I’ve printed thousands of shirts by hand in my life and seen thousands more. We have not done any in my shop for about ten years though. Today we got back into it, you can see our new Workhorse manual press and flash. We got it to do experimentation mostly, to do production. You can see KC there printing. He thinks that you can do better with a manual than an auto. I have to say I disrespectfully disagree. By hand you basically are trying to print like a machine only you can’t be as consistent. You also can never generate as much pressure or speed as an auto, thereby limiting the range of what you can do. You can have vary the angle of print as you do the print stroke, but that doesn’t gain you that much. I would be interested to hear what our readers say, but I think manuals give you carpal tunnel syndrome and not a lot more.
That said, I started on a hand press and many great printers I know started on hand presses and we all think it gave us a gut understanding for printing that you don’t get if you start on an auto. Of course not many want to go back to it, as it takes tremendously good form to avoid sore backs, wrists, etc.