medicine and uses

We love our work

Apr 19 2013

There’s a lot we love about our work–running our own shop, playing with machines the size of a small house, always learning something new or improving a process, and getting to support creative radical endeavors. We love all of it, from greeting cards to poetry books to posters to zines and in between.

Here are two projects we printed this week that made us feel especially excited about our chosen line of work.

The Big Feminist BUT is an awesome comic anthology that we are all in love with.

Bikes in Space is a collection of feminist sci fi stories about bicycles!

Black Ink / Heavy Metal

Apr 02 2013

We recently started using recycled black ink, and we love it. It shows up by the pallet–we’re expecting a new shipment any day now.

Our own excess black ink no longer gets wasted; it goes in a drum that we ship back to Wisconsin to be recycled again. The company is almost ready to unveil full color CMYK recycled inks too, which we are of course excited about.

Some jobs use more ink than others, and this metal magazine is one of them. We used 25 pounds of ink on this–that is a lot of ink!

Greetings, cards

Mar 27 2013

Did you know that we love to make greeting cards here at 1984? Well, we do. Here’s a selection hot off the press of cards we printed up for Little Otsu.


See you at the Book Fair

Mar 15 2013

We’ve been working long days lately to get ready for one of our favorite events of the year, the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. This year it’s at a new location: the Armory Community Center, 333 14th Street, between Mission and Julian, from 10-6pm Saturday and Sunday, March 16th and 17th.

We’ll be there with a selection of samples that we’ve printed for you to examine as you think about your own projects. And of course, we will have a big stack of our ever-popular “Create, Scheme, Remember” blank books to give away. This year they even have an Orwellian theme.

You’re invited to drop by our table, pick up a blank book, and chat with Amy about your upcoming printing projects. See you there!


A new old toy

Mar 06 2013

We just got a new toy. It’s called a Hammond Ben Franklin TrimOSaw. It will be used to cut dies, wood furniture (that is, furniture for letterpress die cutting, not chairs for sitting in), and hopefully for cutting our new kitchen cabinets one day. Here are some pics. It’s real pretty, we think.

This week at the print shop: Zines and record sleeves

Feb 26 2013


This was a light week around 1984, after our hard push to finish the Food Atlas job. We finished up some exciting projects, and even more jobs are in the pipeline.

Here’s what we did this week:

– The Night Demon 7″ cover from Reinig Records.

– Antediluvian 7″ cover for Nuclear War Now Records.

– Replica 7″ cover from Prank Records.

Taking the Lane zine #9 from Elly Blue

– A new printing of Fine Fine Music for our favorite pal Cassie J. Sneider, just in time for her upcoming hometown parade float–most genius idea ever!

– And last but not least, a record-book hybrid, Empty Holes, Empty Homes from blossoming noise. The book comes perfect bound, with a flexi record as the last page that tears out easily for your immediate listening pleasure! Here’s a picture of the record-page:


We love printing for music projects as well as wordy projects. Check out our record sleeve pricing on our price list, or email us about a custom quote.

Food: An Atlas

Feb 20 2013

Food: An Atlas is literally a giant project. We started it last week, and now the books are done and ready to ship off to their new homes. We loved making these, and can’t wait for you to read them.

Marrying giant books

Feb 12 2013

FOOD: an Atlas by Guerrilla Cartography is possibly our biggest project ever. The book is a whopping 12″ x 12″ and consists of 172 pages of gorgeous full color, crowdsourced maps from all over the world.

When a book has too many sheets to collate in one pass, like this one does, we collate them in six sections that then get “married” together with a slip sheet at the end to separate them from the next book block. Don’t worry, we get all sorts of good jokes out of this.

The book is still in progress so you have to wait until next week’s blog post to see the finished product—but its going to be awesome! In the meantime, check out our pictures, and this feature about the project on NPR.

One week at the print shop

Feb 07 2013

photo (3)
Pictured above is a sampling of projects that we’ve printed and bound in the last week.

Lots of good stuff. We’re excited about what we’ve done and ready for next week!

A good day for perfect binding

Jan 31 2013

Amy and Honey at the Horizon BQ-270

Here at 1984 we do a lot of perfect binding. No, no, we don’t mean that our bindery skills have gone to our heads! Rather, “perfect binding” is how you put together a paperback book with a flat spine. By contrast, a zine or magazine usually has a “saddle stitched” binding — which isn’t stitched at all, it’s stapled. Confused yet?

Here’s a more technical description of the journey of a perfect bound book:

For a typical, half-size perfect bound book, we start by collating large flat sheets of your book with four pages that have been printed on each side of each sheet and a blank colored slip sheet added to the end of each set. We cut these sets in half and marry the two sections together. Then we cut it in half again, and voilĂ ! we have a book block ready to turn into a softcover paperback book.

Next, we drop the book block into a slot on Amy’s favorite machine at 1984, the Horizon BQ-270 perfect binder. This machine clamps the book block and moves it over a fast spinning saw blade, which mills notches and ridges into the book spine so that it will hold onto glue easily.

That’s the next station on the machine: spinning rollers coat the book block with melted hot, animal-free, starch-based glue. Then it quickly travels to the next station where a cover has been automatically fed in from a stack at the right side of the machine. Before getting this far, the cover already has passed over some scoring wheels to give the finished books a square spine and a lovely hinge score.

The fancy awesome machine places the gluey book block right on top of the cover. The table beneath the cover rises up and nips the cover around the book block. The machine brings the newly-bound book all the way back to where it started. A trap door opens and the book drops underneath to a vertical stacker. And then we do it all over again. The whole process for one book takes about 10 seconds. Once we have a stack of books, we bring them to the cutter, trim the excess paper off of three sides, and box ’em up!

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