Pressing Questions
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8 hours ago, Tony S said:

 

Every professional presser no doubt started out to some degree as a DIY presser. Because there are no college degree or even classes on pressing comic books. However - there are college degrees and books on library sciences, paper conservation and restoration, book binding and related.  There is the library of Congress website and the Northeast Document Conservation Center website.  William Sarill - who brought professional level restoration to the comic book field in the late 1970's - was an engineer by trade.  But he spent years studying paper and conservation techniques and applied those to comics. 

Which is the difference between most of the "I want to learn how to press comics" and the smaller number of pros. Not one pro to my knowledge ever became a professional by watching YouTube videos or posting up questions on social media "Would someone please write down for me step by step how to press comic books?" Why would someone who put the years in doing the research and practice answer that question - and the near endless questions that will follow for a year or longer as they encounter all the various different books, paper, construction and inks? 

It's not some cult of secrecy. It's a matter of there is no good reason to spend the time answering the questions. You want to learn - learn the same way. Using the resources mentioned. You want a pressing for dummies - well - it's out there. And it is mostly dumb advice. 

This is the answer !!! put the work in ! 100 percent

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I can remember a few years back a board member PMing me many questions about pressing and how I do things. I politely declined to share any information. A day later he started a thread asking the forums on how to press and expressed his displeasure on how selfish I was since I would not share what I have learned over the last 13 years. 

Good times. 

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4 minutes ago, joeypost said:

I can remember a few years back a board member PMing me many questions about pressing and how I do things. I politely declined to share any information. A day later he started a thread asking the forums on how to press and expressed his displeasure on how selfish I was since I would not share what I have learned over the last 13 years. 

Good times. 

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues, and you know it don't come easy.

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On 12/20/2018 at 8:19 PM, Ride the Tiger said:

Exactly. For some reason it is ok to pursue basically anything on this board with the exception of learning to press books. Why? I have no idea. I guess there are enough of them already? Kinda like telling a kid playing baseball not to try and play in the major leagues because there are too many baseball players already. Now watch as I catch poop for my comparison. I'll get the old "you can't even begin to compare the two" line. Never set your goals high. You might reach them.

I agree. 

I don't understand all the discouraging remarks. Working on books is simply another aspect of the hobby that one can enjoy. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to learn how to press and/or restore books. Why not encourage him to go about it the right way if he is serious enough to take the time to learn? 

The four or five big names in the field aren't entitled to a monopoly. They ALL started with the same question asked by the OP - how is it done and how can I learn more. 

Bad books hitting the market? Simple solution. Don't buy them. (shrug) Almost every comic out there has a defect of some sort, be it from a bad press job or bad handling or even outright abuse. What's the difference? 

Anyone with any common sense would hone their craft on dollar box drek. I don't think anyone is going to be starting with HOS92, ASM129, GSXM 1, IH181, etc. 

 

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17 minutes ago, joeypost said:

I can remember a few years back a board member PMing me many questions about pressing and how I do things. I politely declined to share any information. A day later he started a thread asking the forums on how to press and expressed his displeasure on how selfish I was since I would not share what I have learned over the last 13 years. 

Good times. 

How did you learn how to press? 

Trial and error? 

Did someone share trade secrets with you? 

Was there a class available or some sort of literature to give you a start? 

I understand wanting to protect your business. After all, if everyone knew how to do what you do, they wouldn't need you to do it for them. 

But everyone was a noob at some point...and I bet you destroyed your fair share of books as you honed your craft. 

Edited by newshane

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I know nothing about pressing but I do know that trial and error are a big part of it having talked to a few pressers in the past. The dollar bin at your LCS is your friend.  Beginners are allowed to make any number of mistakes on their dollar to learn.  I used Joey post a number of years ago when that other 4 letter grading company was just starting. His work was great but I had to wait a looonnnngggg time for the service. As I look at the TATs for CCS I see alot of long waits also. The more people that learn to perform this service the correct way IMO the better!

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45 minutes ago, newshane said:

How did you learn how to press? 

Trial and error? 

Did someone share trade secrets with you? 

Was there a class available or some sort of literature to give you a start? 

I understand wanting to protect your business. After all, if everyone knew how to do what you do, they wouldn't need you to do it for them. 

But everyone was a noob at some point...and I bet you destroyed your fair share of books as you honed your craft. 

Excellent post. I've said it a million times: protecting "secrets" is meaningless. Pressing is an art as much as a science. Anyone can buy a press and smash books into submission. It takes a certain temperament to do it properly. And by "properly", I mean  "you can't tell if the book has been pressed", the vast majority of the time, and the flaws you got out don't come back.

I share my process all the time. I've made mistakes, as everyone has. And I've paid for those mistakes, in more ways than one. But I also have a solid body of work behind me that I'm pleased with, and I think my clients are, as well. The people who want instant results, and the people who care more about the label than the book, and the people who want wonderful results for a ridiculously low price, will all get what they paid for. 

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13 minutes ago, Ride the Tiger said:

 I used Joey post a number of years ago when that other 4 letter grading company was just starting. His work was great but I had to wait a looonnnngggg time for the service. As I look at the TATs for CCS I see alot of long waits also. The more people that learn to perform this service the correct way IMO the better!

Part of the reason for the long turnaround is that a good presser will let the book sit for a while to see if it reverts to its old condition - which happens quite often. 

Why press the book and have it revert while waiting to be graded? I imagine that's part of the reason why people are astonished when they see "pressable defects" on a book that's already been pressed. 

I know that in today's world, patience is a quality that is becoming increasingly rare. We want it NOW! But that's not how good pressing works. 

