C&P clunking very hard

I’m right in the middle of a large job, and was frustrated by my throw-off lever suddenly *not* throwing off, and then locking up. This inspired me to oil every single hole. I had about 100 good impressions afterwards, and then suddenly the next 50 went from noisy to a horrible ca-clunking noise, but only with the impression. With no impression, no noise. It sounds like there’s something that is large and rattling at the end of each ca-clunk, like a rock. There’s also a lot of vibration with the noise, and it seems to be coming from…under the platen? There’s a previous post with these exact symptoms, but seemed to be no resolution. I’ve also noticed, while trying to troubleshoot, that the rocker lock doesn’t snug in to place with the impression, it sticks out at least 1/8th inch. Related? Thanks for any help, or referrals to a repair person in Austin, Texas.


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Quick check of two areas:
1) large bearing on left side of platen lock, plus tension spring;
2) cam follower bearing on right side of platen inside bull gear.

Updated. The press should be oiled daily before every use. Start high at the ink disk in the back and very systematically work down looking for every contact point and oil hole. It may be easier to have the rollers on the disk and the bed rocked forward. Work your way around the press in both open and closed positions. Not only oil the oil holes but also any contact surface such as the roller trucks and rails, and at rotational friction points. Since it all seemed to work ok previously, I would also look for something that may have slipped out of your chase like a slug or reglet and fallen into the mechanism. Also look for broken springs
Get a flashlight and roll the flywheel by hand for your inspection and oiling.

Platen spring, cam follower bearing, throw-off lever bracket, all in good working order, and no miscellaneous bits rattling around. After a second very heavy oiling it returned to its normal self. Dick, thanks for the reminder that I should be oiling it more. It’s fairly new to me, but I did find a few spots that hadn’t been oiled in a while, as they were clogged shut. The clatter was so terrific I was sure something was broken, but (knock on woodtype), it seemed to just need oil.

Hi. A little more about oiling:
•Oil the press before you ink it. Wipe any oil off the disk and rollers.
•Oil gun/can in one hand and a cotton rag in the other. Be generous with the application; wipe down the excess as you go.
•30W ND is good general purpose oil for most shop uses.
•40-50W ND may actually make some of these very “loose” antiques run better. I suspect yours would benefit from the heavier oils. Try 40W first. If that makes it quieter/smoother, try 50W to see if any improvement.
I’m glad it wasn’t something serious.

Hi everyone! I am having a similar problem and although I have cleaned up everything and oil every single hole, the clunking noise still is there when I print with packing. When there is no packing noise disappears… it’s as if the machine is finding too much resistance when printing. Can you please watch this video I’ve uploaded to help me solve the mystery?


Thanks a lot!!!!

I need some clarification on the above (Dick’s comments) as being relatively new. The rails should be oiled? If that is the case, won’t the trucks lose sufficient friction to turn properly? Thanks - Neil


I can’t watch the video — Vimeo is telling me that it is a private video and I need to have an account and be given permission to watch it.

I am having a similar issue. a pretty loud clunking when the platen shuts like there’s too much resistance. I am pretty good about oiling my press, so I fear I am missing some oil holes. I have an oil hole diagram for reference, but it’s hard to read.

Here’s a chart that I use:


In general, every place where two moving surfaces come into contact should be lubricated. The “cam roller” is very easy to miss and is hard to reach.

Turn the flywheel very slowly and try see what in the mechanical system is causing the noise (and resistance) as the press closes.


Clunking is not likely due to lack of lubrication. Perhaps, but not likely. It is more likely to be due to something being loose, out of adjustment, or broken.
With an assistant to turn the flywheel slowly to find if there is a point of resistance, listen carefully to identify the location of the sound. When there is a sound there is a vibration that can be felt. Use eye, ear and touch to isolate. A long handle screwdriver can work well for touch and can keep your hands out of the press.
Identify the source and the job is half done.
It might be something as simple as the grippers. Take them off and try.
Report your results so others may benefit.

I agree with Inky.

I would try to isolate the sound by eliminating other sound sources: the rollers can be removed and the disk advance claw can be restrained so they don’t make extraneous sound. The grippers can be removed (or restrained and their spring can be removed also to reduce their sounds.

Wiggling, tapping and knocking on parts while the press is stopped can help identify the source of sounds by tone.

Rotating parts can have sounds synchronous with the speed of rotation. Watching the shafts & wheels to see which have the same interval as a sound can help isolate sources.

Sounds are almost always indicators of wear and can be indicators of unsafe conditions. Becoming familiar with each sound and its source can only help to keep equipment and operators working smoothly and safely.

It cannot be overstated that daily cleaning and lubrication will help reveal and prevent problems. Debris and grime buildup can interfere with moving parts and add wear, reducing press reliability and safety.

I’m having the exact same issue with my C&P, a very heavy “clu-clunk” when impression is made.
Has anyone had any luck identifying the problem…?

Some treadle presses are directional by design , that meaning there is a correct direction for the machine to rotate ,this then means that risers roll over the cams smoothly . if you go in the wrong direction then there will be risers hitting the drop off ends of cams and because they are not graduated like the opposite side of the cams they will bang ,on some machines they will break the risers .
I dont know the press design in your case but a good inspection of the cams and risers will make the direction of rotation possible to identify .

As Peter, usually likes to cross the “T”s and dot the “I” s perhaps I can return the favour!!! in this instance he overlooked the little point that direction of rotation normally/usually is synonymous with pulling the top of the flywheel towards oneself, to commence treadling, of course, to throw the appendages out of harms way, instead of vice versa, when the flywheel is OPEN SPOKE type. He more than adequetaly demonstrated this very point, in the Print Shop, Sunday Last!!! One tiny tip that may prove useful, with the aid of any suitable length and diameter (for safety) of steel rod, with a small wooden or plastic ball on top, touched systematically and progressively onto all parts of the main frame adjacent to main attachment points, for all other secondary moving parts, with the wooden or plastic ball used as a one legged/one eared stethoscope, there is a good possibility that, you will get a very good clue, as to where the clunk is originating from, but BE AWARE that I have used this method occasionally on suspect bearings, on printing machines and frequently on motor vehicles and in the case of an alternator, with shot to bits bearings was told at several decibels!!! and I only used an improvised stethoscope, try it, BUT safely.

check the the key in the pinion gear.the noise you are hearing is most likely from the key you are using. if it is a loose fit at all,,, the pinion will load up against the key in a counterclockwise movement. then as the press goes past full impression the pinion snaps forward to clockwise. that is the noise. this will wear out or possibly fracture your crankshaft. a fitted key needs to be used. an easy way out is to go to “mc master carr. search for a “gib head key” i think yours is 3/8in x 3/8in x 3 in long.
the “rocker lock or gate lock” will make more of a BANG noise when it snaps out.

Thanks, that sounds about right. I think I’ve found the correct piece to order as well, but I’m not too familiar with the mechanics of my press and have never dissasembled it before… are there any resources available for that..?