Lockup for large showcard press

Hi everyone,

I’m hoping someone can help me with this. I was recently given my first press, a large showcard sign press. The bed is 30” wide and 45” long, which is great in terms of having room to play, but I’m having trouble finding a way to reliably lock up plates & type. Even if I had enough furniture to fill a bed that size, there is no “edge” at the end of the press for a quoin to push against. So, I’m looking for something similar to a “handy lock-up bar” that I’ve used on Vandercooks…or if anyone has any other ideas, I’d really appreciate it.


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Use a chase.

Even with a chase, you will need to secure the chase itself in to a fixed position in the bed of the press. Not knowing what “brand” of showcard press you have, I find in difficult to conceive that there isn’t a provision for stops at both ends. Are there two holes in the bed at the end(s)?. Some of these presses had pins (approx. 1/4” dia.) that slipped into holes at the ends and provided a stop against which furniture could be braced.

Are there “toothed” edges along both sides? These would have been there to allow for crossbars (that would have come with the press) which would allow for insertion at adjustable positions in the bed. I have several showcard presses with this sort of set-up.

Lacking any of that, several magnets might be your recourse.

These presses also often had a removable base plate. If the type was set directly in the bed of the press (or in a chase), the plate needed to be underneath the form. If the type was set in a galley, the base plate needed to be removed as the thickness of the bottom of the galley replaced the thickness of the base plate.

You can secure your chase with magnets. Are there any holes along the edges of the press.
My signpress has a removable border with pins that slip into the bed of the press. The edges have a dental molding that accepts vertical or horizontal bars for holding type.

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

My press does have two holes at the end of the bed for pins. It also does have the “toothed” edges that you mention, Foolproof546. Unfortunately, I don’t have the pins or the crossbars…I guess I’ll have to keep my eye out for those. I do have magnets, but just wondered if there was a way to lock up more securely in the meantime.

Thanks for the input!

You might be able to find simple wooden dowels to made some pins to stick out of the holes on the end. A crossbar butting up against them would provide a stable edge at the end.

Use a chase, and use several quoins (make sure you have furniture against metal parts) along the side, locking it from side to side. This has the double advantage of being able to move the chase under the paper for positioning and being able to makeready under the form (which you would have to do letter by letter otherwise).

Remove the the toothed guides from the side to get a clean lock-up, but keep them around in case you find the cross pieces and locate some slotted type that is made for show-card presses.