Need a positive lockup bar for a Vandercook 219 AB

Hey all,

I’ve posted this as a wanted classified add but I was wondering if anyone had any leads on tracking down a 19” lockup bar. I’ve had a bite or two but no actual success.

Any help advice or an actual bar would help.

Thanks again,

~ Josh

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You can make a fixed lockup bar. I forget what the stops on a 219 are, but they would either be vertical pins set in the bed, horizontal pins set into the bed bearers, or half-round cutouts in the bed bearers. A plain piece of bar stock would rest against the first two, but the third type used half-round ears on the end of the lockup bar. You could make matching halfround recesses in the ends of the barstock and use a full-round pin as a retainer.
You will have more space to fill with furniture (make your own mammoth furniture out of 3/4” plywood), but the fixed bar is much more secure than the positive lockup bar. The positive lockup bar relies only on friction, and as the internal springs weaken it loses gripping power and can slip. You can drop in spacers when it weakens, but it still won’t be as solid as the fixed bar.

Can you replace the springs on a lockup bar? The bar on my SP20 isn’t the strongest. I’ve wedged a reglet in to give it more staying power, but I’d love to see if I can fix it.

I have a 15” lock up bar from an old Challenge proof press I will sell cheap. The spring seems in good shape. Not sure if you can improvise with a shorter bar.

image: P1000883.jpg


image: P1000881.jpg


Jonsel—-There’s one short, hard spring in a lock up bar and is probably not the source of your problem. You may need to drop a 1/2” diameter washer in to the interior of the bar so that the handle doesn’t have to be extended as much.

You can increase the holding power of the bar by placing strips of a soft, thick paper between both ends of the bar and the bed bearers.

I am ideally looking for a 19”. I am looking to do extra long lockups so the fixed options are limiting.

1) I still would love to get my hands in a 19” positive lockup bar.

2) where does one get bar stock?

Fixed bar limiting on extra long lockups? No, quite the opposite, the fixed bar is the bar that sits at the far end of the bed, just past the tail deadline. The only limit is the need for extra furniture with small forms. But with a large form the is more impressional resistance, and the positive lockup bar may just slip, where the fixed bar is held against its retaining pins.

Hi Josh,

At my letterpress school, we were advised to use a fixed lockup bar. Any positive lockup bar you run across will probably be old and loose, requiring the shimming that Paul mentioned.

For small forms I just use lots of furniture — metal alternating with reglets for a nice grip. You can find pretty big furniture. I’ve seen some the size of a paperback book. Someone like Dave Churchman or Don Black may have some in stock (check the Briar Press Yellow Pages). You can gang up and stagger the furniture so that the pressure from the quoins is distributed evenly over your lockup. A basic feel for the laws of physics will help here. Sometimes I use expandable furniture, which works well (see photo).

At first it was a pain to fuss over a lockup requiring lots of furniture, but since I resigned myself to it, it has became a pleasant little puzzle exercise, choosing and arranging things.


image: Expandable furniture.jpg

Expandable furniture.jpg

@parrallel_imp there is no fixed bar at the far end of the bed on my press. It’s open. There are 2 holes on the side of the rails about 30” from the deadline where inhale put in some pins but I could theoretically lockup even further back but it seems like the general consensus is that any existing positive lockup bars would not be strong enough.

I had a chat with Feitz at NA Graphics and he said they looked into making new ones but he’d need to sell at least a dozen to make it feasible. I bet there are more than a dOzen folks who would want strong new ones.

Anyway it seems that for extra long lockups I’m going to have to improvise. Another factor is that once I get past the 18”x”24 adjustable bed some shimming may be necessary to keep things level.


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