Re-assembling My Letterpress

partially reassembled 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.

Reassembling letterpress

Platen sitting upside-down on the floor

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.Attaching side to letterpress

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.

partially reassembled letterpress

Partially reassembled letterpress without inking mechanism

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.


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