October 06, 2003

O, Happy Monday

So anyway, I arrive at the shop this morning. I ran out of metal plates last week and my local printing supplies supplier didn't have any in stock, so they're back-ordered. Since they wont be arriving 'til later in the afternoon I decide to run some envelopes using paper plates.
(Y'see, I can't use paper plates on two-color jobs; they dry out too fast.)

So anyway, the boss comes in and says "Roberta needs her letterhead right away. Can we get it run today?"
"Sure," I said. "As soon as the metal plates arrive."

So I called the local supplier to see if UPS had arrived yet. "Oh, honey, let me have a look," Vikki said as she put me on hold.
"They haven't arrived yet. Let me call UPS and see where they are and I'll get right back to you, okay Sweetie?"
"Okay, Vikki. Thanks!"
I put the envelopes on hold and started warm-up the Multi 1360.
Vikki called back.

"I just talked to the shipper and the plates wont arrive until Wednesday or Thursday."
"Oh, fercryin'outloud," I muttered.
"It seems everything backed up because of the Hurricane, and deliveries from Florida are taking 7 shipping days," she informed.

So anyways, I made a few phone calls to other print shops in the area. Couldn't find anyone else who uses the same kind/size plates that I do.
Vikki called back again.

"I have a sample pack of three plates," she said excitedly. "If you can pick them up you can have them!"
So I hopped into the truck and hit the highway to go the four exits west on I-95 to the supplier, picked up the plates, and headed back to the shop.

I grabbed the negatives for Roberta's letterhead from the file box and burned the black plate (it's a two-color letterhead; black and burgandy).
I applied the developer chemical and began to wipe away the non-image coating.
But it left a haze left on the plate; it wasn't clean. So I rubbed a little harder, and the image started to fade.
D'OH!! This plate requires a different chemical than my regular plates!
I called Vikki again.

"I can't use the Graphline chemicals on the BGI plates," I said.
"Oh, let me see what I have, honey. Hold on!"
I held.
"Okay, I have some BGI developer and fixer," she gloated. "Come and get it, it's yours!"

So I hopped into the truck and trekked on over and then back with the developer.
Burned another plate. Applied the developer. It didn't even fade the coating! I may as well have been using water!
I called Vikki again.

"This chemical is for BGI N-2000 plates," I had read off the bottle. "The plates are BGI NA-812."
"Oh, honey, let me look around and see what I can do!"
"Okay, thanks!!"
Vikki called me back.

"Okay, Mary said she has ten or eleven Graphline plates," she said. "Come and get them and they're yours!"
I hopped into the truck and... you know.

So, I've finally got the right plates and the right chemicals and I burned the plates. I needed to check and make sure what the burgandy shade was, as there seemed to be a dispute about it. I opened the job box and what do I find inside? Two new negatives! The dang thing had been redesigned and nobody warned me!! Argh!!

So anyway, I masked and stripped the new negatives and made two new plates. Next thing was to mix the ink.
PMS 222: 16 parts Rubine Red, 4 parts Black. Grabbed the black and...rubine...rubine.. Where's my Rubine Red? I have no Rubine Red!!
I called Vikki again.

"We have none in stock," she told me after I'd been on hold for a few minutes, "But I can order some!"

But, hold on a sec; I have Bourdeax Red, and that's close to PMS 221. It's not an exact match, but close enough for my printer's ink guide to suggest it as a substitute. So all I gotta do is add some black to the Bourdeax; it's okay!

The press is well-moistened, inked and ready to go!

If you've never had to set a hairline registration on an offset press lemme tell ya: it can be pretty tedious. There aren't adjustments fine enough on this press to make lining up the colors quick or easy, and this is one of those jobs where some of the words have the first letter in burgandy and the remainder of the word in black. When you gotta line this stuff up at the top and bottom of the sheet, it can be a long process of hit and miss until you magically get it right.

After about forty-five minutes of getting the two colors in perfect straightness and registration I noticed that the ghostly fleur de Lis (a shadowy screen of the company's logo in the center of the page) was missing.
"Huh?" I said, "I know I unmasked it!"
Checking the new image against a sample of the old one, it's clear that the new negatives were made with the wrong screen! We gotta get new negs!!

So anyway, it was now 5:00. I went home. Roberta can have her stinkin' letterhead tomorrow.

Posted by Tuning Spork at October 6, 2003 09:29 PM

Sounds like you had one of MY days. Mine wnet pretty well today, except for the concession sign falling down.

Posted by: Susie at October 7, 2003 01:20 AM

And I thought that *I* had problems?


Posted by: Emperor Misha I at October 7, 2003 03:59 PM

Yeah, rough Monday.

(great use of the wall graphic)

Posted by: Daniel at October 8, 2003 03:37 PM

Ah, one of those days, yes.

Mind you, I wish you were printing our stationery.

"It's a different colour!"
"It's the closest match we had."
"It's in a different font too!"
"Looks the same to me."
"And the paper's the wrong size! It's half a centimeter short!" (This is standard A4, pretty hard to get wrong.)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at October 9, 2003 01:38 AM

"Um...(*holding one slightly closer*)...Looks the same to me."

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 9, 2003 02:03 AM

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