Equipment in use at
                Excelsior Press Museum Print Shop
The Excelsior Press

Blog - 2019

A somewhat frequent update of events at
- and new links for the web site of -
the old Excelsior Press Museum Print shop
in Frenchtown, NJ

Kelsey Presses at
                              Excelsior Press Museum
Kelsey Presses - all common sizes
click image for close up
images with blue borders can be clicked to open a larger version with more detail.

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New Blog for 2019


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January 8, 2019 -

Well, so it begins.
Another year begins at The Excelsior Press Museum Print Shop.

But this year won't be like last year - not so much is likely to happen in the print shop this year. Due to extenuating circumstances and family commitments and obligations, I have had to make a decision between my family's needs and those of the Letterpress Community.

As you might have guessed, the family won out. Accordingly, I am cutting back my "shop hours" to a great extent. And, although I will likely be "in" for a few hours each day - to complete current projects, keep existing promises and ship parts and supplies for which orders have already been placed, I will be avoiding - as much as possible - any new projects.

I may not be able to respond promptly to emails and messages, so please accept my apology in advance of your query.

I already have 6 presses in the process of restoration and a number of orders of type cases and cabinets to ship and many ink rollers to cast, but beyond that - and hopefully restocking some of the "Things we make here", please don't expect me to be able to respond - even to simple inquiries - as quickly as I would like.

This may change as time goes on, so be assured. I am "OK" - just overwhelmed with a variety of things which need my attention at this time. As my time frees up, I will be back in the shop, printing, making parts, restoring presses and filling orders for supplies. - and I will happily post announcements here.

- Alan

February 12 -

So. The dust is beginning to settle on some of the larger issues that faced me last month, but there is still a lot of catch-up to do, so we're still unable to respond promptly to inquiries. But we are beginning to catch up.

Watch this space for continued updates as we begin to get back to work on a more productive schedule....

February 17 -

Well, I may not be doing much here in the shop, but one of our friends just had a nice spot on NJTV News -

Our friend Bob Bozzay set up the print shop at New Jersey Olde Town Village in Piscataway, NJ  last year using his father's unique old press - an actual and very rare Baltimore Jobber #4 from the 1800s - which he brought out of the basement and set up in one of the old buildings at New Jersey Old Towne Village.

We are honored to have cast the ink rollers used on his old Baltimore Jobber. These were custom-cast to fit his press using 20-durometer polyurethane rubber - with a shelf life of more than ten years and a softness and tack as only found on the old composition rollers  that printers always preferred for hand-fed platen presses, but which are no longer available.

Since Bob is a printer AND a blacksmith (and a retired engineer, etc...), in  this short news video, Bob is shown at the forge while his print shop apprentice, Rachel Lee, represents the printer at New Jersey Old Towne.

New Jersey Olde Towne is open all year, and close to Interstate Route 287 for easy access, so if you would like to see the only working Baltimore #4 Jobber that we are aware of, stop by for a visit. (You may want to check the print shop schedule first.)

February 22 -

Press Parts ready to paintWell, not only has the dust settled, and the snow stopped, but we are getting back to work - currently finishing up the long-delayed restoration of a small press for UPenn to use in their traveling exhibit about Walt Whitman. There is still a lot to do, but this press had been expected in December. Events overtook us and we had been unable to work in the shop since December. But now we are back - and loving it.

This restoration, btw, has some new features added to it. Two of them - the radiused chase corners and the oil slot for the ink disk were taken from our experience with Chandler & Price presses over the years. We also filed out the mounting slots on the base of the press. Now the press willl mount more firmly and reliable. In fact, this press boasts a number of new features in our restoration work. One of them is a new paint - a denser, strong, thin-coat paint that will prevent chipping of the paint as we experienced with the old primer-plus-paint procedure used in the past. 

The others have to do with issues that simply were not important to Kelsey when the press was built - which was mostly as a means of encouraging sales of their supplies, which is where Kelsey Co. made their money... But restoration work is different. Out goal is to earn and keep a reputation for fine work...

