Finding a particular part for a Book Press or “Copy” Press

I hope this is the right place for this. This is my first “asking for help” post.

I am cleaning an old Book Press. Some call it a Copy Press.

I separated the screw device that raises and lowers the pressure plate. Inside the rounded mound that is connected to the pressure plate, is some kind of o-ring or washer that keeps the screw device inside the metal mound (sorry, I don’t know the proper words.) The washer that was inside is metal and it was broken into about six pieces. It still allowed the press to work, but I would like to replace the washer (or whatever) with the proper item.

Does anyone know what this is called and/or where to get one?

I can post photos of the broken washer if anyone requests.

Thanks for any help!


image: BookPress1.jpg


image: BookPress2.jpg


image: BookPress3.jpg


image: BookPress4.jpg


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How exactly is it broken?

Every Book press that style i have taken apart has a split washer in that location.

I can take a picture of one in the shop if you would like.


Close inspection may show evidence of a washer (or missing washer) Immediately under the last Flat section of the Archimedes screw thread.??

The groove/rebate at bottom, would normally house the means to raise the Top Platen after *Pressing* ….. were there, possibly/originally 2 washers.??
The suggestion would be, at the bottom end, >to raise the platen,< if all else fails, perhaps source 1/2/3, traditional EXTERNAL, Circlips, that will snap over the shoulder at the bottom of the shaft and act exactly as, whatever was original.

Your Six pieces may not be from the bottom, difficult to see how,?? ..Very faded memories from along time ago usually involved One Above, One below, Washers, and/or retainers.

The above 1/2/3, etc., *external* circlips will substitute, Snapped on with Circlip Pliers, the diameter of the rebate is not hard to figure?, i.e. Caliper vernier, Simple Dividers, (munching Pac Man style) even tiny handmade Gauge.!!!

Circlips, generally from Hardware stores Motor Factors etc. but **external**,to sit precisely in the rebate, at bottom. xxx

xxx. On older Autos, the same syndrome and problem (in essence) was solved, i.e. where a retaining mechanism, had to be incorporated to fit a rebate, (as in the Press) the solution was thus;- an high tensile, sprung steel, COLLAR, split, NOT a full circle, was merely sprung over the end of the shaft, and sat exactly in the rebate, retained the components above. etc., etc., Fairly easy to spring ON, but very difficult to remove, which was the whole basis of the system, may sit well on the Press.!!

The suggestions above are based on this, but are only suggestions.!!!!

If the above be Rubbish or Red Herrings, APOLOGIES, but may prompt further investigations, and Good Info.
Good Luck.

Thanks for the info. What you say makes sense, especially now that the parts are cleaned. I have attached photos of the washer. The pieces are put back together and held in place on a piece of duck tape. You see that, apparently, the washer was originally two pieces. There is a difference in texture of each side. The ends of the piece in photos #3 and #4 (the one that broke into 2 pieces) look smoother than those of the side that broke into 4 pieces. They are smoother on the top and bottom, too. So maybe I need two half washers that fit over the “rebate” on the screw shaft? I haven’t seen any circlips that are as thick as these washers but they may exist. Do they make “half” washers” Do you know what they are called? Thanks for your help.

image: 6FoldedWasherRight4Pieces.jpg


image: 5FoldedWasherLeft2Pieces.jpg


image: 4FoldedWasherCloseUp2.jpg


image: 3Flat-WasherPieces.jpg


image: 2 PressParts and Washer.jpg

2 PressParts and Washer.jpg

image: 1Washer Flat.jpg

1Washer Flat.jpg

H.6? Better picture, metaphorically! = 2 half washers to locate inside the larger bore of the bottom of your Domed cap, shot 1, with a 360 complete disc/washer it would not fit into the bottom *land/Rebate* 2 halves would withdraw into the *HUB* your shot seems to indicate such! from the shiny contact area.
Would take the thrust of the *Archimedes screw thread* down onto the Top Platen without contacting the concave recess, seen in your original shot 1, (one)
On the upward stroke would, with the minimum of lost motion, raise the Top Platen, conjecture only??
Your latest shots would seem to suggest that, the Washer in 2 halves, originally, was Cast Iron, takes a lot of thrust over a long period, but, prone to shattering under sudden shocks, as in Spinning the Top Platen down too quickly.

Quite normal in a *FLY* press, with huge Bob weights, for the short sharp shock(s).

From your latest shots, it would seem that the *washer* even in original 2 halves, would occupy 90 - 95 % of the space within the recess, but there would seem to be the need for a secondary/additional *retainer* within the
rebate/land, at the bottom of the Screw thread, possibly my split sprung steel, offering as above, or a variation of my 2/3/4, maybe more, Circlips, to occupy the rebate gap.
Possibly before (hopefully) final re-assembly *dress* >clean up< the area of the rebate, in your original shot 2, the Burrs can be seen, usually achieved with Needle files, Fine emery cloth, in thin strips, used in *linishing fashion*?

If possible contact Your own >Boker`s out of Minneapolis< their Web Site appears Very, Very, all encompassing for Washers, Retainers etc.!!! ….This site suggested by our own U.K. *Namrick* Nut & Bolt store.

Again, majority of the above more conjecture than fact.?
Good Luck. Mick.

Thanks for your help! I have to ask one more question that is probably stupid but I like to cover my bases.

The old washer was cast iron and its replacement will be going into a cast iron device.

Do you suppose the new washer needs to be cast iron?

I don’t see how that could effect anything, cause anything to wear out quicker or whatever, I just felt like the possibility was there so I figured I should ask.

Even if you said “yes”, I believe a cast iron washer would be very hard to find unless I found one that fit perfectly left over from another old machine.

But if you can think of a reason why just buying a modern metal washer would be bad, I would appreciate knowing about it!

Thank you for all of your help!


I suspect whatever you use will have to have some machining done to it to make it fit — a common steel flat washer with a bore the size of the restricted part of the shaft will probably be larger in diameter than the recess for it in the “hump” fixture. It will also be a lot thinner than the space of the restricted part of the shaft. I would say get the thickest steel flat washers you can find of the outer diameter you need and have them bored to the inner diameter you need, then cut in half with as thin a cutter as possible, and install a stack of them, with the splits in different positions and with lots of grease, and reassemble the press. Should last quite a while.


with some measurements, i could machine one for you. it would be from a mild steel, or brass. whatever you would prefer. this looks as though there is no real pressure put on it. is this just to lift the plate after impression? the “split” aspect makes it removable.


From the photos your split washer looks like it was made from lead, you can check with a magnet, if it is you could make a replacement with a sand or putty-type mold.

lead would not fracture like this. that washer sits in the pocket of the bell shaped casting. it fills enough of the groove in the shaft and the diameter of the pocket, that when the “bell casting” is screwed back down, the washer will engage the plate and shaft, lifting it. it is probably some sort of “pig iron”. easily made from very im-pure molten ore. strong but very brittle. not to be mistaken with “cast steel” not quite as strong, but much more pliable, resisting fracturing like this.

Thanks for all your help. I found a big thick washer at Home Depot on the floor and they just gave it to me. I sawed it in half, used a Dremel to open the space in the middle some and it all works fine. I appreciate all the advice!