Excelsior Press Restoration
One of the things we discovered as we
experienced this Letterpress Renaissance of the late
20th and early 21st century is that there is a new
need not only for instruction of new Letterpress
want-to-be Printers by old, experienced printers, but
there is also a serious need for experienced printers
and machinists to tackle the project of proper
restoration of old printing presses.
While there have been many excellent examples of
beautifully restored presses, a number of hacks have
done some terrible 'refurbish' work and sold their
junk on eBay. We take a different approach.
In other words, we don't just paint a press to make it
salable, we *restore* presses to
like-new or better-than-new condition.
And, since we had always enjoyed teaching our new
employees the ins and outs of letterpress printing
since the commercial days of The Excelsior Press
(1965-85), tutoring new printers became a natural
focus of our talents.
In addition, since we had always found the engineering
and mechanics of letterpress machinery fascinating,
and since that knowledge attracted restoration
projects to our doors, we realized that the world does
not need just another traditional letterpress printer,
but it really does need skilled letterpress machinists
- people who understand both the printing and the
engineering of these presses and can do a good job of
restoring these presses.
You might say we found our niche.
So here it is - antique press restoration and how
we do it.
While our primary purpose is to share this information
to add to the general body of work on this subject, we
do wish that these pages will be studied by press
owners who wish to restore their own presses - and not
to encourage competition in this limited niche market.
In other words, if you want to restore your own
press, these pages are for you. If, however you wish
to compete with our work, and restore presses
commercially as a source of income, we politely
ask you not to. Much of the information shared
on these pages came at quite an expense in mistakes
and many, many hours of study. And, as much as we do
wish to educate the public, we do not wish to give
away our 'trade secrets' (although that's
exactly what we do on these pages...) So kindly
refrain from competing with us while we are still
engaged in this work as our primary source of income
and support for the Excelsior Press Museum Restoration
And, one last final word: We do not presume to be the
world's experts on this subject. We are not telling
you how to restore your press, we are simply reporting
the steps and techniques that we have found helpful as
we restore presses... The following pages are all, by
their very nature, works in progress. Please bear with
us as we update and edit these pages with photos and
Model 4 - photos of parts prior to
- Vandercook SP-15 - Servicing an otherwise
The story of "The SP15 Trip Spring
Model 099 - full restoration log - work
Excelsior 5x8 - re-assembly slideshow
- Cooks Victor 6x9 - basic how-to take it
apart to replace a broken part (new
page coming soon)