Loud “crack” on my Kelsey 6x10

I was in the middle of a print and I felt myself put a little too much pressure down followed by a loud cracking sound. I thoroughly inspected the press to make sure nothing broke and I can’t find anything wrong with it! Needless to say, it’s printing differently. I tried the next print and smashed all of my gauge pins. I’m using a boxcar base for the first time, but I don’t think that has anything to do with it.

Does anyone have any suggestions? It’s a 6x10 tabletop… thank you!!!

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The 6” x 10” Kelsey is really no stronger than a 5” x 8”, it just has a bigger printing area. The gentleman that taught me to set type broke his in half trying to print a large form. You will need to examine the press more carefully, because it is clear that something has happened to your press. Once you determine what is broken, then more advice can be given.


I’m trying to recall what I know about Kelsey presses which is leaning on a rather weak reed. Is it possible that either the bed or the platen popped out of their positions and are now misaligned? That might explain why it prints differently but nothing appears to be broken. If you can post a few photos and describe in detail how it’s not printing correctly or printing differently that would be helpful.


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

Obviously without seeing the press I can’t comment in detail. Have you thoroughy inspected the chase and bed, especially the back and corners of the chase for cracks? If your boxcar base fills the chase there might be too much pressure on one side or the other. Are you using quoins or chase screws/bars? Overtightened quoins can be dangerous. Rich might be right in suggesting that the chase bed popped out of alignment, in which case you should be able to readjust the bed. Check the two screws that stabilize the bed at the lower back and the spring and clamp that hold the chase and bed in at the top. Probably you’ve already done all of this. Pictures would help, as Rich says.

Good luck. Cheers!