Taping: Rails or Roller trucks?

Hello all,
I’m having a bit of trouble with my rollers and I’ve been reading up about taping for platens. I’m a bit confused with whether one should tape up the rails, or the trucks themselves. I was hoping to hear both sides of the argument.
Still with my Adana 5x8, if that matters.


Log in to reply   10 replies so far

Hello JR,
I have always taped the rails. Sometimes you will find that one area needs a little more than rest. I am not sure how you’d accomplish this if you taped only the trucks.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

The goal is to have the rollers just kiss the type with ink. Nice new rollers properly made should be smooth precise cylinders concentric with the roller shafts and the same with the trucks. You also want the surface speed of the rollers to be as nearly the same as that of the trucks as possible or the roller surface will skid across the type surface and smear the ink. That is why rollers and trucks should be within 1/16” in diameter, rollers larger. You should start by checking the rails with a good straightedge across the bed from rail to rail and a type-high gauge. If the rails are type high and the rollers 1/16” larger than the trucks you should get nearly perfect inking.

Ad Lib has an excellent point here. I was assuming the rollers had been made to the correct diameter for your trucks. When this is the case I’d expect that any issues with pressure are due to the wear of the bearers. That problem I’d fix with tape on the bearers.

Any more pronounced problem should be corrected by getting rollers and trucks in the correct relationship to each other like Ad Lib describes.


PS- can folks sign their posts so we know who we’re talking to?!

Dan and AdLib, thanks for the advice. From what I can tell now, the problem might be the trucks themselves. They’re bigger than the rollers, by about 1/16”. Moreover the rails are about 1/8” from type high.
Obviously I can adjust the rails and I’ve done that before with decent results but I’m sure I can do better. It’s that I don’t see that there’s anything I can do about the trucks other than get new ones, so… know where I can get Adana trucks this side of the pond?

Are the rollers composition? If you’re in the US North you’ve been through a pretty dry winter and perhaps the rollers have dried out and shrunk that much. Printers using composition rollers have summer rollers and winter rollers for just this reason. However, if they’re rubber they’re not likely to change size and the trucks are just too big. Replacing the trucks may not help, since standard Adana trucks are all likely to be the same size, unless you have special ones made.


Hi Bob,
I’ve had a look at photos of other people’s Adana’s around the internet and from what I can tell, their trucks are smaller than the rollers and metal. Mine are larger and plastic. It’s not a roller issue as they are most definatly rubber. I’ll check with Adana’s parent company to see if it’s difficult to ship trucks over to Canada. Otherwise anyone can consider this topic closed..
Thanks again for your advice, I do really appreciate it and I’ve no doubt it’ll come in handy once I get this problem fixed.


JR, you might find it cheaper and more satisfactory to see if you can find someone with a small machinist’s lathe and just turn your plastic trucks enough smaller to work. Plastic is so easy to work — much less trouble than steel. Many hobbyists who build accurate scale models of things like trains have a small lathe that would be perfect for the job.



The large plastic trucks are normal for an Adana.
The trucks that I have on my Adana 8x5 are black plastic. Each truck is divided down the middle with one side of each truck larger diameter than the other side of the truck.

You can take both trucks off the press and switch them around so that they either ride on the high side of the trucks or the low side of the trucks. This adjusts the height of the rollers.

I don’t know if I am explaining this clearly enough, but that is how my Adana rolls. I have tape on the rails of my press too.

Hey RMG,
Thanks for the input. You probably have either modified or just different trucks than mine because they arn’t different from one side to the other. I think like Bob recommended I’ll have someone lathe the things.


Here’s a link to BoxCar’s video where he shows the process of taping the rails and checking roller height w/ a roller gauge. It’s a great video, though if you’re having trouble with your trucks, it won’t solve your problem. I have a TON of tape on my rails, and like they say in the video, if you don’t…you should. http://www.boxcarpress.com/community/letterpress-training-video.html - click on the Adjusting Roller Height link.