MM Kelton Make Ready

Hello, I have recently assembled a smaller ‘D’ roller, MM Kelton copperplate printing press and am seeking advice on makeready. The spider wheel turns the ‘D’ roller, and a pawl engages the bedplate for the duration of impression, and the gravity weight returns the bedplate OK, but the large drum underneath is not engaged. Makeready will be for copperplate. What should be the gap for blankets etc.? Any information would be appreciated. Thx, Mike

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Hi Mike,

I don’t know if you solved your problem but I just saw your post and will help if I can. To raise the center roller to contact the underside of the bed you need to add shims under the two bearing blocks in which the roller turns. You may need several and they may need to be different thicknesses. It’s a matter of trial and error until the roller maintains contact with the underside of the bed evenly along the bed’s length. The roller should just touch the bed with no space between and no upward pressure on the bed.

There needs to be a piece of felt attached to the D cylinder. If I remember correctly mine is 1/16” thick. There are photos on my blog that show my press and setup.

There is no makeready as in letterpress printing. You adjust the pressure and therefore the space for the thickness of the plate and felts using the adjusting screws on top that move the D cylinder up and down.



I have the opportunity to buy what I believe to be an unsigned M M Kelton D cylinder etching press. The owner of the press has not used it in over 40 years and it lies rusted and disassembled in his garage. It is begging be to restored! He was asking for $1,000 and has gone down to $800.00. What is a fair price? I know it will need a lot of restoration work. to bring it back to working order. I have pics but they are not in the right format to be be posted here. I have seen the press you have restored. Contact me at [email protected]. Thank you Geoff

Disassembled means likely missing parts. I got mine for $100. It’s missing all the small bits…screws, bolts, shims, the wheels the bed travels on, etc. It is still in the garage in pieces after 3 years.

Hello to Rich, Geoff and Arie. Regret I quit monitoring this thread too soon after posting. Thanks to Rich - shimming up the drum under the press bed was what I figured was required. Good to have that confirmed.
To Geoff, while rare, there is a very limited market for the Keltons - no useful purpose. Complete and pristine, maybe $1,000. Mine found a home at Howard Iron Works. It is in the queue for restoration but will be a year or more before we try an impression. Check out their website. Thanks again, Mike

RE: Kelton engraving press.

The cylindrical drum and the D-cylinder have a great tendency to rust. You can retard this by applying a thin film coating of Museum wax. Do not use phosphoric acid on the rusted areas in your restoration - it pits the metal unless you neutralize it immediately. Enjoy your treasure. Regards!