Craftsmen 5x8 roller/inkplate question

Hi all!

I just picked up my Craftsmen 5x8 press and couldn’t resist trying it out. It seems to work perfectly. The only thing I can’t figure out is that the rollers don’t seem to come high enough on the ink plate to properly distribute the ink; the top roller seems to come up to about an inch below the center point of the ink plate, so that no ink placed on the center of the ink plate gets mixed in (I was taught to put a smeary X on the ink plate). The rollers seem to hit the type perfectly, but they don’t seem to ink up very well. I used a brayer to help spread the ink on both the plate and the rollers. I can’t see anywhere that the arm/handle could be adjusted to make the rollers come up any higher. This could be normal for a Craftsmen printing press; I’ve only used a Kelsey and one other kind before…. Those seemed to ink up much better than this.

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You might find that the platen is adjusted too far out for the press to close all the way and this is limiting the travel of the roller assembly.

Does the rollers go higher on the disc when there isn’t a form and chase in the press?


Thanks, DGM. The platen—and hence the rollers (in their current adjustment, and I am not sure what, if any, adjustment would change this)—currently stops when the platen hits the rails, thus the presence of a chase doesn’t affect this.

However, in studying the mechanism carefully in operation, it does seem that only by moving the platen AWAY from the chase bed (i.e. adjusting the lock nuts on the back of the platen), would we be able to get the rollers to go higher on the ink plate. But then, I don’t think I’d get a good print, as currently it prints with an ideal kiss print. Unless I am misreading your post, it sounds like you’re suggesting the opposite. I’ll take a look.

Can we post videos on here? I could do a quick 15 second instagram video. (If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a video worth?)

Anyone? Anyone?

?????? Could it be as stupidly simple as Wear in the links and Rods and Arms of the roller train assembly, i.e. elongated holes, with just a few thousands of an inch wear, giving foreshortened stroke to the rollers at fullest expected extent, over the ink disc?? . loss of motion, Just a thought, Worth a check.???? . .otherwise Apologies.

I had a Craftsman I didn’t use much, hence I am not certain, but many small presses like that (my Sigwalt included) have roller hooks that are “J” shaped rather than “?” shaped, and if you install the rollers with the open side of the hook down they don’t ride up the disc as far. The difference isn’t much — if the cores are 3/8” diameter and the hook rods are the same you might gain 3/4 inch, but that might be enough. I always turn my hooks with the open side up to get as much travel up the disc as possible.

You should also check to be sure the handle and impression mechanism is fully extended on impression — I believe there is a mechanical stop, as on the Sigwalt, that the mechanism should hit. If the platen is hitting the rails before that, you’re losing some travel there also, plus you are not getting the maximum impression pressure from the straightening of the toggle.


There is a set screw behind the press on the hand lever that limits the throw ( downward motion ) of the lever. Adjusting this screw just a small amount will raise the roller arms substantially. I have mine set to where the hand lever is horizontal when on impression and the top roller is just above the center of the ink disk. Of course you are going to have to reset your platen after you do this.