In my father’s workshop in Uppsala in Sweden, where I first was taught printmaking, this magnificent old press reigned and was a magnet, but restricted, attraction for both us kids as well as the art-buying visitors in the workshop. Built in Leipzig, Germany, in 1895 it was a highly priced precision tool for my father who was very particular about printing quality. It was badly damaged in a fire in 2004, only weeks before my father passed away.
The press was basically just a partly cracked and rusty pile of steel junk when it was dismantled and mowed in parts to my workshop in Norway, there it stood covered but outdoors for several years until I had a water leakage in my workshop last year that prompted a major rebuilding.
The floor was reinforced and work began restoring the press. I wore out two steel grinders getting the rust of it and put some of the best mechanics in the region to the test making new parts to the gearbox and the oak bearings.
I also studied some untouched original Krause presses at the printing museum in Leipzig, Germany, before all was ready to move into the workshop and be mounted together. An interesting job since the heaviest parts are around 375 kilos, the whole construction comes at about 2000 kilos and the tolerances are in some places only 1/100 mm!
A new printing bed was ordered in composite material from Polymetal in the Netherlands and of course new blankets where fitted. Around December I could start to try printing with it. Nervously I turned the first print – it was perfect!
Amazing German precision, I know now why my father so much appreciated and depended on this wonderful machinery.