Edited by newshane

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7 minutes ago, newshane said:

We want it NOW! But that's not how good pressing works. 

Not only that, but we want it for nothing, compared to the effort it takes. $12 to press a book with a 1/4" bend in the corner? Sure. $12 to press a book that started out as a deslabbed 6.5, and you want to get it into the 9+ range, without adding additional damage....?

Not so quick.

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1 hour ago, newshane said:

How did you learn how to press? 

Trial and error? 

Did someone share trade secrets with you? 

Was there a class available or some sort of literature to give you a start? 

I understand wanting to protect your business. After all, if everyone knew how to do what you do, they wouldn't need you to do it for them. 

But everyone was a noob at some point...and I bet you destroyed your fair share of books as you honed your craft. 

To be honest it was a combination of all the above. I did a tremendous amount of research regarding every single aspect of the work and materials. I reached out to more experienced individuals and was basically told the same thing “don’t give up and you will figure it out”. So I took a less direct approach and was taught other “techniques” that greatly aided me in working with paper products. 

Despite the on-line tutorials and list of DIY steps and instructions (most of these are nothing more than a money grab or a tutorial by someone who wants to be king of the nerds knowing how desperate some are to learn), you have to spend time (and lots of it) to do it right. And I’m not talking about the chest thumpers who can press a 9.6 or 9.8 into a 9.8. I’m talking about working with books that are a mess and getting multiple grade bumps. Unfortunately most don’t go through this process and do ruin books that they have no right working on. 

While most may not believe what I say, I know from experience and the books I get in that there are hundreds, if not thousands of books being ruined or lowered in grade by many who profess to be experienced pressers  

I wouldn’t say I messed up my fair share of books. Early on I spent almost 8 months before I pressed my first book from the time I received my first press. But that’s how I am with most things. I like to have a full working knowledge of things before ever starting. I guess that’s why I have been somewhat successful in most of my endeavors. Given the volume I maintain I am well at six sigma levels, maybe above. But, mistakes do and will happen. You can work on 5 copies of the same book and each one will behave differently based on how they were stored  

In reference to your last point there are many dealers that know how to press, yet they send me their books because they understand that outsourcing makes sense. Most of my regulars have a detailed knowledge of the process and still continue to send me books.  My thinking is I would rather pay someone who will get me the greatest chance at the highest grade, compared to doing it myself. Save $15 pressing my own book to a 9.6 and lose $150 when the guy who buys it from me sends it out to get pressed up to a 9.8. 

Personally I love all the DIY guys and gals out there. I buy their books whenever I can, as it is almost a guaranteed upgrade. 

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1 hour ago, Ride the Tiger said:

I know nothing about pressing but I do know that trial and error are a big part of it having talked to a few pressers in the past. The dollar bin at your LCS is your friend.  Beginners are allowed to make any number of mistakes on their dollar to learn.  I used Joey post a number of years ago when that other 4 letter grading company was just starting. His work was great but I had to wait a looonnnngggg time for the service. As I look at the TATs for CCS I see alot of long waits also. The more people that learn to perform this service the correct way IMO the better!

Unfortunately for me most of that extra TAT was caused by the other 4 letter grading company. Now that I am no longer associated with them (professionally) in any way, TAT’s have become better. Worst professional decision I have ever made since I based it, not on knowledge but friendship. 

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This is Joey's livelihood, I don't expect him to hand out tutorials on how to be 50% as good as him. For 5 seconds I thought about getting one of those cheap presses and experimenting, but seemed hardly worthwhile as I would never do it for a book that had any potential for a slab. I can probably just iron some of my dollar box beaters into being $1.25 books. I weigh 318 pounds, so I can probably compact 12 hours of pressing into 15 minutes just by putting my weight into it.

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41 minutes ago, joeypost said:

Unfortunately for me most of that extra TAT was caused by the other 4 letter grading company. Now that I am no longer associated with them (professionally) in any way, TAT’s have become better. Worst professional decision I have ever made since I based it, not on knowledge but friendship. 

Glad it all worked out for the better. Believe me, I invested a lot of time and money in that other company too and got nothing but heartache. I guess we're both on the road to recovery. hm

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4 hours ago, newshane said:

Part of the reason for the long turnaround is that a good presser will let the book sit for a while to see if it reverts to its old condition - which happens quite often. 

Why press the book and have it revert while waiting to be graded? I imagine that's part of the reason why people are astonished when they see "pressable defects" on a book that's already been pressed. 

I know that in today's world, patience is a quality that is becoming increasingly rare. We want it NOW! But that's not how good pressing works. 

Now on this point, I am in total agreement. Good post !

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27 minutes ago, Bomber-Bob said:

Now on this point, I am in total agreement. Good post !

This is the main reason I stopped doing on-site pressing. 

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32 minutes ago, Bomber-Bob said:

Now on this point, I am in total agreement. Good post !

I learned long ago that if I wanted to get any of the "big guys" to press one of my books, that I would have to be willing to part with the book for up to three or four months...and I'm fine with that. 

Of course, I am a collector and not a flipper. I've found the impatient ones are often the folks looking to make a quick buck. 

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44 minutes ago, joeypost said:

This is the main reason I stopped doing on-site pressing. 

Another good point ! In theory, on site pressing does not work. While the books may grade well because they are literally 'hot off the press' and shown to CGC, there is a good chance some may revert in the slab. Besides, since the onsite pressing was taking up all your time, you couldn't enjoy yourself at these cons. 

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22 hours ago, Buried Under Comics said:

If only someone who claimed to have a list of dealers who press all their books shared it with the community, it would be much easier to avoid these manipulators hm

 pitchforks!

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