Purchase of Starter Kit for Kelsey Press

I purchased a starter kit from Andrew Churchman on e-bay described as “Perfect for first time table/floor model press owners” and it was not. The small can of ink was horrible, created membraneous like flakes that got on my rollers and ink-disk; there wasn’t enough type to set a 78 word Proverb. Though a beginner, I feel that type and ink are central to an item claimed to be “Perfect for a first time press owner”, but I had serious, time wasting problems. I contacted Mr. Churchman twice, and he told me that he’d sold 200 of the starting kits, and this was the first time he’d heard of problems. Furthermore, people didn’t need much type, because they used a plastic process for larger jobs—which I assume are jobs over 78 words in length. He told me the ink was forming a protective “skin”, and that when I became more skillful I would find it all easier. When I did received ink (from elsewhere) I found it to be a world of difference—profoundly easier to work with. This starter kit is sub-standard imo. I paid $199.00 for an apron, a set of tweezers, a plastic bottle, a bit of furniture, three quoins that a Kelsey 8X5 doesn’t require—then the type and the (approx.) 4 oz can of black ink. When I did > not < mention that I wanted my money back, he was rather pleasent, if condescending; when I asked for my money back, his prose became less convivial. And, he would refund none of it, instead “standing on his reputation”. So, I left left him thus standing, but have reported my experience with Andrew Churchman to this forum. I don’t recommend doing business with him. (Irving Warner; Port Hadlock, Washington)

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You should have just bought your starter kit from Lou, since you had such good luck with the press you brought from him. Mr. Churchman has a perfect reputation and his starter kits are fairly priced. Oil base ink does skin on the top of the can. Maybe the new ink you used was from a tube or rubber based, but you don’t say. You don’t post much on here Mr. Warner.

Obviously Churchman sent oil-based ink, which skins over, and the skin must be removed and discarded; it is not defective ink. With non-skinning inks such as rubber or acrylic or soy, as they age they thicken until they become unuseable, wheras under the skin, oil base ink will last longer than you will.
4 oz. of ink won’t last long in any formulation. Even though prices continue to rise, ink is still one of the cheapest supplies you will use as a printer.

This must be a one time unfortunate experience, and probably a misunderstanding. I have purchased several different products from Mr. Churchman, including a press, a starter kit, and a full reglet cabinet. His prices are very fair, and he has always been very pleasant and a joy to work with.

Furthermore, every oil based ink that I have ever used has skinned over. That is not evidence of bad ink, just a fact. Also, one lone font of type is never (or very rarely) going to be enough for 78 words. If you had done some more research or simply asked someone, you would have known these things and not had unrealistic expectations. Sorry to have to tell you this, but it seems that your problems were somewhat typical of beginners, and not the fault of the materials at all. This is not something over which you should take out your frustration on someone else. It’s part of the learning process.

@Irving, I looked at the starter kit you mentioned and find it to be rather expensive for the used items he is offering. In the future you might consider using N A Graphics for your supplies. I don’t know what type you ended up with, but you might investigate the starter sets of type that M&H Type in San Francisco offers. They can give you a character count so that you can make sure you are able to set what you intend. I always try to buy 3 or 4 lowercase fonts for every cap font I acquire to make sure I have enough. I had a run-in with Andrew Churchman last year, and as highly as I think of Dave, I cannot say from my experience that his son is a fair dealer.

Thank you for everyone’s comments about ink, etc. I won’t carry this beyond this one note, except to say that Mr. Warner and I did have extensive conversations since his February purchase of my starter’s kit (and cases). Mr. Warner fails to mention that to this point, his demands were that I change the ultimate makeup of my kit to suit his vision of what the kit should be—and also that I refund all his money AND allow him to keep the kit! (if he changes that demand in this discussion, it is done so only for the purpose of this discussion). So much for the kit not being useful to him. He also fails to point out that the kit also includes a composing stick, new line gauge, planar block, a key for the quoins he references, gauge pins, tympan, strip material and spacing for the type— an expensive group of items if you buy them on eBay or elsewhere.

You can see what the kit includes here:


I am very sorry that Mr. Warner is not happy with the kit as he continues to use it. I deal fairly and while I can’t make everyone happy, I try. I sent him some additional small items and quoted him type at a steeply discounted price to get him to where he needs to be…I guess neither was enough to prevent this impalement. What’s disappointing is that Mr. Irving said that he felt it was always best to deal with these things head-on, instead of writing a negative review somewhere. Clearly, not being willing to refund him and let him keep all the equipment has changed that view.

That’s right up there with customers who demand their money back for printed items that they can’t return because they already used them.

Thanks for the heads up, I was just considering this having bought a press yesterday. It may make more sense to stay with the company I purchased It from and stay realistic about font expectations. Thanks for the other sources listed, ill check them all out. Hope I have time to print, the research is endless