But admittedly not fast work, as many have learned, but quality work lasts and we believe that in the long run, that's more important. When we restore a press, it's intended to be used for 100 years or more. That's one reason we use Stainless Steel drill rod for all of our shafts. The stainless will look better and delay rust better than common steel, and is not as tough as the cast iron that the shafts run in. This way, the shafts will wear before the casting is damaged. And, with the clips in place, they will never fall out - as has happened many times in the past. It's worth a little extra expense in materials.

Since Kelsey presses have no bushings or bearing, and all rods must rotate within a cast-iron hole, this is a factor worth addressing. Shafts are easy to replace; castings not so much... And, on the shafts, we are cutting fine grooves into the ends that will hold E-clips or Spring clips to hold the shafts in place. In the early days, Kelsey simply cut common steel  rod and hammered it in, mushrooming the ends to hold it in place. Later models used a push-cap to sort of hold them in place. But they often came off. Our restorations use machined stainless steel shafts with grooves on the ends and spring clips that will never come off.

Oh, and we also did some additional grinding - sanding, actually, on our belt sander - to clean up some rough spots on the nearly 100-year-old casting. It makes it look better.

We have also set up a heat-able paint booth. Cold temps do not encourage good painting, but we installed an electric heat pad in the paint booth that lets us maintain a nice 60-70 degrees inside the cabinet to enable quality painting. We even got one of those spiffy new laser thermometers to let us check the temperature of not just the space, but the individual parts prior to painting.

We also intend to use it for casting ink rollers - which cure better at 60-70 degrees than 30-40 degrees - and the heat pad in the cabinet maintains that temperature overnight, which is better for the 18-hour cure time for the rubber. With the shop warmer now than it was last winter - the result of the newly-installed old wood stove plus two more larger propane heaters, the fuel bill is higher, but the shop is at least usable. Last winter's Arctic Blast was devastating. This winter, we can work in here. When we can get away from dealing with home and family matters and into the shop...

March 8 - Friday

                      Barn in SnowSpring is almost here! Last night, the temperature dropped to 9 degrees.... for the last time this winter! The prediction is for no more temperatures in the teens - or even the 20's more than a few times between now and next winter. It got up to nearly 40 degrees today and 50 is promised for Sunday. From then on, it could hit 50 or more every day until next winter.

There's still snow on the ground - from a bit of a 6" kicker "spring storm" last week, but it will begin melting tomorrow and will soon be a memory. Less firewood to cut for the wood stove; fewer refills on the propane tanks for the space heaters

Now, that's not to say there couldn't be a surprise in store... it has happened before - like this 7" snowfall we had on March 2, 2009 - see: and more of the same in 2015 - and  last year, we had 4 nor'easters in 3 weeks - set a record. In fact, we had two feet of snow fall during last March and another 5" snowfall on April 2, so this 6" snowfall is not so serious, but (with fingers crossed) it looks like it is the end for this year.

So, frosts, even snow falling on the early blooming flowers are still possible, but we're keeping our fingers crossed that soon combating the cold weather will not be taking as much time from my day as it has for the past few months.

"Ah, Spring!"

Monday, 3/11 -

Well, spring does indeed seem to have arrived. Today's big news is that the ground has thawed well enough that I could turn on the water to the shop. The line from the house freezes up when we get a few days in the teens, but once the snow melts and the little green buds start to sprout, it's warm enough to turn on the water again...

another bit of news - on a personal note:
In 1968, I had enlisted in the USAF - with plans and promises to serve as a Language Technician in Europe... Well, as often occurs in war time, I was "needed elsewhere" and soon found myself on the Cambodian border with Vietnam, loading and unloading USAF C-130 cargo planes in some very interesting - and often dangerous - jungle air strips.

Ten years ago, I created a web site about our "MOB Team" - Well, over the years, many of the few of us who served together have found the web site and shared their photos and stories. This week, it was John Webb - the Tall Texan - who showed up - after nearly fifty years! His photos and stories are at  So, if anyone has an interest in what I was doing away from the print shop from 1968-1972, here's my story of Vietnam...

