Adapting Kelsey Rollers for a Sigwalt #5

After getting quotes from various vendor for custom-made rollers for my new Sigwalt #5, I was a little disappointed by the lead-times for their production. All of the vendors are great people and offer great service, but I need to get this machine up and running rather quickly. Custom rollers take time to make and I didn’t have the luxury of waiting 4-6 weeks for them.

Rather than wait that long, I called NA Graphics and spent some time discussing the options. As it turns out, Kelsey 6 x 10 rollers are very similar in size to my 6 x 9 Sigwalt but are just a little longer…. AND they were in stock, ready to be shipped out via 2nd day mail. So I ordered a set of two Kelsey Rollers, and new Kelsey Trucks, knowing that I’d have to modify them to fit.

They arrived today, and modifying them was a breeze. All I had to do was to file off the two “nubs” that key the truck in place, and carefully cut the rubber back by a half-inch on one end….. and Viola! A set of rollers in two working days!

I guess my point is this: If you need rollers for an odd or older press…. call NA Graphics. These folks know what will work, what won’t work, and what MIGHT work…. and they are willing to help you figure things out. They are a valuable resource for our Letterpress Community.

(one note: I DID cast a set of Gummy-Bear rollers for this press, but they didn’t turn out well. Gummy rollers seem best suited to smaller diameters)

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Keep an eye on those Kelsey rollers. If vinylith, they’ll be hard as a carp within three months. Even new they’ve the tack of a skidder tire.

good point Forme. I opted for the rubber rollers for just that reason. The vinyl ones just didn’t seem right for me.

Woah! I have a #5 and I’m pretty sure it came with rollers that had been adapted from a Kelsey or something else. I don’t like them, they allow for too much play in the roller-arms which seems to have caused undue wear on various parts. My roller cores, though, are too short, not too long:
so hopefully you won’t run into the same problems I have…

The trucks should align with the axis of the rollers, and the cores should extend past the end of the trucks. I will try to drawing of the core and truck as they should look…

image: No.5 rollers.jpg

No.5 rollers.jpg

Sorry - copy & paste error - meant to say “I will try to attach a drawing”

It looks like the rollers on Gilly’s press are from a 5 x 8…. which are too short. I had an old set and tried them with the same result. The 6 x 10 are a few inches longer and work much better…. with the above mentioned modifications.

I purchased a set of kelsey trucks to go with them, and then used them “Kelsey style” with the hooks working directly on the cores. This results in a nice tight set-up, with very little play. In theory it will cause some wear on the roller hooks….. but since Sigwalt roller hooks are harder steel than the Kelsey cores, I don’t think it’ll be a real-world problem.

I have a Sigwalt Ideal #5 as well. The rollers that were on it when I got it were offset rollers that someone had adapted. I had Tarheel Roller make new rollers and he had to make new trucks as the ones on it were wrong for the press. Suddenly I had success printing!!