Kelsey chase screws and score ruler

I recently purchased a Kelsey 5x8 which is missing the chase screws. As I’m very new to letterpress, please excuse my questions but I would appreciate any help/advise.
Do I need the chase screws? If so where can I buy them? are lock quoins fine instead of it?

I would also like to score my cards on my Kelsey and saw that Fritz is selling the score ruler…which size would I need for my Kelsey (cranes lettra paper 4bar and A2 cards).

Sorry for all the questions, I searched everywhere but can’t seem to find any information.


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Just take your chase down to the local hardware store and tell them the length and type of screw you need. They should easily be able to help you.
As far as scoring - it won’t hurt if the rule is longer than the paper. Just get a rule that fits in your chase and you should be fine. An oversized rule is better than getting one too short, and you can use it for other jobs later.

fatsean - this is really helpful info, thanks so much!

The chase screw of the Kelsey press is a common 1/4 x 20 thread. A ‘set screw’ will fit, but it might be difficult to find one having a slot-head; rather, a hex or Allen head will be found thus neccessitating a proper wrench be obtained as well. An easier approach is to purchase common stove bolts and cut off the heads; you can even buy some Ready Rod which eliminates the head removal. Then, simply slot the screw using an fine hacksaw blade or a Dremel with cutting disc. The screws won’t be hardened, but a 5x8 won’t be used on 100k runs either.Yes quoins can be used with a Kelsey chase. BUT. And it’s a B-I-G BUT, those small chases really don’t have the strength to take the pressures of wedges. Over-zealous tightening can easily burst the largest chase - witness the welds of many 10x15, and even 14x22 C&P chases. Screws were used in many flat-bed chases because of form size consideration and I believe Kelsey opted fo use them for the same reason. There’s not a lot of room inside a 5x8 chase if you place quoins in there as well as a type set-up. In my opinion.


The previous comments you received from Fatsean and Forme are 100% correct, therefore I will not repeat the same info, but would just like to mention that at one time I had a 5x8 Kelsey and locked up with small quoins which worked out fine.
I have worked on larger presses and like to use quoins. It is true in a small chase there is not
much room, except that I used Midget quoins and Register quoins, which are really small
(3/8x13/8 and 1/4 by 13/8”). Nice quoins with key. I no longer use them and I would gladly
sell them if you are interested. There is not much pressure when using these quoins and they take very little space! Hoping you solve all your problems, and happy letterpressing.


thanks so much for this excellent info! I went to the hardware store today and - problem solved!

thanks for your offer but I’ve got the screws now and will try with them.


Pleased to have helped. Do you have the chase irons? These would be the flat metal strips which are to be used in conjunction with the screws. Without them, the screws will sink into wood furniture, and badly mar leads. Again, a hardware store will have flat stock available; probably cut it to size for you as well. Ask for 1/8in. by 5/8in. flat bar stock. You’ll require one piece about 7 3/4in., another about 4 3/4in in length.

I do have the chase irons but probably would have forgotten to use them if it wouldn’t be for your post (what can I say….I am a total beginner but willing to do whatever it takes to learn this beautiful trade).
Thank you so much once again, all your information was most valuable and helpful!

It’s probably unnecessary, but I’ll point it out anyway—be sure you remove your rollers before you do any scoring, perforating, etc.!

rectorypress - just realized this recently so it’s definately an excellent advise! Thanks!

Reviving this thread because I just got a Kelsey 5x8. It’s missing all but one of the chase screws, and that one screw is rusted into the hole.

Should I attempt to get that screw out and get new screws for the chase? Or just use a quoin? Would these quoins work? Found on eBay. I really have no idea what size of quoins to be looking for.


Those quoins will work, but I’ve found wedge quoins to be a challenge to a new printer. Give John Barrett at Letterpress Things a call, and ask for a set of Wickersham quoins and a key. Here’s his Yellow Pages listing:

You’ll spend a lot less than $30, and he can also set you up with anything (and everything!) else you need to get started.

Good luck!

Pass up those e-bay quoins. For starters, there are only 3 quoins - not six as claimed. Also, the teeth are plumb worn out. All that, and they are too large for a 5x8 chase. If you must, use the Wickershams; they are smaller, expand parallel and don’t take too much of the forme. However, removing that rusted screw, then replacing all with common headless slotted 1/4 - 20 screws will be much less expensive plus present less hassle with lock-up. Of course chase irons are also required to prevent the screws from damaging furniture but common bar stock is readily available from the same source as the aforementioned screws. A problem with using quoins in the smaller chases is a tendency to over-tighten the forme. Amazing the ‘bow’ those chases will take - just prior to cracking at a corner. The Kelsey is designed to work within its limitations. And the chase screws are but one of those designs.

any tips on how to get the rusted screw out? it’s pretty stuck in there, and it looks like the previous owner tried to get it out too - the screw isn’t stripped but it is scratched up, like someone went at it with a screwdriver.

i appreciate the tips!