Chicago Sigwalt #11

My wife has been interested in letter pressing for years so as a gift I bought her an old Chicago Sigwalt #11 tabletop letterpress. I am going to rebuild it (i.e. take it apart, sandblast it clean and repaint it). It is in good condition but it did not come with any rollers. It did come with one, what I believe to be called a, “core”.

I am looking to confirm the terminology of the rollers, and find out the dimensions of the rollers, cores and trucks.

I think I need a 2nd core(the metal rod) 4 trucks ( metal disks that go on the core to ride on the rails) and 2 rollers ( rubber part that receives the ink).

I am thinking I will be able to manufacture my own cores and trucks from aluminum, but i need the exact detentions of the original parts to do so. Also if anyone knows the cheapest way to get new rollers for this press as well, would be very helpful.

Thank you in advance for any help anyone can give me.

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Don’t use aluminum for the core — it can flex more than steel. I use drill rod, already precision machined to diameter, and cut it to length, same diameter as your existing core. The trucks can be aluminum, though Delrin or another similar plastic also is good — I made a set from 1” nylon rod. Measure the center-to-center distance between the two journal bearings on one roller hook and subtract a little (like maybe 1/4”, and that is your maximum roller diameter. If it’s a standard diameter, composition rollers should be easy from Tarheel Roller on your furnished cores. The length of the roller material should be about the same as the diameter of the ink disc. The trucks must be the same diameter as the rollers.

Good Luck!


Hey there, I hope this email finds you well.
I recently purchased a Sigwalt / Chicago #11 and need the rollers, cores, trucks and a chase.
I’ll greatly appreciate any information you may give on suppliers or manufacturers

Nina, you can make roller cores (or have a machine shop do it) as described above, and delrin or nylon trucks to fit the cores and match the proper roller diameter (try to get rollers and trucks made a standard diameter — for this press maybe 3/4 inch?). You can get composition or rubber rollers cast to size by Tarheel Roller and other suppliers (on this website). I don’t know where you can find a chase — you may have to have one welded up for you. Above are two other Chicago #11 owners, one of whom may be willing to loan you a chase to copy.


Don’t really think you need drill rod, cold rolled steel appears to be used on all the cores I’ve seen, plus if you need to pin the trucks so they won’t turn on the shaft it’s a lot easier to drill holes in. I have a no. 11 and it appears to have a homemade chase, machined out of 3/4 inch plate. There are guides machined in the side that hold the chase in. Someplace in the discussion thread a while ago I recall someone gave the specs for the trucks but they were in metric.

Consider doing a careful degreasing job in advance of any sandblasting. You may have gold leaf or similar designs covered by years of ink and/or residue. In the event you discover artwork, it may influence your choices for how to restore your press. Good luck, John