Friday, 3/15 -

Nice and warm today. Can you believe it - 70 degrees! Now all the snow is gone and the land is waking up and stretching as the ground warms up (to 45 degrees today) and little green things are beginning to grow... Yes. Spring is coming!

And, we Got the rollers cast... for The UPenn Press Restoration well, almost. The rubber mixture is in the tubes and beginning to cure. By tomorrow night, they will have cured enough for removal from the tubes. Another day or two of curing and they'll be ready for ink... We're finally coming down to the wire with this long-overdue restoration. But it will be beautiful and will work better than it ever did before - and this press will be printing for another 80 years or more!

Well, if you find printing presses interesting, take a look at The Martin Howard Collection of typewriters! - Some are as old as our presses!

And, even more... a MOVIE! -
( I gotta my antique typewriters together and begin using them...)

Mobile Staircase
Well, a lot has happened since our last post.

3/16 - Saturday -  My friend Frank came over and we headed to Home Depot, where we disassembled and loaded up a mobile staircase which they no longer wanted, but which I think will be great for accessing the roof above the work shop. We'll repaint it black and it will become our outdoor "retro staircase"...

Saturday evening, we removed the cast rollers from their molds. Success. We have some nice, soft, tacky, 20-durometer rollers to use on the UPenn press.

3/17 - Sunday - The Prodigal Press has returned from its long visit to NMIH. It is now in the barn, but Mobile Staitrcaseplans are afoot to move it down to the Washington's Crossing Historical Park in PA - where it will charm and educate the many thousands of visitors to the park for the next year or so...

3/19 - Tuesday -  Spoke to Ryan at Washington's Crossing Historical Park. It's confirmed; they want it and they are making room even now. And now we are working together now on the plan to move the Wooden Common Press - aka "Old Ben" to its own long-term space for display - and use - in the park. We will print on it there - and do demonstrations.  Very exciting...

U-Penn 5x8
                  Kelsey Excelsior Restoration3/20 - Wednesday - more progress has been made on the UPenn Press

3/21 - Thursday - Stained and Varnished UPenn's press' base today - and mounted the handles. Tomorrow, we reassemble the entire press and .... we will be able to print soon!

3/25 - Monday - The U-Penn Restoration is Completed! Tomorrow, we will deliver the press - in person.

3/26 - Tuesday
U-Penn 5x8 Kelsey Excelsior Restoration
Well, the UPenn Press was delivered today. Lynne is happy. I am happy and now it's time to clean the shop, process a slew of previously-ignored emails and get onto...

the next projects:
(aka Alan's current to-do list...)
  1. to-do: Process email messages (in process - continually)
  2. to-do: Catch up on some book keeping and bill-paying (in process - continually)
  3. to-do: Clean up the shop; put away my tools (in process - continually)
  4. (done) Upload new video - "Shim your Ink Disk" - to Youtube channel
  5. (done) Update my blog and the UPenn Press Restoration Blogpage 
  6. (done) Ship type cases to Ohio 
  7. (done) Print Dog License Forms - yup, another order came in the other day... but running the Heidelberg is fun!
  8. (done) Make room to repair and put into service not one, but TWO 8x12 Craftsmen bench top presses when they arrive on Saturday 
  9. (done) Empty out the wood shed - Take a load of paper products, cans and bottle to the local recycling center 
  10. to-do: Build the new lumber rack behind the shed. (watch photo and a how-I-did this explanation) 
  11. to-do: Gather sales & expense data from 2018 plus home expenses and prepare 2018 tax return (in work - 50% done)
  12. (done) Prepare Monarch 9x12 presses for demonstration and pickup 
  13. to-do: Clean up the most beautifully restored 6x10 Excelsior and get it ready for shipment to that lucky fellow in Seattle who talked me into selling it... - for use in his Seattle Tea House
  14. to-do: Cast Pilot rollers
  15. to-do: Cut wood for making roller boxes
  16. to-do: Ship rollers to Iowa - in a nice, new, sturdy box.
  17. to-do: Gather the parts of a type rack and prepare to send that to Ohio to hold the type cases...
  18. to-do: Repair Hamilton City Case Stand
    1. Make & install 4 new risers
    2. Make and install 1 (1+?) new case rail(s)
    3. Select, modify or replicate 4 cross pieces for cabinet
    4. Get new - old style nuts and bolts for cabinet
  19. to-do: Palletize City Case Stand and ship to Ohio
  20. to-do: Finish up some work on a Pilot and prepare to show it to those folks who are coming down from Syracuse
  21. to-do: Set up molds and plugs and cut shafts to cast Kelsey brayer replacement rollers - ship one to the fellow who prompted this project - and keep casting them until the six brayer frames I have here have good rollers in them.
  22. to-do: Set up to cast 2" brayer rollers - and ship one to the fellow who sent me his old one to recover.
  23. to-do: Figure out when I will have time to do a training day for a client and cast & install rollers her 6x10 Kelsey
  24. to-do: Organize the small presses and parts in the shed (see below) - then inventory and list prices for the used parts
  25. and more.... much more.... (below)
  The "Honey Do List"

