VAndercook Handy Lockup Bar

Pictured below is the lockup bar. I am questioning if this bar functions as it should. When lifting the handle it only expands total length of bar from approximately 17” to 17 1/8”—- only an increase of 1/8”. Is this correct? I was able to remove the end piece and it appears that possibly the internal cylindrical shaft may have broken at some point in time. There is a small circular gear in the hole which serves no purpose other than to increase the shaft length. The shortening of that shaft would of course affect the maximum length when opened. Please advise with any details you may have.

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1/8” may be all the expansion needed for fit on a given press. As with much of Vandercook, you “shim to fit” and that’s what the gear does. I’ve used washers.

I have the same problem; and, like parallel imp, I use a shim - in my case a 3-point lead or thin reglet. Easily solved!

Maybe I mis-remember, but I thought there was a heavy spring in there too, square-section, like a die spring.

I’ve attached photo to show internal items. As the handle is lifted the cam mechanism attached at the end of the handle (see circle with set screw on face of bar) pushes a pin that expands the lever by about 1/8”. The screw holds the T-shaped extender onto the bar and the set screw acts to push against the screw at a 90 degree angle to prevent it from loosening. That small circular gear section serves no other purpose than you fill a gap between the internal pin and the pin on the extender….obviously the previous owner used it as some type of shim. Maybe there was an equally long compression spring there that would have served the same purpose. I’m trying to determine the original design so if it requires a spring I can easily install one.

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My lockup bar is the newer style, but still does not move over 1/8” whe the lever is pulled. If properly sized, that should be sufficient. Take a look at the distance moved by quoins when locking up. Their movement is about the same.

If the extension outward is not sufficient, you may have to add a shim as mentioned to get good lockup. I might suggest a rubber sheeting layer could be added to each end to help get a secure bite on the inner rails. The rubber could be attached with a good adhesive to the well-cleaned metal. That addition would serve to extend the reach as well as give better grip to prevent sliding.

John Henry
CedarCreek Press

We’ve been working on a new run of Handy Lock Up bars that will be for 15” bed presses. I think we have about 20 of these in the works, all to original Vandercook blueprints. Maybe by summer they will be ready. These are the newer style bar, not the one discussed here. These were designed in the 1960s, but I’m afraid they will be priced at what it costs in 2021.

These bars were used on a variety of presses with slight variations over the decades. A shim here or there was normal from the factory, and with wear, added by users.