Painting my Kelsey

Back in the summer I bought a kelsey 3x5. When I got the press, it was very rusty and the paint was chipped in places. I cleaned the press and removed the rust, and sealed it with oil. When I was using the press the other night, I noticed that rust is starting to return in some of the areas where the paint is chipped. I’d like to protect my press for the long term and have thought about painting it.

Here is my question: Do I have to disassemble the entire press in order to paint it? If I disassemble, I am scared of breaking the press when removing the pins.

Are there any other methods to preserve the press/prevent rust? My boyfriend has recommended powder coating, is this advised?


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Butcher’s Wax. (used for bowling alleys) Works great on old Kelsey presses and lasts longer than oil. I use it and like it. Reapply when ever you feel inclined.

Just wipe it on with a rag and polish as you see fit.

Of course, leave the ink disk and rails bare of any oil or wax. You can leave rubber based ink on the ink disk to protect it in storage. Rubber based inks clean off easily with a little lacquer thinner.

I discourage painting of Kelsey presses unless they are fully disassembled and sandblasted or otherwise stripped of all of rust and old paint.

Besides, new paint ruins that classic old patina, whereas butchers wax enhances it.

see also:

- Alan

Alan, as my hair falls out the bowling alley wax does enhance that classic old patina. How you doing Alan, Dick G.