To accomplish copy preparation efficiently, basic tools and equipment are necessary. The handwork tools are few and relatively inexpensive. Each copy preparer maintains a set of these basic tools for his personal use. Other equipment to be described will list those machines needed to complete the copy preparation workrooms.
Preparers use a desk-size work surface. Ideally, these desks are equipped with an adjustable tilt top and a built-in light box which also is adjustable to tilt upward or to be flush with the desk top. Desks which do not have integral light boxes are adapted for copy preparation by the use of portable light boxes. These must be set aside when work at hand requires unobstructed surface space. Use of layout grids in film-positive form on the light boxes provides a means to keep pasteups square and in alinement.
Other general equipment located for convenient use by preparers includes electric typewriters for typing miscellaneous camera copy lines such as imprints and signature lines; electric wax adhesive machines for coating the backs of paper and film reproducibles with a pressure wax adhesive for use in pasteup operations; line-up and register tables for accurate pen-and-ink ruling of grids, layout guides, rule forms, and for lining up and registering of color copy and overlays.
A special item useful in pasteup of form and bookwork is the portable drawing board equipped with a sliding horizontal straightedge. Paste-ups on these boards are lined up rapidly by the preparer as he slides the straightedge over the copy. As in the case of the portable light boxes, these drawing boards rest on the preparer’s desk top while in use and are set aside when not in use.
A preparer’s basic set of small handtools includes a knife for cutting paper or film, a set of plastic triangles for alining and squaring paste-ups, a plastic folder for burnishing down pasteups, measuring tools such as a flexible tape and a line gage marked in inches and picas, a slide rule for determining camera focus in reducing or enlarging reproducibles, and necessary marking instruments, including photographic and nonphotographic pens and pencils.
Many extra tools of the trade are used on special types of work handled by preparers, among which are lithographer’s scribing and cutting needles, opaque brushes, draftsman’s pen sets, and magnification lenses.