A Tool for the Type Case

Tin Can Tips

Another tool review for a product that I am receiving no affiliate money or advertising fees. I didn’t even get a free one. But I must endorse this tool as probably the best thing for quickly cleaning out a type case while causing the least amount of damage to the type. Read on.

Type cases collect dust and debris – and some of the nastiest, at that. Toxic stuff like mouse droppings and lead oxide.

My first go at cleaning dusty cases involved a conveniently-sized window screen and compressed air. Outside, of course, standing up-wind. Later I fabricated a vacuum attachment from metal lathe, duct tape, and a crevice tool. This worked better, but still had a tendency to pick up, jostle, and rearrange the type into the wrong compartments.

A few years ago, while watching the overhead television at the dentist’s office, I saw an advertisement for a product that I knew was designed for the letterpress collector. I literally kept expecting to see a quick cut of a dimly-lit, gray-haired, old guy in a printer’s apron, touching up his font of Garamond. I rushed right home and ordered one for an astonishingly low price.

What is this light-saber-looking tool? The Dust Daddy. Attached to the sucking end of a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner, flexible suction tubes can be worked into the tightest corners, and suck up dirt, delicately between even the smallest type. All without picking up type and dislocating them to adjacent spaces.

While maybe not durably built for daily industrial use, it meets the needs of occasional clean-up jobs. A few of the tubes have come loose, and had to be epoxied back into place, but that was merely an inconvenience. The included 1-1/4″ hose adapter has since cracked, but still works.

When this one completely fails, or is lost, or stolen; and unless a competitor makes a better knock-off, I will absolutely have to buy another Dust Daddy.