Vandercook Universal III Changing Tympan

Hi all,
I’ve just begun working on a Vandercook Universal III and need to remove the ancient packing and change the tympan paper. I’ve done this on the Universal I and SP-15, but this is the first time on this press. There seems to be a mechanism that punches through the tympan paper to hold it at the end, and I can’t figure out how to release it. There are four holes in the bar the paper threads into, the inner two appear to be smaller, and the outer two wider with a metal punch (I think) visible. I can’t find a release mechanism, and can’t find a manual in the shop or online. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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See attached photos of reel rod assembly. Two parts actually that snap together.

image: reel_bar_3.JPG


image: reel_bar_2.jpg


image: reel_bar_1.JPG


There is a bar with pins which goes through holes punched in the tail of the top sheet. You simply must pry that bar off by inserting a flat screwdriver between it and the square shaft. The bar is held in place with springs, and a little pressure between the two will separate them.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

The hole sizes differ from side to side, so make sure that you use the larger size holes to insert the clamp into.

Also, download the manual from Boxcar or purchase a copy from NA Graphics. I would also highly suggest you get Paul Moxon’s book - although he is currently sold out.

Thanks all, that was exactly what I needed - I was just afraid to break something with my (not so excessive) force! I pried, and off it came.

rontxhou, I couldn’t find the manual for this press on Boxcar, or the Letterpress Commons - if anyone has one they could share I’d appreciate it! Yes, I’m searching for a copy of Paul’s book, too. Hopefully he’ll reissue it someday!

Hmmm. I guess in their remodeling they removed it.

If you send me a pm, I will send you the copy that I downloaded. I am pretty sure it is a UNI I manual, but they are pretty much the same press except for the size difference.

A word of warning, it is a multi-generation scan. Hard to read. I would still suggest you pop for the $$ to get one from Fritz so you can get a ledgible parts breakdown. The manual itself is nothing to write home about - I think Fritz describes Vandercook’s manual authorship as being just short of criminal…. but the parts schema is super useful in working through issues with a forum.

In the future, the best place to get detailed assistance with a Vandercook is Paul Moxon’s Vandercook website. A lot of the same folks that are on Briar and more. Very narrowly focused community and certainly the best Vandercook information pool and forum.

On the Letterpress Commons site, when you get to the page with the original press manuals, make certain you uncheck the box where it says “show only most common presses” The Universal III parts list book is the last on on the list.

John Henry

Reading your query again, I see you were seeking the manual. The manual for the Universal I (which is posted on the letterpress commons site) is identical to the manual I have for my Universal III press, so you should be able to use one of the two which are there.

John Henry