Where to find a new gripper bar for a Kelsey Excelsior?

A few days ago I got a nice old Kelsey 5x8 on craigslist and have since (mostly) restored it. I say mostly because I need to get the rollers replaced and it’s missing the grippers, gripper bar, and gripper spring. I know I can get grippers from NA graphics, but what about the rest? Does anyone have any tips about replacing those?

It’s not a real pressing issue (no pun intended) since it’ll be a while before I can really get the press fully functional, and as jury rigged as this sounds I can use a rubber band to hold the paper in place to do a few test prints.

Oh and here’s the blog post with some of her before and after photos. http://maneatingflower.blogspot.com/2010/05/sweet-baby-jane.html

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Maneatingflower, Excelsior Press is selling parts for some of the kelsey presses. Good Luck Dick G.

Maneatingflower -

I took a look at your page. That restoration looks terrific. And I love the name…

BUT did you realize that this is a very old style 5x8? Most of the ones we see these days have shorter - and round to the tip - ink roller hooks.

But I do have one of these in the collection and will check out the gripper bar. It’s likely just 1/4” steel, but I’ll check - and can make one for you or give you the specs to make it yourself.

It’s basically just a straight rod with a very small hole drilled in the center to hold the guide spring - which will need to be fabricated as well.

I’ll take a look at mine today and wait to hear from you.

And yes, btw, 4:1 is the vinegar/lime juice ratio I use (I have updated http://excelsiorpress.org/restored.presses/TinaWhite/ thanks to your query) but it seems as though yours worked fine as well.

- Alan

Thank you both! Alan I got your email too, I wound up taking a wild stab at the vinegar and lime juice. Looking at your ratio I don’t think I used enough lime, but it all worked out ok so I guess it’s good! I did realize this is a very old press. I’m not sure of the exact age but it appears much older than the estimated 70 years the previous owner gave me. And thanks for the info on the gripper bar! I’ll be in touch with you via email, replacing it would be great.

Mef -

An addition/correction on yesterday’s comment; the gripper arm shaft on this model is 1/4” square - not round as on the later models. Standard Kelsey 5x8 grippers will NOT work on the square shaft. These will likely need to be fabricated from scratch to match the shaft. We can do that for you using our old style 5x8 as a model. I’ll contact you offline with more info.

- Alan


I have an older 6x10 Kelsey with the square gripper bar. Do you have a source for or have you made any grippers for that size?