Re-assembling My Letterpress
My letterpress has been sitting in the basement in pieces since I moved it. I finally stopped procrastinating and started to reassemble it. It went better than I expected.
I started by placing the platen on the floor roughly where I thought I wanted the press. That thing is too heavy for one person to maneuver . I greased up the axle (still in the right frame side) and slid it into the platen.
Then I slide the left-hand side of the frame onto the axle & bolted on the “X” shaped cross piece of frame.
The chase holder was the next heavy bit of metal I bolted into place. The “X” frame and chase are the only structural bits holding the press together, everything else is moving mechanicals.
I toyed with the idea of attaching the counter weight to the platen while the press was upside-down. I figured that would be too much total weight for me to lift, so I decided to attach it after I flipped the press.
As it was I was just able to move the press over onto it’s side and right it with some difficulty.
To attach the counter weight to the platen I first jammed the platen in the closed position with a heavy piece of lumber. This placed the bolt holes for the counter weight in the lowest most easily accessible position. Still I couldn’t hold the counter weight in position while I bolted it in place.
I built a ramp by setting some 2x4s in the “X” frame and managed to slide the counter-weight onto the ramp and roughly into position. Two big bolts are all that hold this thing to the platen.
The heavy lifting over, I next attached the gearing, flywheel and connecting rods. I had everything re-assembled but the inking mechanism.
It was right about then that I remembered that the arms holding the ink rollers were supposed thread onto the axle between the gears and the frame. Oops. I was wondering why the gears had more play than I remembered.
Time to borrow the gear puller again.