Trouble on my Kelsey… Please Help!

I’m having a difficult time getting an impression on my Kelsey 5x8 press, and I was wondering if anyone has had similar problems or has any tips for correcting this problem. I tried adding more packing and adjusting the impression screws, and still no impression. Sometimes I’ll get an impression but it’s only on the lower half of the letters, or the right or left letters. It’s very strange, and I’m not sure what the problem is.

Let me know if you have ideas. Thanks!

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Are you getting an impression with no ink, or no impression at all?

There could be any number of things that need adjusting - you could try adjusting the platen: back off the platen entirely, and insert a regular amount of packing (i.e. a sheet of pressboard plus a couple of sheets of hard paper.) Then lock a capital M (a 24-36 point is best, but whatever you have will work) in each corner of your chase. Set the chase in press and adjust the platen until each of the four Ms is giving an even impression.

If that doesn’t work … um … are the rollers inking evenly? Is the chase sitting in the bed evenly? Is the type locked up ok? Are the rollers hitting the type smoothly, and not skidding, etc? Are the trucks rolling along the rails ok?

If you do not have it already, Don Black has the Kelsey guidebook up for viewing on his site (

One thing I found I think it was in the Kelsey manual I have as well is that sometimes you just have to cut a sheet of paper and place it in the area where you don’t have impression.. So that if you have a line of text and the first 3 words have impression, but not the last two try adding xtra packing in just that area.

I have a Kelsey 5X8 and one thing I found was that you have to make sure that the chase fits evenly in the chase mount and that the lock fits snuggly holding the chase in if not the platen hits only near the top and not squarely against the chase. I know this seems far fetched but is the type .918 high?, I believe some other type may not be as high.