The press was pretty much complete, but needed some work to make it usable.
Plus, it had sat on some damp floor for a while and was rusty across the base.
We took it apart and left it and the smaller parts to soak overnight in a concoction of Vinegar & Lime juice mixed in a ratio of 1 part lime juice to 4 parts vinegar.
This vinegar & lime juice concotion removes rust through a process called chemical chelation, bonding with the oxidized iron in rust and holding it in solution without harming the metal object. This approach is less destructive than either using stronger acid or removing the rust physicaly using a wire brush. As you can see in the photo below, it does a really fine job of cleaning up these rusty old parts
By morning, most of the rust had been assimilated into the solution. The rest had been loosened and was removed by hand. We also used Acetone to remove old ink stains - and quite a build-up of ink on the bottom where the ink rollers had contacted the base repeatedly over the years.
After soaking over night, and after a few more hours of efforts with quite a bit of elbow grease, WD-40, Acetone, a few Scotch-Brite pads, wire brushing with small steel and brass hand-brushes - plus some work on the wire wheel and more work with the Scotch-Brite pads, the parts are all cleaned and the press is ready to be reassembled - with new roller hook springs, some classy brass nuts to hold the springs in place and a brand new set of our own Excelsior Press 30-duromenter rubber ink rollers.
And here's the press, reassembled, and ready to print the form below - fresh cast Ludlow slugs, locked up in the chase and ready to be put in the press.
And, finally, after all this work... This little old Kelsey Excelsior press is printing once again!
We hope that Ed enjoys this unique Father's Day gift - and enjoys doing his own letterpress printing at home...
Please contact Alan Runfeldt with questions.