Wood Type love

As our studio hunt continues, I can’t help but link a bunch of sites I keep stumbling across.

We love wood type. Wood type is awesome, and I’m very pleased to note that we have a fair amount headed for the BPS studios (probably about 1 cabinet’s-worth, though it’s hard to guage when they’re all in paper-boxes, stored in an apartment). A LOT of it is a generic Futura knockoff, in a number of sizes (6, 8, 12, 18, and 25 line) and weights (standard and condensed widths) and some miscellaneous other fonts (Brush Script, Cooper Black, and Murray Hill, in various sizes), some unknown serifed font in 12 line (maybe?), and some mixed gothics of in various sizes and incomplete-ness.

We also have some gorgeous border material, and a wicked collection of numbers in 30, 60, and 120 line size (that’s 5 – 20 inches tall), and a nice set of calendar blocks.

But, as much as we love wood type, there are some people out there who might just love it more.

Nick Sherman is an outspoken typophile who runs While his day job involves digital font management, his real passion seems to be traveling the country and visiting incredible wood type collections around the country. showcases a lot of things, all typography related, and is an incredible source of interviews and in-depth looks at other people’s wood-type and typography-related projects. For even more drool-worthy wood type goodness, check out his flickr stream (also a winning source of manhole cover and pizza photos). is the pet-project of Bethany Heck, who is still in school (studying design of course!).

Named after the cut of wood typically used for making wood type, is a lot of things at once, including a source of interviews and studio profiles, an aggregate of flickr and twitter feeds, and a showcase of her personal collection. She was even interviewed by Nick Sherman about the site.

I have to say, what I find most fascinating is her dedication to reviving incomplete and rare fonts using modern technology. Besides, we all know that pantograph routers would have been replaced by laser-cutters if they’d had the technology at the time…

Oh, and should I also make note of the fact that her collection is VERY enviable..? because it is! Kudos Bethany, keep up the amazing work.

Then we take it back to the beginning of wood type adoration. Rob Roy Kelly literally wrote the book on wood type. One of our more coveted books here at BPS is this one:
It is very out of print right now, and being offered up on Amazon, used, for a cool thousand (and that’s the paperback version). Dang. Luckily for us common folk, the Rob Roy Kelly collection, which is housed at the University of Texas, Austin, is all available online. It’s a pretty vast site, so pour another cup of coffee and tuck in.

In short, wood type is pretty hot right now. The Hamilton Type Museum is finally functioning again, and the subject of a documentary called Typeface.

What is the likelihood that you, the BPS customer, will want to print with wood type? Maybe 50-50, if we’re lucky.

What’s the likelihood that we’ll keep collecting? 100%!


  1. Celene Aubry says:


    I just wanted to let you know that the Rob Roy Kelly book is being re-issued (exact reprint, no updating) by Liber Apertus Press:



  2. Glad to hear of the great work you’re doing. Nick Sherman is a great guy and on our Artistic Board. David Sheilds is the guy responsible for the Kelly collection in Austin. His article in the last APHA journal was most impressive. Don’t forget our good friends at Hatch Show Print in Nashville. Jim Sherraden carried the torch for all of us when no one else was interested in letterpress. Come visit Hamilton – anytime.

  3. Baltimore Print Studios says:

    Celene – This is excellent news, thank you so much. If I can pre-order, I will!

    Jim – how delightful to hear from you!

    We had a screening of Typeface here recently, so I almost feel like we’ve met already. I have tentative plans to visit you this summer. Somehow, Nick and I have yet to meet as well, but Jim Sherraden have become friends already.

    Thank you so very much for your support. I guarantee you’ll be seeing me soon.


  4. From one who has been to the Hamilton museum, I can’t recommend it more highly. If you’re a wood type geek, it’s like walking into heaven. I took a workshop there about 4 years ago. I imagine the place is even better now.

    I’m in the process of setting up my own shop and eager to finally pull my wood type out from storage.