Kelsey 5x8 restoration

I recently purchased a Kelsey 5x8 press. It’s awaiting shipment to Florida from PA. Is there anyone who does letterpress restoration in the southeastern United States? I really want to clean up the letterpress and restore it, but I don’t know how. Any thoughts? I’m attaching pics for viewing.

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Hi sfucito,

I recently purchased the same press and was able to restore it myself fairly easily. Mine was rusty but otherwise in good shape.

Basically my boyfriend and I dismantled it, stripped all the paint off, sanded off the rust, then sprayed on a rust-proofer and two thin coats of metal paint overtop. Really rusted bits (like the bolts, etc) we soaked in vinegar for a couple of hours and the polished to get the grime and rust off. I greased everything before putting it all back together.

It was a lot of work (allow yourself 3-4 days to do a good job) and required a lot of patience and the proper equipment (filter masks, industrial gloves, metal brushes)but was quite straightforward. I think if you do a bit of research on the net you’ll be able to handle it yourself - something to consider unless you want a showpiece (which you might feel guilty mucking up with ink later). Feel free to email me if you need any specific advice!


I also have Kelsey 5x8 that needs refurbishing. Where can I get rollers for it?

I also have a Kelsey 5x8 in need of refurbishing. Where can I obtain rollers for it?

I think that you can get them through NA graphics or try There is also a person on ebay who sells them in many different sizes. I hope this helps.

I’ve found that NA Graphics is the most knowlegable Kelsey source out there. They’ve fitted out five of my presses in the last few years and donea great job of it.

As far as restoration goes, Kelsey’s are simple. You just take them apart as far as you can go with simple tools, clean them up, and spraypaint them whatever color you find appropriate. For a first -timer, I would not recommend pressing out the pins. Just leave them in place. Do be sure to mask the parts that aren’t supposed to be painted, like the bed, rails, ink disc and so forth. Then you put ‘em back together.