"Yes, dear. I will finish the wall repair in the shower"...

  1. Cut and fit wall panels   (done)
    1. sheet rock layer (done)
    1. hardie board layer (done)
  2. to-do: plaster all open areas
  3. to-do: seal all joints
  4. to-do: install finish panels
  5. to-do: re-install spout and knobs
  6. to-do: take a shower!
(done)  And, I will gather data and file (your) 2018 tax returns by 4/15
"and I will begin to prepare the garden for this year's planting" -
(Time passes quickly in spring - when the ground warms up enough for green things to begin jumping out of it...)
  1. remove old wire around raised beds
  2. clean beds, add fresh top soil
  3. plant started plants
  4. build new fence panels - for easier access
- and I will replace that bald front tire on the truck... (done)
I really shouldn't have driven 100 miles on it - on interstates when I delivered that press to Philadelphia, but I had to get that press delivered so that I could get the money to buy the tire I needed and pay the postage to ship those type cases!

add a shim to your Kelsey Excelsior Ink Disk And, then, I'll continue on and get back to my list -->

update: ..... 2:21 am.... 

Well, I can take two items off of the list...

I updated the web site - and posted that video. And I wrote about it on the UPenn page - under the subheading: Add a Shim to your Ink Disk Adding a shim beneath the ink disk is a solution to the common problem of rollers hanging up on the disk as they come off of the disk and reach the chase bed rails - which are relatively higher when the disk is too low. Raising the disk just a bit can smooth out the action of many Kelsey Excelsior presses that exhibit this trait. We make shims to solve this problem - and others. Shims can also help with a disk rotation problem no the large Craftsmen Monarch 9x12 press.

3/28 - Thursday
                  Presses in the Press Shed
I've been getting a lot of inquiries for Kelsey parts lately, so I decided that I better organize the old press shed and make room to store parts where I can find them... This is the beginning - 30+ Kelsey presses in line for restoration - 3x5s, 5x8s, 6x10s and more...

You can click on this photo for a 1000 pixel-wide close-up, or click this link for the 4000 pixel wide image

However, I can't sell parts from these presses unless I can make new ones to replace the sold parts with. "Aye, there's the rub" * - to sell these parts makes the old press unusable. But to make customers wait the typical 3 months for a new part is impractical, so I will sell these parts and *I* will be the one to wait 3 months for the new part. I can wait; printers who can't print can't wait, so I am preparing to help them with these parts - as long as they understand the reason for the cost to them. But it's got to be this way. These presses will be restored - with the parts on them now or new ones that I make for them...

There are some thirty presses in all out in the shed. (Today's photo and the "with snow" photo from 2 weeks ago) And, finally, after all these years, (most of) the presses are organized in the
                  Press Shedone place. I still need to build a shelf for the little Baltimore and Sigwalts - and a doggone barn for the Vandercooks & C&Ps, but those big presses are safe over in the old barn for now...the Press
                  Shed in Snow

The Vandercook Galley Presses - the 01's and 099's - might come over here sooner, but those big Vandercook Model 4's; the Model 17 and the big Challenge proof press just have to stay in the old barn until I can build a new barn (or a bigger shed with a solid floor)...

