Rounds dots, spots or whatever, on the back of chases.

I recently purchased a Kelsey Victor 6 x 10 press. It came with one chase and I later purchased a second.

I have a question about soemthing that may be, or may not be, a problem and would appreciate any thoughts.

The chases have little round raised spots on the back, where they go in contact with the chase bed. I have attached 3 photos to give a better idea of what I am talking about.

On one of the chases, the little round spots are very worn on one side, so the chase does not actually lay flat against the bed. I have no idea if that matters. As long as the type is locked up flat and lays flat against the bed, does the chase have to be parallel to the type as well? Or if one corner does not touch the bed, is that OK?

I prefer not to buy another chase due to the cost but I prefer to have two. If I can fix the one I have, that will be best for me, of course.

If it does matter, do you have any idea of what I can do to level the chase against the bed? I could slide a thin spacer in but it may be difficult to keep it in place. I am sure someone must have encountered this before and will probably have some thoughts.

I will try to attach photos.

Photo 1s - On these 2 chases, the dots/tabs are of different heights. You can see that the one on the right has worn down quite a bit.

Photo 2s - On this corner of the two chases, the tabs are about the same height.

Photo 3s - This is probably the newer (or, at least, less used) of two chases that I bought. The tabs all seem about right. It is the other chase that came with the press that has tabs lower on one corner and higher on the other corner. Is that a problem or nothing to worry about?

Any help you can offer will be appreciated.

Thanks and Merry Christmas!

image: Tabs1s.jpg


image: Tabs2s.jpg


image: Tabs3s.jpg


Log in to reply   11 replies so far

I don’t think it matters as long as your type rests on the bed evenly. Try them and see what happens.

They’re probably what was left after lopping the sprues off of the castings. As I understand it, Kelsey was not a high-end shop. A quote from a thread that can be found elsewhere here on Briar Press regarding practices at Kelsey in their later days:

“…we certainly were not turning out aerospace products. The majority of the preparation of the parts was to take the raw cast iron casting, remove casting lines, deburr and then drill the pieces. I wish every piece had come from the foundry in good shape, however, especially towards the end, the patterns were not turning out good castings making them harder to machine or drill accurately…”

Or, grind it to fit, paint it to match.

I think those raised dots, which have been ground, are Kelsey’s way to ensure that the four sides of the chase sit on a flat surface without rocking. It looks to me like the low dot has a ground surface, which would indicate that it has been machined to a specific height. If you place the chase on a flat surface (like the bed of a proof press or a good not-worn imposing stone) does it rock on two diagonal corners? If not it should be fine.


The chase with the short “dots” does wobble when laid on a flat surface. The other chase seems solid.

Several people have told me just to file the dots off the wobbly chase to the point where all are even. Apparently the dots don’t serve any purpose - it sounds like from the above anyway - other than being a leftover from the casting process, so filing them all flat (or at least so they are all even) shouldn’t hurt.

Is that kind of the consensus? That is what I have heard from two other printers I have asked. Once I file I can’t add metal back! So am I just wanting to be sure that it won’t be bad to proceed with that method of solving the problem.

I did some letterpress work back when I was in high school and at my first job (45 years ago) but didn’t run into anything like this so I was not sure best to proceed.

Thank y’all for your advice and opinions!

Merry Christmas!

I would try the chase and see what happens, is should be ok, if not then file away.

The advantage of having the chase sit on all four “dots” on the stone is that they are placed so that the inside edges of the chase (assuming those are machined) are exactly perpendicular to the stone, so that your lockup is square to the chase and thus to the bed of the press. If the chase is tilted a little bit, so will be your lockup. I’d be careful altering it much — carefully file down the highest one until all four sit without rocking.

But if this is the kind of Kelsey chase with set screw lockup and that is all you use, it’s a bit less important, though you do lock up against the opposite sides, which still should be square to the stone.


Totally agree with Bob, of AdLibPress above. Everything has a purpose. The “dot” or feet of the chase are machined to make the inside walls of the chase perpendicular to the type bed, thereby causing the type to stand on the type bed in at right angles to the bed. If these are damaged or foolishly filed then the formes in high speed machines will work loose and explode! If they have become worn or suffered abuse it is important to take them to an engineering shop and have the chase machined correctly. Imagine seeing letters that print on only one side of their image. Consider the effects of using worn wooden furniture in automatic machines and how spacing material rises, it’s all part of the same problem.

I don’t think there is much worry about a Kelsey chase in a “high speed” machine.

Not so true, gachap, the question and the answer applies to the whole trade. Even simple desktops, where the type must stand perpendicular to the type bed.

I think the dots are not casting spru but part of the manufacturing process of the chase to insure it sits on the press bed level. You can see machining marks on them in the pictures. It’s easier to machine the dots to make corrections to the chase if it gets dropped or bent. Who knows what happens to a chase in a hundred years. They were made to last.

S S D D? … The post on Dec.16 at 22.13 is probably just about correct, . . those dated Dec.19 at 16 08 and 20 01. prompted the s/s/d/d above!!!!
A. Sand casting, as was back in those relevant days was precisely and specifically * GRAVITY* only, - injection moulding was way way in the future, way back then?? which by implication means that,
B. to achieve built in/factored in height control points on the Underside, the sprue holes would have been on the upper side,(to view) their aint none apparently, plus in shot 2 looks like EIGHT,? 8?, which would be synonymous with good casting principle,s i.e. 8 smaller ports for the molten metal to flow evenly, … as is often said £ to a pinch of ****, there are NO protrusions on the alleged, NON pictured underside, which is probably the genuine underside any way.
Checked out more than (Sixty) 60, chases in our museum Print Shop, not ONE has evidence of protrusions,/high spots, back AND front, many with *sprue* marks on one face only, several (apparently) fettled/filed by hand, several (apparently) milled down to a common height clearance, MOST showing signs of being used, in the past, with the protrusions facing Up, as witness, the many colour,s and wash ups to view, almost racing certainty there will be virtually no colour on the reverse of the eight dot example above.

Author talking from the wrong orifice, POSSIBLY? but as long ago as the late 50,s the Author spent many Hours, lurking in a Foundry (Cast Iron) of course, probably check-able,I. E. >The Haven Foundry> Newhaven Sussex, U.K. where Many Cast Iron components were made as Sub-Contract, for the Monotype Corporation, specifically the Bases for MONOTYPE Casters, whereby they (the bases) were left out in the weather to cure for at least 12 months, before being Fettled and Machined In Redhill.???

Perhaps the original Postee would examine the supposed back of the chases and see if there is ANY evidence to suggest that the levelling points were EVER face down with wash up/colour on the alleged/supposed face to view, if the height control points were ever such.