Kelsey 3x5 purchased last week on briar press

I purchased a Kelsey 3x5 last week on Briar press. I looked carefully at the pictures and It looked good. Asked as many questions as I could and went a head and sent the money. But as usual with this wonderful new technology we have I received the press and it is missing the Grippers and the Gripper bar. Since I have never owned one before does the Model “N” not come with grippers? I can send pict of it if you want. If it does come with grippers, does anyone know who may have parts? Also, should I ask for some money back from the person who sold it to me. First time buying from Briar, what would you guys do. HELP!!! thanks robert

Log in to reply   10 replies so far

here are some photos of the press.

image: IMG_1474.jpg


image: IMG_1473.jpg


image: IMG_1472.jpg


image: IMG_1471.jpg


Not sure about the 3x5, but some Kelsey presses did have a gripper assembly. It’s unnecessary in my opinion, since I run a majority of my work without grippers. But I also usually only print 100# papers and up, and it seems to be the lighter weights which stick to the printing surface.

Since we’re all dealing with presses that have been out of production for years (unless you’re lucky enough to run a newer Kluge) it’s common for press sales to be on an “as is” basis.

I would check the listing or information you received prior to the sale, or see if it was simply missed during packing. But it’s likely that it’s a part that the original buyer misplaced or removed years ago when it was bought new.

Don Black or Excelsior Press are known to deal in Kelseys, but someone may respond to this post if they have the piece. But in my opinion, for such a small press, grippers are unnecessary.

Have you tried contacting the person you bought the press from?

Kelsey grippers are pretty simple affairs. A round rod (gripper bar)through the hole in the third picture to mount the grippers on. When I had a 5x8 there was a small hole drilled into the center of the gripper bar where you inserted a straight spring wire that also went through a hole in the body under the handle. On the 3x5 the hole in the gripper bar is off to the right side of the body and is also inserted through a hole in a bracket on that side of the body under the platen.

When the press closes the action bends the spring wire and closes the grippers.

If you can’t find one, it should be fairly straightforward to make one. Let me know if you’d like some photos of the 3x5 gripper assembly.

The grippers on a Kelsey are pretty simple to make. Get a piece of round rod the same diameter as the hole on the platen (I’d use drill rod if you can get it) and make a hole at one end for the spring. The spring is the trickiest part — needs to be the right shape and diameter of spring wire. The grippers are a strip about 1/16 inch thick and 1/2 inch wide of steel, bent into a loop slightly smaller in diameter than the rod, with an additional tab on it at one end, drilled through the tab and strip, with a screw and nut through the hole. Once the rod is in place on the press, slide a gripper onto each end and tighten the screw to fix it in position. If you’re careful it will be nearly impossible to tell the grippers aren’t original.


My little “minnie” Kelsey has grippers, etc…. I took it off. Just
use photo corners or make little “corners” yourself. A strip
of 1/2” paper with blue tape is my favorite when I travel with
this press for demonstrations and printing coasters.
Good Luck + happy printing. Denise

Hi Robert,

In my opinion, it is not a big deal. Most smaller presses run without grippers most of the time, and for good reason as they often end up mashing type rather than helping with the print quality.

If you want to buy grippers for this press, NA Graph sells them and they’re not expensive. If he doesn’t have the rod they go on, you can buy rod stock at home depot quite inexpensively and cut your own. The only tricky part might be drilling the hole for the thin wire that holds the grippers in proper position when the press is open. It runs through the rod and back to a hole on the base. Again, this is a part you can make yourself.

The bulk of presses sold these days are incomplete in some minor way due to the age of them and the general availability (or lack thereof) of parts. This one has the rollers which are the primary expensive part usually needing replacement. Not sure what you paid, but this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker in my opinion.



You guys are so awesome. Thanks so much for all the replies. I just thought I was getting a complete press. I learned a valuable lesson. I want to touch and feel things before I purchase. Anyway with all this info I think I will try to build my own. Thanks again everyone!!!!

If you need pictures I can take pics of mine i just got a 3x5 as well and it came witht eh gripper bar and grippers.

New, old-stock. E-mail me if you’re interested.

image: Gripper Assy.jpg

Gripper Assy.jpg