Kelsey 3x5 bed spring.

I have a question for all you experts out there. I was lucky enough to pull a rust covered Kelsey 3x5 out of a crawl space under a house a while back and am finally on the home stretch of the restore.

The machine was in poor shape when I got it. Most of the paint had come off, the hinges were loose, etc… The kind of press you won’t pay for but will take for free :) I broke the press down completely, I stripped the paint, buffed the rust off, primed and repainted it in a company purple. I made all new shafts, fitted nylon washers between the parts that make contact and secured everything in place with external steel e-clips. I’m acutally pretty happy with how it is turning out. Its still missing grippers and rollers but its not actually going to be used, its more for show right now.

Now the problem. I removed the compressed spring from the back of the press bed when I took the unit appart. I’m a little stuck right now on how to recompress the spring and get the pin back in. I had some ideas that haven’t panned out. I’m sure someone on here has either done it or has som thoughts.

The first pic is a general shot of the rebuilt press. The second is of the spring. It has a long way to go to get the retaining pin back in. Taking the press appart again is no issue.

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If you are strong just keep turning, it will slowly screw all the way in. Or I have herd of using a valve spring compressor for a car. Look me up when your ready for rollers and hooks for it.

Gelett Burgess, written in 1895

I never saw a purple kelsey.
I never hoped to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow
I’d rather see than be one

Slightly changed in 2012, Girl w/ a kluge

Hi Technut27, there was a similar discussion a while back:

You’re going to have to find a way to compress the spring in order to put the pin back in.

There is a pic of a crude tool that I made for this very purpose on a 5 x 8 Kelsey. You may be able to work something up in a thin hardwood , or something, that would do the same thing, because the spring on a 3 x 5 is likely not quite as stiff as the one on a 5 x 8, but I think you’ll get the idea.
You will need a couple of appropriate C-clamps at any rate for the method of a similar tool.
Now there is more than one way to skin a cat, but hopefully you may gain something from the discussion that I posted.

Incidentally, one might more accurately call it a platen back spring, and not the bed spring. The bed is what the chase goes into.


Now that you link that one David it remember reading that post. That is kind of the plan right now but I haven’t done anything with it yet, midterms always get in the way of my fun projects. I have a couple small pieces of sheet steel that I think I can shape to fit between the pivot points. I don’t have a metal drill bit that big so it will take a while for me to get the hole in the steel big enough to fit over the spring. Then clamp it down with c-clamps and set the pin.

I might even try it simply with the clamps first and a thin sheet of hardwood ply since it doesn’t need to hold long. I agree that the spring isn’t all that strong. Its just in an awkward spot.

I do have the hooks and springs for it but no rollers/cores, trucks, or grippers yet.

Well I finally got back to this and thought I’d update the thread. I tried using a piece of 1/8 and 1/4 inch plywood I had but it was either too thick or broke under the pressure. I ended up simply using a hand clamp and some luck and I was able to get the pin back in. I managed to drop the pieces I was working on onto the concrete floor at one point and did a number on my paint but the press is fully assembled again minus grippers and rollers.

The paint I used didn’t bond well with the primer. I think if this saw any real use it wouldn’t hold up.

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Now that I think about it does anyone have 4 Kelsey 3x5 trucks, a pair of roller cores or a pair of grippers laying around they would want to sell? I know I can get those from NA Graphics but its always good to start here first. Just cores or rotted rollers are fine, I don’t need a good set.