Back in 2020 I was asked to make these unusual turned items – ink ballstocks. A turned handle was to be fitted to a bowl shaped turning. This had thick walls so pins or tacks could be fitted. A covering which was to be ink proof was cut to shape. Leather was chosen for historic accuracy. This small leather sheet was secured to the rim and then the bowl was stuffed with wool and cotton. The surplus leather was then trimmed off. I made a matching pair in sycamore wood.
This library photo shows ink ballstocks in use, transferring ink to the printing plates.
This pair was commissioned to be exhibited in the main library of the University of Coimbra, in Portugal. They were to accompany a late 18th century iron and wood hand press – probably the oldest existing iron hand press in the world.
The customer also asked me to make another pair for use on his own hand wood press in his studio, for more day to day printing. I turned a groove on the outer rim of these bowls, to allow a fastening cord to hold the leather covering in place. The customer could then add more stuffing material as and if required.