help: what search terms to use to find vendors?

Hi all! It’s great to see a friendly and helpful community here!

I’m Morrigna. I’m completely new and this may sound weird.

I’m gathering some research/information before actually starting anything. You know, the usual - want to make some calls to see if doing my own letterpress ephemera is actually something practicable or if I should just let someone else do it. I would really love to do it myself, though.

I’ve managed to find information on presses, spare parts for presses and how to set it up. I’m pretty nifty with machinery and don’t mind getting my fingers dirty so I see no problems there.

I have had problems trying to locate/find vendors locally who would be able to erm…how do I say this… transfer my digital work into wood/ magnesium plates/ photopolymers for me to use with a press.

It seems silly but I don’t know what search terms to use to check my local yellow pages with. Do I put in “wood carver”? Or magnesium cutter? Or …? I’ve tried variations, with not much luck. Is there a term in industry-speak that I can use to describe what it is that they do? Searching for “photopolymers” brought me to this vendor that I think does it for large scale operations :(

I’m also looking for ink suppliers. Again, is it just “ink supplier”? Because that didn’t seem to work either :(

I live in Singapore and letterpress isn’t big here. A lot of people go for ready-mades; I think it’s the pace of life here. Too busy; no time. I don’t like ready-mades. I like personal. Because of this discrepancy, I find it difficult to find suppliers and all because although I know where to look, I don’t know how to look for the information.

As a last resort, I’ll ship all these from overseas. (You guys in the US and UK are SO lucky!) But it’s just so so SO ineffective a use of my resources if I can get them local. Shipping weighty stuff is really expensive and the back and forth is too time consuming to be feasible.

Any help here would be extremely useful and will be met with much, much gratitude.

Thanks all in advance!

(I hope this wasn’t too lengthy. Sorry if it is. Just wanted to explain my situation so I didn’t sound whiny and too lazy to search for myself. I did try!)

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I don’t think this is a yellow pages kind of search.

The first thing I would do is find anyone in the area that does letterpress so you can get over there and see what they have. I would try to find different sizes of shops so you can see how different they are. See if they will let you take photos and then takes lots of them. Make notes as to what size presses and kinds of presses they have. What kind of ink do they use? Do they have a kind of paper they generally keep in stock. See what kinds of work they are printing. Be sure to look for things that are like the things you want to print. Ask where they get their supplies. They probably did the searching and have figured out the best places to go. It doesn’t sound like you are going to be competing with them much and I’ve always found letterpress printers were willing to share much more information with me than I thought they would.

The main issue is look at things first hand. Then worry about what you need to search for.

Try looking for “engravers” for your dies/printing blocks/cuts.
After you find one locally, they can probably help you find ink and paper suppliers too.

“Photoengraver” would be more specific than “engraver” in the US, but who knows what may be the best in Singapore. Also try “platemaker”, though that would include lithographic use, as would “pre-press service”.

Thanks for the input!

@leadgraffiti I will try to find letterpress printers in Singapore, but it’s really quite difficult :/ I’ve found 3 online shops that have businesses here, but they may be worried about competition, even if I’m only doing it for my personal use. Who knows, right?
Then we have the big industrial types that will probably not want to trouble themselves with a small fry asking silly questions and wanting to take photos. But I WILL try anyway.

@girl, parallel: Thanks for the terms. I will try these searches. I do hope they’d have a care-and-share attitude about their suppliers :) A preliminary search yielded about 4 companies which were not themselves doing gifts and cards. I sense hope in the air!

Once again, thanks everyone! :) If anyone else has other ideas, would love to hear them too!

Well, don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you even try. You’d be surprised how much people who take pride in their craft enjoy having visitors to talk to and explain the process to. I would try those shops you found again.

Even with industrial plants, it’s not uncommon to have a marketing or PR person who will set up tours. But perhaps it’s different in Singapore. Nothing lost by trying!

Again, Dean Bornstein in Peacham, Vermont is a wood block cutter as is Jimmy Grashow in New York. Jimmy has a website. Dean is at the perpetua press in Peacham.

@vrooooom You’re absolutely right. I will try to give them a go, even though most industrial types here give tours to groups. Nothing’s gained by me just sitting around so ill go for it! Thanks!