Next step is to make room in the shed for the spare parts that I do have for - or from - these presses, and get them into the shed as well. And then... inventory and published prices...

I guess I'll have to add that little project to the to-do list...

4/5 - Friday -

InType Case Addessed for Shippingthe old days, when type cases were shipped, the address was simply written on the back of one of the cases, they were all tied together with rope and then placedType Cases packed for Shippingon a train or in a horse-drawn wagon and taken to the buyer - as seen in the photo to the right.

But these days, it's a bit different.... Here are 12 cases, packed in two 54# boxes, ready to leave the shop for their new home in Ohio...

4/6 - Saturday -
                  Craftsmen Monarch Bench Top Printing PressHad a busy day today with visits by our friend Claudia and her friend as well as two of her students - who helped me bring the old 9x12 Craftsmen Monarch from the press shed into the shop so that I could study it as I figured out what was wrong with her aluminum Monarch.  The ink disks don't rotate as they should - on either press. I think it's a Craftsmen design flaw.

But now the work shop is crowded again and I need to bring in a 6x10 Excelsior which will soon be going to a Tea Room in Seattle...

4/7 - SundayOld Wooden
                  Lower Casemorning

Got an email today from a professor at a college in Texas. Looks like I'll be fabricating some type cases like this one soon... It will be going into a colonial printing office in Texas.

Well, now that the wood shop is set up and functioning well, it should be an interesting project....

4/7 - Sunday afternoon - Bear Scratch on tree in yard

Had a bit of concern while wandering my land Sunday afternoon. On one of the trees in the back, I found what appears to be bear scratches. The paw that made these scratches had claws as far apart as the width of my finger.

I have heard that the black bears were out, and the fellow who grew up on this land told me he saw one near the creek about 300 yards north of this spot when he lived here, but there is nothing to the south but fields and forest - and a stream only 75 yards away, so it is quite possible for a bear to come up here and scratch this pine for some fresh sap...

There is a black bear known to wander this part of Hunterdon County. Maybe it was our time for a visit....

Click the photo for a closer look.

4/8 - Monday
                  to be castGot a call from my friend Paul at Bindery Tools today - my castings are back from Cattail Foundry, and they have drilled the holes in the new, freshly cast Golding
                  Type Case Handle8x12 C&P Old Style Treadle - and the rest of the castings are done as well...

Including this beautiful Golding & Co. Type Case Handle. I had five of them made....

Monday evening...

Wow. I just stumbled upon John Falstrom's Amazing page at Perrenial Designs. This guy is THE Pearl Guy, for sure. He also lays out a very plausible argument regarding the advantages of the No.11 Improved Pearl over the most popular table top in use today - the venerable C&P Pilot. And, I agree wholeheartedly with his assertions and conclusions. Good reference on the Pearls of William Golding.

At the bottom of the page, there is an 11-image slideshow illustrating changes made to the Old Style Pearl between 1877 and 1895. For an old press enthusiast like my self, I found it fascinating - and similar in many ways to the subtle changes I have discovered myself in the various Kelsey Excelsior models over the years.

 I guess that means a new web page for me to do - on the Kelseys. I have a lot of the info on line already, but there is more...

Tues 4/9 - Continuation of To-Do List
  1. 4/9 - Make new dies for bender - increase efficiency of bending grippers
  2. (done) Diagnose and document repair issues on Craftsmen Monarch Presses
  3. (done) Repair Monarch Presses; set up for printing  
  4. to-do: Make new gripper arms and gripper assembly for Monarch
  5. (done) Make roller bearers for 9x12
  6. (done)  prepare to show 9x12 Monarch to those folks who are coming down from Syracuse  
  7. to-do: Begin wood working and planning to make some old Colonial-era type cases...
  8. (done) Fill winter potholes in our 125-yard gravel lane 
  9. to-do: Print invoices for Mickey's Autocar Restoration Service
  10. to-do: Ask Mickey to help repair the PTO on the dump truck... 
  11. (done) 04/10 - Search all cabinets and galleys in barn to find a 30 point Brush font for printer in Canada
  12. (mostly done) 04/11 - Set  case of 30 point Brush into 36-pica (ATF length) lines, pack and ship  
  13. to-do: 04/12 - Sharpen Paper Cutter Blade & replace dull blade

