New wood typeface?

I’m wondering if anyone might know when the last new typeface was designed for commercial wood type production? Presumably, this might have been done for Hamilton or American Wood Type(?)

One of my university colleagues has designed a bracketed serif face that we’ll soon be producing in various sizes for sale to the public.

Getting to this point has been an interesting adventure over several years. Much of that time has been spent acquiring and restoring old machinery to get the job done. While much of this equipment is from the WWII era, the centerpiece is a somewhat newer pantographic mill with a reproduction ratio of 1:2.

The type will be produced in end grain maple and cherry. I have many additional patterns for faces that go back about 80 years.

If you have any info about when the last face was designed for wood type production, please let me know!

Thank you,

Craig Malmrose
Trade Union Press
[email protected]

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Craig…. that’s great to hear about your colleague’s wood type. Such efforts are needed to keep letterpress viable in the future. When you get some samples made, I’d love to see some pictures.

To answer your question: as far as I know, the last new wood-type design that was produced for sale was made last December. My shop has a 1930’s vintage pantograph, and we produced a series of fonts for a printmaker’s group in California. They designed it, and we carved out about 20 fonts of various sizes. We used our standard type-high side-grain cherry wood.

Since it was a private sale, I’m not sure if you could call it “commercially produced” though. After making it, we decided to not go into commercial production. While it did look like a potentially profitable undertaking, we decided that it would take away resources from our primary work.

Prior to that, the last new font to go to Wood Type production was by the Hamilton Wood Type Museum a few years ago….. as far as I know. They used to have a web-site up showing the whole process. I’m not sure if it’s still online.

I was just at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum last weekend for the celebration of their 10th Anniversary. There was a face there that was just recently cut as a two-color font. It was basically a Latin-looking font with a matching solid background with each character reversed out of the background. I spent a fair amount of time looking at this as was struck by the fact that there appeared to be way too much overlap between the solid letter itself and it’s reverse. I would think that there should certainly be some trapping between the two colors, but what I saw appeared to go way too far (in my opinion). Can’t tell you the name of the face, but I believe that someone mentioned that it had been designed by Mathew Carter.

To follow-up on my last comment. I did find the Mathew Carter face cut by Hamilton to be named Carter Latin. It was initially cut by Hamilton in 2003. There is a very informative book about Hamilton and the whole wood type cutting process named “Hamilton Wood Type - A History in Headlines” that is still available for sale at Hamilton.

Hello Craig,
I hope you will put some photos and info on your wood type project online. And where do those antique patterns come from? What faces are represented?

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

If it works, here’s a picture of the typeface Carter Latin from the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, WI. Designed by Matthew Carter. I heard they would be re-cutting the face since, they were having some issues using the pantograph on a font that relies on tight trapping, etc. As far as I know American Wood Type no longer cuts wood type and sold its entire operation (equipment, patterns, sorts, etc.) to an antique-type dealer about ten years ago.

image: Carter Latin at Hamilton.JPG

Carter Latin at Hamilton.JPG

Thank you all for this very helpful information. For Daniel Morris: The patterns I have are strictly wood type at this point, but once I produce prints, I’ll have these converted into quarter-inch magnesium plates that will serve as templates for the pantograph.
The Hamilton info and image is also helpful. I wasn’t aware that a new face had been designed for wood so recently.

Thanks again everyone!


Just a follow up to Foolproof 546 and PressRun’s comments — the freshly cut Cartin Latin Wide will be unveiled next weekend at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum’s Weekend Wayzgoose.

Also, the Museum is going to start cutting another font, Lushootseed, based on Juliet Shen’s digital font of the same name that she designed for Native Americans on the Tulalip Reservation in Washington, to preserve their language. There’s more information about this font and the Wayzgoose on the Hamilton Museum web site: