Yet another Kelsey Excelsior Question.


I bought a Kelsey Excelsior 3x5 press this morning.. it definitely needs a new brayer and the ink plate is missing, but for $5 I figured it wouldn’t be a bad thing for someone who’s just starting. Since I brought it home I’ve been tracking down replacement parts, and although pricey I think over time I could get something pretty nice going.


Having a look where the ink plate would normally screw in, it appears as if the plate was broken off rather than removed.. I can see the metal in there from the old plate… unfortunately it looks as if it were a clean break, so I don’t have anything to try and grab a hold of (ie: impossible for me to remove myself).. crappy.

Here’s my question; is it worth the money it would cost me in order to tap out the hold and have the piece removed professionally? I don’t even know where I’d do this or what it would cost but I’m thinking it can be done.. if not I only spent $5.. so I’m not all too worried, and I can always use this one for parts if another press comes along.

Thanks for any responses.

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Cody -

The ink table on the Kelsey 3x5 does not screw in - it slides in. There are no threads to be concerned about, so you can simply drive the broken stem down through the hole to clear it. If, as I suspect, it’s frozen in place due to rust, you may want to drill out the center to make it easier to drive out.

Then again, applying heat could help a lot as well. Try heat and oil before getting out the big hammer. A knowledgeable welder might well be able to pop the broken piece out easily after heating the bracket with a torch.

If a welder is not available, you can soak the broken stem thoroughly with a good penetrating oil - Liquid Wrench, WD-40 or similar, then try driving it down from the top or better yet, turn the press over, support the bracket and try driving it out from the bottom.. Drilling out the center should make this easier.

BUT - be sure to support the bracket and be very, very careful not to break the ink table mount. This press is made of cast iron; it is brittle. Too much pounding could break it. Start by drilling a 1/4” hole in the stem, then enlarge it. It will be much safe to drill out the broken stem than to use brute force to drive it out. That could break the ink table mounting bracket, and then you’d be in real trouble.

Finding an ink table for the 3x5 is not easy; although we have done this, casting a new one is quite expensive. We sometimes have spare parts for these little presses, but I don’t know if we have an ink table to spare at the moment.

Unfortunately, many of these ink tables, chases and chase beds have been lost from the presses they came on and making new ones can be prohibitively expensive.

- Alan


Just a couple of questions/observations. First, congratulations on your new press. The Kelsey 3x5 has led many a (wo)man astray and into the black arts.

As for rollers (what you call brayer?) , they are readily available from NA Grahics and, I think, Tarheel (See the Yellow Pages here on Briarpress for info).

The inking plate (or ink table) is another matter. I am assumng you are referring to the round plate that sits in a holder at the top of the press just above the chase and bed. First—and fortunately—the plate itslef is not screwed in but rests just loosely enough to let it rotate in its holder. If the stem of the inking plate is still in there you should be able to gently tap it our after oiling it with some light machine oil and letting the oil seep between the broken off stem and the holder. Be careful not to tap too hard. Iron is brittle. Lou at [email protected] might be able to help you out with a new inking plate.

For identification of parts the Kelsey Printers Guide is online here at briarpress and elsewhere.

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out.

- Denis

Cody, Alan has the inside track on these things.

Alan, Thanks for the better details.

And what are we all doing on briarpress on a Sunday morning? Aren’t we supposed to be drinking capuccino and reading The Times? Or running in the park or something?

Fantastic, thanks for the good news! I’ll try tapping out the post after a dose of penetrating oil. Lou didn’t have any used plates, the new ones were a bit pricey.. but I’ll be keeping an eye out for used ones for sure.

Thanks again.


If you get the ink plate shaft free, and it mates up well with the ink plate, you could try using JB Weld to put it back together. Costs under 5 bucks.

If you clean the parts well and follow the directions it should last a while, maybe permanently.

Unfortunately the shaft is all that remains of the ink plate.. I’m hoping I can come across another one.. I’m sure something will come around at some point. Any way I slice it, it looks like it’s going to be pricey to replace the parts I need.. It’s a good thing the press itself was only five bucks.


Jeez.. I say “pricey” a lot.

Cody, i’m 1 hour south of boston, have 2 extra ink discs for a kelsey 3x5, if you would like bring the press here and i could help you with it, Dick G.

Wow Dick, that would be awesome! I’ll be in touch shortly.. thanks!