  14. continued at - to do list #3:

Thurs 4/11

30 Point
                    Brush Foundry Type in Case"In search of the 30 point Brush" - A printer in Vancouver, B.C. uses 30 point Brush foundry type for foil stamping of padded folders. They need more type and inquired whether we had any for sale. Well, since our vast collection of type has not been fully cataloged yet, I couldn't be sure, but I did promise to scour the barn for fonts of 30 point Brush.

I found 14 point, 18 point, 24 point and 36 point - many fonts & duplicates - both in cases and in galleys.... But no 30 point - ("I'm sure I have it here - somewhere....") Finally,  I found the one case of 30 point I was looking for - in the last possible type case I could get to. There it was, one of the lowest cases in a blocked-in 48-case cabinet. There are well over 500 cases of type and hundreds of galleys in the shop, and this is the one type cabinet that actually has (had) a cabinet blocking it. Needless to say, it has been moved...

So, after all of the searching, I found the one case of 30 point Brush among the collection and will be fonting it up and sending it off to B.C. Well, actually Port Washington, which is this interesting little US enclave on a peninsula jutting south from the Canadian mainland. It's much easier to mail items to P.W. than try to get it across the border...

Thurs 4/11

ATF Type Case
                      Rack - City StandPreparing an old ATF Hamilton Type Case Rack for shipping to Ohio.

I brought that type case rack - aka "City Stand" over from the barn today and managed, somehow to fit it into the already over-crowded work shop - with two rather large presses already taking up more space than could be spared.

The original plan was to simply wipe it down and clean it up a bit - and make any repairs needed. Well, it does appear to need some repairs - a few new case rails and a new set of risers on the bottom; perhaps some new cross pieces.

This is turning into a restoration project...

But this wood working is really neat, and the case rack will be very nice once it's cleaned up, a few new rails are added, the risers that were added to the bottom of the legs are replaced with new ones. That old wood was not as good as the wood used to make the body of the frame, and it's time to mill some nice wood down to the correct thickness and replace the four risers, cut some new "L" shaped rails (of Maple) and install them. Then we'll oil up the entire assembly before crating it up for shipping... and then, finally, it will hold the 12 type cases that I sent ahead of it, and there will still be room for 4 more cases in the rack, plus an upper and lower case on the sloping top.  Photos to follow

Friday 04/12:

I've added two new pages to the site today - references of the Hamilton Wood-runner type case racks - and the Hamilton City Stand we are currently restoring...

Thurs 4/18:

Well, it seems as though I've come upon yet another problem with the Craftsmen 9x12 Monarch press: It seems to be using a Pilot linkage piece that is too short for proper operation! No worries; I made a new one that fixed it...

Mon 4/22 - A Visit from the Real "Kelsey Builder" - Pete Wilson.

"Old Kelsey Builder" Pete Wilson with
                  his pressAnd, he brought me his own press - one that was given to his father by his uncle - Glover Snow, owner of Kelsey Co after Bill Kelsey's untimely death in a traffic accident in the mid 1920's. Glover Snow basically built the Kelsey Co as we know it until he passed it on to his son-in-law, Gene Mosher, in 1958. In 1937, he gave this press to his 10-year old nephew - Pete Wilson's father...

Anyway, this press is pretty unique. At first glance, it looked like the common "older" style 3x5 - with the squared handle. But this one has the old parts mounted on the newer chassis - the shorter one that is distinguished by the round handle.

In any case, this press will be getting a page of its own. It's unique; it's the missing link between the two styles of press - and, it was given by Glover Snow to his nephew, Pete's father, when Pete's dad was a boy himself - in 1937.

This press was never in any catalog. In fact, I never even knew it existed. But here it is - now in our collection.

We also found presses in the press shed that Pete had assembled himself when he was in charge of press production at Kelsey Co during the 1970's.  And, as usual, he taught me a lot about how Kelsey built their presses. Every time I speak with Pete Wilson, I learn something more about Kelsey Co. and how these presses were made. Fascinating...

