Letterpress, Projects

The Press Renovation Continues

I have been rather neglecting this project and have made a new effort get it into a serviceable condition. Regular visitors to this blog may recall that this time last year I bought a tired, rusty blocking press that had been stood outside for some years. Initial cleanings revealed that the forme containing its last job in 1990 was still fastened in!

Since I took these images I have cleaned off the majority of the gunk and stripped back the loose paintwork and surface rust. Next was the problem of making a handle. The original was not with the press when I bought it and without it I haven’t yet turned the camshaft that moves the platen.

A jolly nice chap in the engineering department at college called Mark machined me a steel collar, complete with a grub screw!

I gave him the dimensions for this by cutting a square hole in a piece of thick card until it fitted snugly.

Problem was that the surface rust and probably a few years of abuse had taken its toll on the squared off section of the camshaft and that the new, precisely machine collar would not fit.

The solution was to file down each side, little by little, checking whether the collar fit – I was warned not to take off too much as the collar needed to be tight – the grub screw was only to keep it in place whilst in use and did not offer very much strength.

After a sweaty and frustrating half hour of filing and fitting, filing and fitting etc…

Click. A satisfying moment was enjoyed.

The next stage is to get a length of steel bar welded to the collar. Mark is going to attach a long piece than required to give me a little extra leverage. Once everything is moving and lubricated again, he will trim it back to a more ergonomic size. He will also attach some strengthening pieces around the collar and handle to reinforce it.

I am now going to continue cleaning up the bodywork and preparing it for a new coat of paint…


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