C & P Platen Crank Shaft Bent :-(

My movers failed to strap down my letterpress to their truck when they were moving it, and of course it toppled over, bending the crank shaft right where it connects to the fly wheel. This is the first press I ever purchased and my BABY and I am hoping to be able to fix this. I have had a machinist come and take a look and his recommendation is to take the shaft out and straighten it back using a 110 ton press. He however is not a letterpress expert and as we all know these things are tricky and I want everything to be perfect. Does anyone have opinions about doing it this way? Or does anyone know where I can get a new Shaft built? I’d rather keep the original if possible but I really just want to be able to use the press at this point. Please take a look at the images below. ANY help or recommendations would be very helpful, the press is located in San Carlos, CA which is about 30 min south from SF. Thank you in advance!

image: Bent.jpg


image: Letterpress.jpg


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Wow. I’m amazed it didn’t break instead of bend like that. There’s no harm in trying the machinist’s suggestion. You can also probably get a replacement shaft from Ted Salkin or maybe John Horn. If I were you I’d look into the repair vs. replace costs and see what you think.

I’d also be a little concerned about what invisible damage may have occurred. I’m guessing this press didn’t come crashing to the ground (hence the bending as opposed to breaking) so you may very well be fine with just repairing or replacing the shaft.

Good luck and let us know how it works out.


Have the machinist make a new shaft and bill the cost to the mover. (Unless it’s a friend or family member, then bill them and dope slap them for not dogging the press to the floor of the truck.) I doubt that you will ever get the shaft completely straight and it will wear the bearings out wobbling around.

when we shipped kluges,,, we always removed the flywheels,,, just for this reason… with some time and a hefty press you can bend this back… it should be fine…have your “press guy” put a block(filler steel) in the key groove to help preserve that..check for used ones though…compare… if it comes down to it… i will straighten it for you…
should bill the shipping Co for this though ….

Thanks for all the comments! We are having trouble actually getting the shaft off of the press. I have seen some discussion about this, and we have tried using a slide hammer to no-avail. Any other advise? I’m hesitant to let someone apply heat, as that idea just scares me.

Also Eric- Where are you located? If you think you can straighten it, I would rather go with someone who know’s letterpress’s then someone who doesn’t. Let me know how much you think it would cost to take care of.

Thanks again everyone.

Are you having a hard time getting the shaft out of the press or having a hard time getting the flywheel off the shaft? I’ve never had any trouble removing a shaft from a press—as long as I was able to remove the pinion gear. I usually can just smack the pinion gear (with a wood blocked hammer) toward the body of the press and that will dislodge the key enough to be pried out.

Hope this helps

Once you’ve gotten the shaft out of the press, your machinist should be able to straighten it with no real problem. While the straightened shaft may not run absolutely perfectly true, it should be fine for a printing press. If your machinist can’t do it or you don’t feel comfortable with his work, I can put you in touch with a machinist in Santa Clara (1/2 hr south of you) who can do it, if that’s easier than shipping to Eric.

Dave R.

Have heard of seized flywheel shafts not bent one’s.Agree with others, have mover cover cost of repair. There are few letterpress shops in your area, ask them who they use.
I’m sure Norman will know, try Hicks Brothers,he’s in your area. Also, there are quite a few letterpress shops in that area, ask who they would recommend