Wed 4/24 - First day assisting Tony at Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead Museum Print Shop - preparing the shop for opening day next week...

Thurs 4/25

                  Print from Monarch PressSo, for you folks who've been wondering why my blog hasn't been updated in a week... I've been busy - mostly fiddling with these two 9x12 Craftsmen Monarch presses.

And, finally, I've got both Monarchs printing well. Hurray!

Our test form is this 48-point Cheltenham Bold Calendar. It requires a level platen and sufficient inking and impression to do pretty much any other job within reason.

I will add the details - the trials and tribulations (not entirely over yet) that I went through to reach this point. When these presses came to me, neither was working and, oddly enough, the symptoms were pretty much the same. More about that when I update the "Monarch Repairs" page...
But tonight, this post is simply to fill in a week's blank. I know that there are folks waiting for me to finish this project and get on to theirs. Well, for those folks, good news. I will be done with the Monarchs this weekend. All that's left is some tidying up, making a gripper assembly and new roller trucks - and maybe the painting of some of the new parts I made as well as just a few more tweaks before we send one of these off to Syracuse, NY.
So. Time for a break. In the morning, it will be back on the presses for a final push to have everything ready for Samantha when she arrives. We'll print the form she's bringing with her on both presses, then she'll choose the one she wants to take back north - the Orange, aluminum one or the dirty gray old cast iron model...
1:50 am

Friday, 4/26
Continuation of To-Do List
  1. (done) Fix Disk Sander - making a bad sound
  2. to-do: Update Monarch web pages
  3. to-do: Arrange for transport of cabinet from Iowa
  4. to-do: Respond to emails
  5. to-do: Process new orders
  6. to-do: Cast rollers for Holcome-Jimison Museum
  7. to-do: Family bookkeeping projects
  8. to-do: Begin Project Plan for ASPM - Association of Small Printing Museums
  9. (done) Send Monarch Press off to Syracuse
  10. (done) Pick up foundry castings;
  11. to-do: arrange to have parts machined; add to inventory
  12. to-do: Inventory all Kelsey presses and parts
  13. (done)  meet with type caster - Kent - and print his forms
  14. to-do: Meet with owner of Michell's Cafe and print some coasters
Friday 4/26 - 2 pm
I just heard my name on the radio.... In support of our local radio station - WDVR-FM and in particular the show -  The Bleeker Street Cafe, hosted by my friend Chris Poh, I offered a fund-raising premium "Come to the print shop and print 100 coasters of your own design" - for a $50 pledge to the show. Well, it seems like the owner of Michell's Cafe in Lambertville made a donation in support of Chris' show and now will be coming to the shop to print some coasters. Won't this be fun - for both of us!

SunSamantha with press loaded for transport4/28 - Samantha and friend arrive from Syracuse - She saw both presses, printed on each of them and then headed home with the cast iron Monarch...
Samantha with press loaded for transport
These two presses had been giving me fits for a while. I had a 200# cast iron version, Claudia brought over her orange aluminum-cast model of the same size. They both had problems, most of which were eventually overcome, but we still can't recommend the Monarch for doing a full 9x12. It is just too large a size for the design of the impression mechanism.  For lighter forms, it works well - now that we changed the roller carriage side shaft. When these presses came in, neither would bring the rollers clear to the center of the disk. After calculating the perfect length and making a new set of linkages for both presses, that problem is solved.  Next problem is figuring out a way to make a stronger impression. C&P uses a massive flywheel and momentary impression dwell. We are considering a modification to the Monarch to do the same. We'll see....

Wed 5/1 - Picked up a load of newly cast press parts - including 3 5x8 Excelsior Chase Beds and 5 5x8 chases - and more - ready for machining  (photos to come)

Fri 5/3 - Bob and Tony and Kent stopped by. - a Group of Distinguished Visitors to our humble little shop...
Three Distinguished Visitors to the Shop
Bob is not only the printer at East Jersey Old Towne Musuem, but is a machinist (my mentor on lathe work) and a blacksmith. He brought along 4 brand-new early style 6x10 roller hooks that he made for us - we will soon be offering them for sale to restorers and users of the oldest style of "modern" Excelsiors - those made in the early 1900's that use the forged steel 5/16" roller hooks rather than the common 1/4" round rod style.

