Detroit native Jack White opened Third Man Records in Detroit in 2015 inside an old parking garage.
Then in February 2017 he went that extra Detroit mile and opened an in-store vinyl pressing plant! You can watch records being pressed in the back of the store.
Periodically, Third Man offers tours of the Detroit plant for $15.00 per person.
The pressing plant features bright yellow floors and workers in blue jumpsuits and black gloves, and sorta looks like a Willy Wonka factory.
This tour is highly recommended.
If it’s sold out, stay tuned for the next month’s list of tours. They only take about 12 people per tour.
Fortunately, the Jobbie Crew has toured Third Man before and we wholeheartedly recommend doing it.
Third Man is know for their tri-color vinyl (which is hard to do, just like split-color). They do custom blends here and even have their own Stamper Library of record stampers.
How are records made?
An extruder melts the plastic. Granular PVC from Thailand is compressed into a puck-sized shape. This puck of PVC is melted to 300 degrees. The record label gets pressed into the plastic.
Dinker machine punches out the center hole. Every record has an RCA hole, so it’s easy for jukeboxes. Grinder machine grinds down old records, they sell the re-grind.
They have an oven where they pre-bake the labels, bake them overnight, then they stamp them into the records.
Metal stamper is attached to a mold. No dirt can be between stamper and mold, it will indent the record. The record is cut onto an acetate disc and etched with a lathe. A metal master is made from that.
You get about 1,000 records per stamper.
Test Pressings are from when the record is first cut.
Third Man Cass Corridor will eventually make their own metal plates and even print album covers in-house.
Workers usually work here Wednesday-Sunday shifts. Monday’s and Tuesday’s are for boiler and chilled water maintenance.
Yes, they perform audio quality control. Qualified guys listen to the records front to back, then the operator makes adjustments based on their recommendations. Audio quality control listen to every 20th or 25th record.
Afterwards, if its open, check out the hidden Motor City Brew Works loading dock bar squeezed between Third Man Records and Traffic Jam.
What: Tour Third Man Vinyl Records
When: March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2023
Where: Third Man Records (441 W. Canfield st, Detroit, MI)
Times: one-hour long tours begin at 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
BUY TIX here @ Third Man Detroit vinyl pressing plant tours ($15.00 per person)
Third Man Detroit quarterly vault subscription membership
Third Man Detroit Cass Corridor Pressing Plant