for the 'awww' moment...what a keeper!!

When we bought Gable from his refurbed-beauty-parlor back in 2009, a motor was placed on him, but it didn't want to turn over once it was delivered and plugged in at the studio. Awesome. It probably didn't help that the motor was 100 years OLDER than Gable, but hey, it was probably pretty good in its early years. Hubs bought the exact 'newer' model of the same motor from Grainger and we dutifully had Phil the Electrician wire it all up. Hours later, the motor was turned on and SLOW turning of the back flywheel commenced. Like so slow I could read a chapter of twilight between prints. Listen, I may love that book, but I've got prints to pump out on this thing!

Okay, so we spent all day (on an hourly-paid electrician) on a motor that just wasn't right. I promptly exchanged it with a larger horsepower motor and decided to kicked it up a notch to include not one, but two electricians (can you see the $$ floating across my mind... I did). Another 6 hours of work later, the newest motor was installed. I'm not going to lie, I was excited. I was (still am...) days behind on some print orders and needed this to end in a victory for team Blush. The moment we turned it on, the motor was sluggish. oh no. We gave it a little help starting by turning the fly wheel (the large one on the left) and it started right up! YES!! A few seconds later, we noticed that it was INCREDIBLY fast and no matter how much we 'dialed' down the little switch, it was still in 'Kill Liz Mode.' Whatever, it was motorized, and I was happy. Phil and his buddy left me with the violent motor and I thought I could get a few orders out that evening.

I'm not sure if anyone reading has ever been in a near death experience- I sure hadn't before that evening- but Gable and I came dangerously close to sealing our fates together as one INSIDE of his platen (the part that opens and closes in the middle). It was downright vicious. I removed the newly installed motor instantly and put my poor treadle back on. Okay, back to square one.

Thousands of dollars later (yeah...) I decided it was time to call on the professionals of Briarpress (the most amazing online resource for letterpressers and printers) and found that not only were we using the wrong motor, we had the wrong switch AND it was going in the wrong direction. Whoops! Off to Grainger bright and early the next morning, Hubs returned home with a less expensive motor (woohoo!) and a little blue box (an on/off switch and speed regulator, essentially) from Japan that I swear could maneuver the space shuttles single handily. Phil spent less than hour putting everything back together- and knock me over with a feather, it WORKED!

Not to knock Grainger, but they only give you what you ask for, so words of wisdom: make sure you know what you need BEFORE you walk in there and start dropping barrels of cash.

Gable is officially motorized. I can't believe it! We just finished printing 2000 coasters and 500 belly bands for an order I can't WAIT to show you all!!

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