challenge high speed quoins

I bought several Challenge High Speed Quoins on ebay and now that I have them I can’t figure out how they work. Or maybe I bought defective ones? My Wickersham key seems to fit nicely but when I try to turn the key it only wants to move a small bit. There are mysterious “T” shaped slots and other slots and little nubs that sort of move…. I’m soaking them in cleaner as a first step as someone told me they just need to be whacked to loosen them up. When that didn’t work I began soaking in oily solvent stuff. I sure hope I didn’t wast money on these things!!

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Nope. You’re not crazy. Hi-Speeds take a different key—the “bit” that fits looks more like a big phillips-head screwdriver.

I could only find one picture online (, but you can’t even see the working end well.

As a sidenote, if you’re interested in buying my spare key, drop me a note.


This might help.

image: key.jpg


I can help if you need a used or new key for the high speed quoins.

once you do get the correct key, pack your chase snug to begin with. they don’t expand very much. they just put pressure on, not to fill gaps

General comment
When I bought a verticle miehle (my first letterpress) I used the challenge wedge quoins for some time until my lockup fell apart in the press( no I did not have them facing the wrong direction). Luckily I had a semi retired old time pressman working for me.He told me to lock up then wet some tissue paper and stuff it in between the 2 wedges it hardens like rock and can be easily picked out after the job.He also told me to get high speed quoins as even in his day they stopped using the 2 part wedges.I probably have 20 sets that anyone can have if they pay the shipping.Sorry I better keep one set as a museum piece .
keep printing Mike