broken pin

I have a 6x10 victor model excelsior kelsey press. The pin that attaches the handle recently broke while I was printing a run of invitations. I went to home depot and bought an iron rod and cut a 2 inch segment and inserted it, but there is too much “play” to get a good fit. I tried wrapping the newly cut piece in electrical tape and pounding it in… but still not a good fit. Does anyone have a suggestion for me, or know of a machinist anywhere near the dc area who would know what to do? I’ve had the press for about 6 months and am still a bit new to letterpressing and would appreciate any help out there.

thanks!!! -Melissa

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I don’t know what the specific original pin was, but it would likely be a taper pin, less likely a straight pin. You can tell that by measuring the holes on both sides of the handle. Instead of improvising a replacement out of rod, you should go to the fastener bins at the hardware store and get a replacement there. Always bring the remains of the broken pin you need to replace for comparison; memory or inaccurate measurements won’t help find the exact part.
If it is a taper hole, there will probably be longer taper pins to use, and after inserting the pin you saw off some of the excess with a hacksaw. If it is a straight hole, it may be better to use a roll pin rather than a straight pin. Roll pins are slightly larger than the hole, and compression holds them in place.
Using a replacement of the wrong size will lead to wear and distortion of the holes, and a sloppy feel to the mechanism.

thanks… it was a taper pin and I found a replacement! hooray!!!