Bails are stuck

I just got a C&P Pilot. The bottom bail wont budge and the top one doesn’t come off anymore after I practiced packing (the tympan paper is stuck inside). Are they suppose to be that tight?

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Most bails I’ve worked with have been super tight and prone to bite your fingers. You obviously don’t want to worry about them coming loose and getting crushed in the press.

Usually they can have a slight warp in them, so you might have to bend them slightly by hand or with a tool to “pop” them open. But be careful!

for the top bail, do you have any more packing then just the tympan? Only the top sheet should go under the bail (or top 2). I had trouble opening the bottom bail on my Pilot and was advised to use a screwdriver. Now I just wedge it in there and pry it open. Haven’t broken anything yet!

Widmark is correct. You can snap the hinge pins off if you force the bales over more than just the tympan. I would not use a screwdriver, though. I tap the bail open with a very light hammer and a reglet.

I just have the tympan under the top bail….and im trying to get the tympan and the makeready sheet under the bottom bail, but I couldn’t get it open. I’ll try with a small hammer today…

Put only the top sheet under the bales! The other sheets need only to be the dimensions of the platen or smaller.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

The only way to get makeredy in absolute register is to put one hanger under the bottom bale and attach the overlays to it. It was common practice. It the lower bale can’t accomodate a tympan and a hanger, something is wrong. The sheets may fit (and lay) better if you clip the corners.

The imp is correct. If you don’t put the hanger sheet under the bale, you need to tape, paste, or otherwise adhere it to the platen so that it doesn’t scoot around on you. Good practice dictates putting the hanger sheet under the tympan sheet and clamping them both with the bottom bale.