Adjusting the cutter blade

The abby I’m working with has what I think is a reliance cutter, or at least one very similar. It needs a lot of TLC the two major items of which are the back gauge is crooked and I have no idea if the blade height is set right. They’ve been using it with a piece of fine grain pine for a stick, but it was propped up at least a 1/4” above the bed with leads and is split on all 8 edges almost half way through. They have a carpentry shop and I told them if I can’t find plastic sticks to have ones made of a hard wood. There’s a single bolt on the back gauge so I presume that’s straight forward. Loosen the bolt, square up the gauge and tighten it back down? The height of the blade I’m much less sure of. I know how to adjust modern cutters. I’d doubting though that there will be height setting bolts on the top of the blade to adjust it. The handle has to slots in, but I’m thinking those are just to adjust the handle to a comfortable position for the operator? Is there typically a stop somewhere on the handle mechanism to keep the blade from going to deep into the stick?

This is going to be the first thing I tackle up there since it’s no good doing nice letterpress printing if they can’t cut paper to use or finish!

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Lammy…. I used to own one of those old beasts. On the top of the blade holder there should be two screws that adjust the blade height. To adjust it, set the blade in the DOWN position, and loosen the bolts that hold the blade. ( I wouldn’t recommend loosening them with the blade in the UP position since that would probably result in the loss of a finger or two.) Then using the adjustment screws on the top of the blade holder, set it level and at the right height. When set right, the blade should cut ~1/32 into the stick, and no more.

About the sticks: If it has the old, wide stick slot you probably will not be able to find plastic sticks for it. I used poplar sticks milled to size and they worked fine.

yes the slot looked very wide to me. I’m waiting on a measurement to see what I can find. They have a carpentry shop on the premises so I told them to have ones made of a hard wood, cherry or maple.