Kelsey Excelsior Restore

I’ve decided to disassemble my Kelsey Excelsior 3x5 to do a full restore. I’ve filed down the mushroom ends of each pin and hammered them out, and have disassembled it completely. I’ve cleaned all the rust and will repaint soon. But I’m thinking of replacing the pins.

I’m not familiar with the kinds of pins out there, and I’m wondering which kind of pin I should use. As far as I can tell, the existing pins were friction fit. Is there an existing style pin out there in the wide world of hardware, or should I just buy a steel rod and cut them to length? I’m hoping to avoid hammering and mushrooming them as it’s very awkward and I’m worried I might hurt the cast iron. I’m open to ideas!

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forgot to attach a photo- these are the pins I’m referring to. there are 6-8 I think at varying sizes.

I can’t see the photos, but I’m fairly certain I know what you’re referring to. The original pins were peened over, which is the process of hammering out and flaring the end to leave the pin “captured” in place. You could do that again, carefuly. Maybe use a center punch to slowly draw the material out around the edge.

Looking online at photos, it looks like some of the newer Kelsey presses use some form of bolt and a very thin nut of some kind, instead of the peening process. That might be an option as long as there is clearance on both ends for the head of the bolt and nut.


Thanks Brent - yes the site was giving me trouble with the photo. But your comment makes sense. I’m a little nervous hammering on the pins for fear of jarring the press too much. they aren’t in ideal locations - makes me wonder how they used to do it. I’ll search around for other restored presses for examples of pin alternatives like you mentioned. Thanks!

I have restored a Kelsey 5x8 and I just cut steel rod and used retaining rings. That’s how some of the newer Kelseys were made. I have also seen some people cut grooves near the end of each pin and use a side mounted retaining ring. The push on ones worked fine for me..

thanks, I like that idea! Sounds like what Brent was describing.

StarLok are available at most hardware stores and approximate the later internal-toothed Kelsey fastener. They simply push on. In a pinch, a Tinnerman will also do the job. If you really want strong pins, scrounge some needle bearing rollers (from heavy duty machinery); they will outlast the press. :o)

The later Kelseys were made with the StarLok’s,
they will be hard to get in a couple inside parts of the pivot.
after cutting bar to size use a sharp chisel and hard surface like a vice and put a nick just inside end of bar so when tapped in it only hits end part of frame, the rest of parts will turn free on bar. not being a motorized press it will be fine.
I like using the plated rod from hardware store looks like Crome. If you take a bench grinder with a brass wire wheel to your small parts it will make the old cast iron shine.

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