Kelsey 8x5 dismantling help


I recently acquired an old 8x5 that is in need of a major rust and paint job. I was able to unmount almost everything without much efforts, but there are 2 bars that I simply cannot move.

I can’t seem to remove the goose neck from the roller carriage, (am using the names from the book, because otherwise I wouldn’t know how to describe) the bar that’s supposed to be moving seems to be stuck there pretty tight. it won’t turn/move at all and hitting this with a hammer to get it out would probably break something, so I don’t want to even try.. It is functional as in everything turns smoothly, I just can’t dismantle it. I would be happier if I could, to make sure there’s no hidden problem there.

Another question I have is these little holders on the platen (for the tympan) are stuck in with a pin. That pin doesn’t move. Normal? should it unscrew or something like that? I’d like to be able to clean under the bars properly, and then paint properly. Removing it would definitely make it an easier job.

Last question, when looking at a lot of the restored presses I see that the ink table and chase bed seem unpainted. Yet mine is really dark, kind of seems like it was painted black. Not sure if it’s the rust or what. Is it ok to clean it up and leave unpainted? I think normally those should be unpainted?

Thanks in advance!

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Can’t help you with taking the press apart, but the black on the ink table is probably old dried ink. The ink table and the platen should be left bare metal. I believe the tympan bails (or bales) on my 8x5 were (I no longer have it) also left bare of paint.

Try wetting the stuck parts with WD-40 or Liquid Wrench for several days. I always use a brass drift and a brass hammer to disassemble small presses. Be careful the cast iron in small presses is a little stronger than hard clay. The pins that hold the bail bars are driven in cold, try the wetting mentioned above and grip the pin head with a pair of vice grips and slowly turn the pin and pull at the same time, it should come out. For appearances you will need to dress the head of the pin (there rather soft steel)before you replace it, or go to your local hardware store and purchase steel rivets of simular size, not pop rivets.



I actually was able to get everything out. Tom from T and T messaged me the same info and it’s all good.

Thanks everyone for your help :)


I’m actually interested in dismantling my Kelsey 3x5. I have searched everywhere for instructions on how/where to begin. Some insight on your process would be cool if you have a few minutes to explain the step by step instructions you went through.


The dissasembly process depends upon the model, i.e. what type of clip is on the ends of the shafts? Or … are the shaft ends peened (mushroomed)?

T & T Press Restoration


I didn’t realize it has been so long… :/

The ends of the have the mushroom looking clip. I attached a picture. It’s a model “N” from the 80’s. Whoever had it before me just spray painted the entire thing black, there are drip marks everywhere. I was planning on disassembling it, sand blasting the paint off and reassembling. I haven’t printed from it yet but all of the moving parts seem to me working properly.


image: LetterpressPinClip.JPG


First you must understand that the clips (toothed thin washers) will not be reusable after removal so be certain dissasembly is what you want. A circlip is a suitable readily available replacement device that prohibits shaft creep. Using a small straight slot screw dirver ply the clip off of the shaft. Work the clip on side then the other in a forth and back sequence. You only need to remove one side. Note that by design the clip is only meant to go on one way the teeth are in tension and you will be forcing it off against the flex of each tooth. Just work at it until it is free. It will be ruined once it is off. Keep in mind that the tension can and somethimes does, cause the ring to pop off, so consider the value of safety glases when tackling this type of work. My original reference to mushrooming… was peening of the shaft ends instead of a clip. Many models of the early Kelsey presses had peened shaft ends. You are fortunate yours has the clips.


Regan - sandblasting is not a good idea… can be very harsh. You can wreck press parts that way, and you WILL wreck any of the machined surfaces like the bearing areas, the platen, the bed, and the ink disc. If you sandblast those, you will destroy the smooth surfaces which those parts need to have, and render the press virtually unusable.

In the picture, it doesn’t look like the press is rusted. If it is not rusted and the existing coat of paint is not over rust and not flaking off etc., why don’t you just wire brush it including all the drips, by hand, and consider any remaining paint as part of the primer coat. After removing any dirt, grease, oil or ink which might be on it, paint over it. You will of course have to take the paint off of where it doesn’t belong like the platen, bed, ink disc, bearing surfaces, roller trucks, rails which the trucks move on, shafts, etc.

I would not put money on it but that paint looks remarkably like a primer rust inhibitor and therefor best just keyed in with wire wool and finish coated over the top . Use paint stripper on the platen and carefully rub of with wire wool but care to the plate as it may be die cast alloy , Dont know these little machines personally but that looks adana ish and they are made of soft alloys .

Sandblasting is only bad for the parts if:
a) you use a harsh media like aluminum oxide
b) you don’t plug the holes first.

I have just finished restoring a Kelsey excelsior (6x10) and sandblasted using a walnut media. Plugging the holes kept the sandblasting from damaging the interior bearing surfaces. The walnut simply removed the paint and rust without removing any surface metal.

As for getting the pins removed, Ink Spot has the right idea. Just pry the washers off and replace them when you put the press back together. I used retaining rings to secure new dowels in place.

You can check out my blog for more info on how I sandblasted and replaced the dowels if you want:
Sandblasting, priming, painting:
Cutting & Fitting New Dowel Pins:

Thanks everyone for your tips and guidance. This will be my winter project.