Kelsey 5x8

Tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Does it have good impression strength, does it run smoothly, and is it a good press in general?

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Bottom line - NO.

check out this thread.

Good to know.

i’ve had a 5x8 kelsey for 45 years, the kelseys are not as strong as pilots or craftsmen presses, they are not made for deep impression.i use my press for small short run foil stamping, i picked up a foiling attachment on ebay. i think the kelseys are pretty good presses if you don’t push them too far. Dick G.

The NO above is a bit harsh. You can do good work with a Kelsey as long as you are willing to live within its limitations. Which are more than some other comparable presses, say the Sigwalt or Golding or Craftsmen of a similar size.

The 5x8 I had was very sensitive to form size. Anything more than 1/3 of the chase was hard to print well. The platen had to be adjusted constantly as it wouldn’t stay true. Its platen adjustment screws were in the centers of the sides and one or another would loosen up after a very few impressions.

But I worked with it for more than 15 years before upgrading to a C&P after I found one, finally.

I thought I would cut to the chase with my first response of a harsh NO. They are, in fact, useable, but the limitations listed above make it about the last choice for a table-top platen of comparable size. My first press 35 years ago was a 5” x 8” Kelsey and I still have it.


I’ve got to respectfully disagree with the “no voters” on this one. I’ve owned numerous Kelsey presses through the years, and found that they are great little machines if you take the time to learn their ins and outs…… just like with any other press.

Do they have limitations? of course they do. All presses have their strong and weak points. Their only real limitation is that they are indeed rather small. BUT….. they are simple to operate, safe, and can print a lot more than folks around here seem to think they will.

A few years ago I tested a Kelsey 5 x 8’s pressure capacity to destruction using strain gauges, and the results are post here on Briar Press. what I found is that they are actually quite sturdy on a pounds per square inch basis….. and certainly suitable for deep impression if you keep the area small.

Their biggest weakness is not one of impression strength, but rather of inking. Those little rollers don’t carry enough to cover a large form of big solids…… but for invitations, envelopes, and small things like business cards they are great little machines.

I haven’t had the chance to really print many things on my 5x8 yet, but the few things I’ve done came out just like I wanted. For projects with a relatively small print area, it seems to be a fine press.

Sounds like a good biz card press.

Indeed. And more.

image: IMG_0006.jpg


Mega- indeed you are right! Somewhere hidden in the archives here on Briar Press, I related a story about an entire book I printed on a Kelsey once…… and it turned out great. The machine handled it beautifully.

Your cards look good.