The Arm Letterpress

The Arm Letterpress is a public access printshop in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Owner Dan Morris first setup shop in 2004, using the studio as his personal printing space and as a dedicated location for his equipment, but that quickly transitioned into a public studio and The Arm opened its doors in 2005. With a family printing history going back four generations, Dan has a wealth of printing and equipment knowledge and saw opening his space to the public as a great opportunity to share his skills with anyone interested in learning. Many of the presses at The Arm have been repaired and restored by Dan. He is always working on press projects and often has equipment for sale at the shop. When he’s not at The Arm, he also runs the letterpress shop at Cooper Union.

The Arm offers a variety of classes, from weekly introductory workshops to advanced printing options and Kelsey press restoration clinics. On any given day, the shop is bustling with a wide range of clientele who have rented press time: artists and designers, people learning to print their own wedding invitations, and folks just interested in trying something new and exciting. They also host special events, openings, and the occasional film screening; most recently opening their doors for a holiday benefit to raise money for the Hamilton Wood Type Museum’s relocation.

With their spacious shop, impressive equipment inventory (Vandercooks galore!), and knowledgeable staff, The Arm is the perfect studio for first timers and experienced printers alike.

Shop dogs have been quite a trend around here lately. Meet Henry, letterpress extraordinaire. Also pictured, a beautiful Kelsey/Cooks’s Victor.

One of multiple platen presses in the shop, a Chandler & Price Pilot.  Photo: Stefan Schein

No need to bring your own ink here. The Arm runs an ink co-op, maintaining a communal supply of Van Son rubber-based inks. Just bring in a can of ink the first time you print and then you’re all set.

Attention: This press is not to be used for printing poetry or uplifting material of any kind!

They have a pretty incredible collection of wood and lead type available to those working in the studio. Also a ton of great old cuts and (new!) catchwords.

Hartwick Hanson working on some new woodblocks.  Photo: Stefan Schein

The Arm’s type room, along with being home to a ton of great type, houses one of two R. Hoe & Co. iron handpresses in the studio. That’s also Dan’s personal Vandercook Universal III in the back.

Paper jogger!

Furniture, reglet, and a Kwikprint 86 foil stamp press. The black and white photograph above the furniture cabinet shows Dan’s family’s printshop, circa 1951. Very cool.

Tim Harrington working on a lockup. Tim was printing some great work (below) while I was milling around the shop.

Kelseys and cacti.  Photo: Stefan Schein

Next time you find yourself in Brooklyn, be sure to stop by The Arm for some letterpress goodness. Participate in a workshop, rent some press time, or bring home a press of your own! A big thanks to Dan (and Henry) for the showing me around the shop.

Thanks to Stefan Schein for contributing some photos.

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Categories: Printshop Tour

3 Responses to “The Arm Letterpress”

  1. Kyle says:

    Awesome shop!

  2. Jason Urban says:

    Great post, Josh. Happy to vicariously visit The Arm through you. Welcome aboard!

  3. beverly miniard says:

    Wow awesome shop. Thanx for shareingqq