What is this wood block?

I have this 8” x 4” wood block that came with a bunch of miscellaneous supplies. Not sure what it is, hoping you all can help identify its purpose. It’s stamped Hamilton Mfg on the end grain, and has remnants of some fabric on the bottom.

Second question, if you know what this is… what kind of material is this? Looks like maybe cotton canvas? I was thinking I may want to… uh… reupholster it if it’s useful.

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Proof planer for rough proofs of copy. The covering is felt. To use, ink what needs to be proofed, set paper then set proof planer directly down on form (don’t slide it). You may rap it with a wooden mallet as you lift and set the planer across the area to be proofed. Crude, but good for finding the general fit of things on the stone.

Mikefrommontana is spot-on. “General Printing” by Cleeton, Pitkin and Cornwall (1963 and available as a reprint) discusses the proof planing technique in detail. Here are a couple pics from the book.
Jim DiRisio
The Norlu Press
Fayetteville, NC

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Ah, perfect! I figured it had something to do with typesetting, but obviously the keywords “type” + “wood” + “block” wasn’t getting me anywhere.

Thanks Jim for the book pages. I actually have that book somewhere around here, so I’ll go dig it out and have a read.

And this shows the two different blocks.

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