Sunday, March 1, 2015

Letterpress Setup - Installing the Rollers

As we have proceeded head long into our Letterpress adventure, I've learned so much through trial, error, and Google searches that I thought I would document what we've experienced through a series of posts. 

Our Letterpress baby is a 1928 Chandler & Price 10x18 with a Kluge Automatic Feeder. We live in a small house so our C&P resides in the garage tucked away in a corner until we want to use it. 

After we brought it home and took stock, we determined that before we could actually use it, we had to purchase some items and have the electric motor re-wired to 110,

The electrical work was completed first. The motor looks to be pretty old and the electrician said it'll work fine; however, just be sure to where good shoes whenever I touch the metal on the press. 

I purchased a Boxcar base, which I will discuss in a different article, some other odds and ends, and we had to have the rollers recovered. 

White trucks on the end of the rollers 
We found a local company, Imperial Rollers who has a good reputation. We dropped the originals off and Imperial had them back to us in about a week. I'll say this, I felt Imperial Rollers was a great company, has pleasant people, and were reasonably priced. When we dropped the rollers off, the owner commented that they appeared to be original. He took a knife and sliced one of them open to show us that they were made of animal fat - Yuck. Now they are a nice blue synthetic material.

The C&P has the ability to hold three rollers. Depending on what you need to ink, you can use all three, two at one time, or just a single roller.

In order for the rollers to roll across the Ink Disk and chase, each roller has to have two trucks - one on each end. The Trucks then roll along the rail allowing the rollers to spin collecting and deploying ink. 

Original truck that came with the press

When we bought the press it came with 15 trucks. All but three of the original trucks were the wrong size. 

We were able to salvage two and make them work with one roller for our initial test; but, we needed at least four more trucks so we could have the option of using two or all three rollers at one time. 

New trucks we purchased at NA Graphics

After a little research, we found a company, NA Graphics, that sells all types of letterpress accessories. I was able to purchase new white plastic trucks which arrived in less than a week. 

We slid the new trucks into position on each end of the roller and were ready to install the rollers onto the press. 

The rollers sit in saddles on the press. 

In my opinion, installing the rollers into the saddles is a two person job. The tension on the saddles is very strong, so you need one person guiding the roller into one saddle and another working the roller into the saddle on the other side. 

Installing the rollers
We decided to use two rollers for this initial run.

Here are the steps we followed to install the two rollers.

  1. Roll the saddles to the top of the Ink Disk.
  2. One person stands on the right side of the press and angles the roller to the left side (as if you were facing the Ink Disk).
  3. The person on the left side, pulls the bottom of the two roller saddle, up and out. This allows the roller to slide into the saddle. The truck will then be resting on the rail.
  4. Once the left side is in, the person on the right uses the 2" rod that sticks out on the saddle to help push the saddle out and over the roller. Again, the truck will be resting on the rail.
  5. Repeat the process for the top roller. 

Rollers installed

Once the rollers were installed we were ready for the next step - measuring the depth between the rollers and chase which will be the topic for the next article in this series. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! 


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