Tony is the curator of the Machine Shop and the Print Shop at Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead Museum in Lambertville, NJ. Tony made his own ink disk for their extremely uncommon 3x5 Cook's Enterprise. Although also made in Meriden, CT, Cook was a competitor of the Kelsey Company. Cook made some excellent presses and inspired the Kelsey "Victor" Side-Lever model based upon design features of the Cook's 6x9. Kelsey acquired the Cook company around 1900.

Another press in the HJ collection is a 6x9 Curtis & Mitchell Columbian No. 2 side-lever press. C&M were also acquired by Kelsey Co...

Kent is a Solar Energy Specialist who also has a Ludlow Slug Caster and enjoys casting slugs, but has no press on which to print with them. He brought some of his cast slogs along and we made some prints of them for him using the Nolan Proof Press and new Paper Gripper device.

Fri 5/4 - Spent early afternoon helping out on Opening Day of the season at Holcombe-Jimison Museum Print Shop

Rick Visits while
                    hauling presses around...Fri 5/4 - Our friend Rick - "Rick the Printer" of Athens Georgia - stopped in for the weekend on his way back south from hauling some larger presses to New York State. We had our typically enjoyable time and discussed many obscure matters relating to printing presses.

Sun 5/5 - Worked on Potter press and entertained visitors to Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead Museum

Nikki with the
                    first print from her now-working 6x10Friday, 5/10 - After waiting patiently for quite a few months - until our schedule cleared up a bit, Nikki brought her very old 6x10 Excelsior to the shop for a new set of rollers and some troubleshooting - and to learn how to use her press.

We leveled the platen, installed the new rollers we had cast for her and got ready to show her how to print with it. But then we ran into some problems. Very subtle bends in 3 of the roller hooks made them unusable - we could not even get the rollers up onto the disk. To solve this problem, we had to either straighten or replace 3 of the bent old-style roller hooks.

Straightening these 5/16" steel roller hooks would require the heat of a forge, and our forge is not yet set up in the new shop. But fortunately, we had some of these impossible-to-find rollers hooks on hand right here in the work shop. (and, we are making more - NEW ones!) With the new roller hooks installed, the press was ready to go to work. We inked up with some 50-year-old Kelsey Peacock Blue and she enjoyed printing a bunch of coasters before having to pack up and head home. But not before she had a chance to learn how to use her new (very old circa 1900) Excelsior 6x10. We also loaned her the form and gave her a few packages of coasters so that should could continue printing in her home studio just about as soon as she got there....

next? - dunno. let's check the to-do list

Sat 5/11 -

                    A beautiful Poplar plankEureka! "I have found it!" - For weeks, I have been searching for a nice, clean piece of Poplar to use to complete the restoration of the Hamilton City Type Case Rack for Kurt out in Ohio.... I went to Lowes, Home Depot, Opdyke Lumber; I went on line looking for a local source. I called Heacock Lumber - the mill where I got my last lot of rough cut poplar - that I used when we built the new workshop. No luck. I did order more rough cut 2x6's, but they are being custom-cut and will be far too green to use for anything important..

And then.... I walked into our local Hardware store - Frenchtown Home & Hardware - which has served our local community for many years as "the source" to find pretty much anything we might need related to hardware or home devices.... Well, when Mike took over from Gene, he also took over the space next door; the pharmacy moved into town and the hardware store doubled in size... and, over in one corner, Mike began displaying locally milled lumber - nice stuff - maple, walnut, etc.... AND some really, really nice, clean, straight, seasoned POPLAR! It cost me $40, but it is worth it. THIS is THE piece of wood I have been looking for. I could not be happier... and Kurt will also be happy to get his restored circa 1900 Hamilton City Case Stand...

June , 2019
Excelsior Press Fundraising/Presses, parts & supplies Page