C & P locked up

My C&P locked up… pretty sure due to over packing my platen vs lack of oil. I have been able to rock it in the past, but nothing is moving. Any suggestions? It has a base and polymer locked in the chase bed. Is there a way to release the pressure on the platen via a bolt from behind? {way out of my zone on this one} any suggestions are appreciated.

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Won’t the throw-off disengage? You can back off the platen adjustment but then you have to readjust it to perfection again — not so easy. Lack of oil will make the throw-off hard to move — don’t try to do it with the handle, as that is how they get broken. You should also be able to rock it loose with the flywheel — try to figure out which direction is closer to clearing. It is unlikely to be stuck exactly on dead center of impression. You should also oil all the bearings before trying to move it and let it sit for a little while to let the oil work its way into the bearings.


Normally I can rock it loose with the flywheel [not that it happens all the time]. I am oiling and will let it sit. The throw-off is open and it stopped when platen hit for impression. Agreed, I would rather not have to back off the platen adjustment. Fingers crossed and thank you. Tamara

Sorry, but the safest route is to back down the platen screws before trying to get it off center. While tedious and bothersome—resetting the platen will be reminder not to get greedy for impression on a platen press. If you really think you will need more impression for a project, either get a bigger press, get a cylinder press, or just develop a partnership with somebody that has a press that can do what you want it to.

All of the above are cheaper avenues then finding you press irreparably damaged when you most need it.

No greed, I am fine with the way I have been printing with my platen press for several years now. Working with handmade paper, thickness can vary. Even fed one at a time, sometimes you miss one.

Fresh Heifer -

I agree with Mike. I had to go out on a service call to solve this exact same problem for a woman who was punching hard into soft packing on an 8x12. We did safely open the press and no damage was done.

The safe way to open the press will be to back off on the upper platen impression bolts. I would not recommend rocking it, since the post to the left of the platen - the one that connects to the roller carriage arm - can break if stressed - and if it does, you will be in big trouble.

I have an 8x12 in the barn right now with that post broken, so I know it can happen. Some of these old cast-iron castings are very brittle. Strong, but brittle. They can snap.

To maintain level on the platen, loosen the upper lock nuts then carefully count the 1/4 turns you make to back off of the impression. Then, after the press is open, tighten them back the exact same number of 1/4 turns. No guarantee that you’ll get it back to perfectly level, but this should work.

Loosening the upper bolts will likely suffice.

But next time you adjust your packing, be sure to use only hard packing. The situation you’re facing may be the result of printing very heavy impression on thick, compressible stock while using a soft, compressible packing.

I recommend that you consider using a hard packing in the future - so that the impression is made into your paper, not into the tympan.

And remember - rocking may only increase the pressure and could cause that left bracket to snap.

Good luck and be sure to let us know how things work out.

- Alan

Good news! Bob, thanks for the oil tip. The press sat overnight and all is well this am. What I originally thought might be over packing, turned out to be a much thicker pc of handmade paper than I originally set up for and I was not able to catch in time. I work with a delicate balance between packing/thick artisan paper so I don’t punch hard or through as I do not want to stress my press or see impression on the reverse. Many thanks to you for your post.

Alan-I appreciate your experience/details on opening a platen… I have copied them for my C&P files, with all due respect, I hope I never have to use them…..[sigh of relief face here]