Broken crank shaft

I’m in the Dallas area and just purchased a C&P motorized press from out of state. It arrived today, and unfortunately, the flywheel was broken during transit. I’ve called a few local welders but several of them have told me that they aren’t able to weld cast iron. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to repair this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Flywheel seems ok. Problem looks like crankshaft. Can be replaced with a straight shaft by machinist. Expect to pay $500.00 or more for straight shaft (forget about a treadle).
Or part out this press and look for another!

Maybe it’s the photos but I don’t see any breaks on the flywheel itself, but the shaft is definitely broken. Because the break is right at the bearing it will be very hard to repair — though one way might be to cut the shaft at the treadle crank and have a machine shop replace the broken section with steel, turning down that end of the steel and boring into the enlarged crank, and mating the two parts by brazing them together at that point. As long as the two ends of the shaft are concentric it should be OK — there isn’t very much torque or lateral strain on the flywheel shaft if you’re not dropping the press! Be sure to have the shipper pay for the repair.


Thanks for the advice! Sorry, lack of correct terminology on my part. The flywheel is intact, its the shaft that’s broken. I’ve tried to find someone who does brazing but haven’t been able to locate anyone that will work on this. I’ll try calling a machine shop. The problem is that I really don’t know anything about machinery and it’s for me to explain this over the phone to people.

We also suffered a broke shaft on a C&P a few years ago. Our local machinist was able to center drill both pieces of the shaft and press them back together with a pin inserted into the drill holes. He then welded around the crack. Maybe you can find a machinist in your area that can do the same thing for you.

I probably have a used replacement crank shaft for your press. New series or old; what size press?

John, that would be amazing if you had a replacement part. I believe its a new series 8x12 press.

With the straight spokes it’s a new series.

Yes, I have one. Make sure yours is an 8 x 12 before I go to the trouble of removing the crank shaft. $100 plus shipping. I’m real busy right now so be patient with me.

Hey John,

I’ve been looking for a replacement crank shaft for an Old Series 8x12 for a while now. Would you happen to have one of those lying around too?

EDIT: I have a perfectly good straight shaft on my OS 8x12, but want to make it treadle operated.


Do you have a “disk lever pawl” for a NS 8 x 12 C&P manufacted in 1912? The one on the press is original and is worn down. It turns the disk most of the time but then doesn’t until I move it around 1/4 turn. Thanks for any help.


I have had great luck duct-taping a slug to the end of my worn down disk lever pawl to help it advance the ink disk.


Thanks, Paul,

I will try that while still looking for a replacement. I am new to letterpress and love my press. For being 99 years old she is doing GREAT.


I’m no where near 99 years old but there is duct tape holding several of my parts together. Dick G.

If my press is motorized, can I replace the existing crank shaft with a straight shaft instead of the original U shaped one?

John, I just measured the press and I actually have a 10x15

Yes you can replace the crank shaft with a straight shaft.
The process is relatively simple, any competent machinist can do the job for you. I have fabricated them in my machine shop and they work just fine.

The “disk lever pawl” on your machine can be built up using nickel welding rod and reshaped to the original profile .
The nickel is a bit softer than the original cast iron but it will last our lifetime. A good welder in your area should be able to do the job.

You mentioned hard to tell people over the phone what you need you stated. You some great photos of the problems, fax, email and take the photos to a machine shop. That way the person can see what you are talking about.

John, I confirmed that I do indeed have an 8x12. I know you’re busy, but do you have an idea when you might be able to remove the replacement crank shaft?

So I’ve pulled the crank shaft and flywheel on a 10 x 15 and now you’re telling me you have an 8 x 12? I spent about two hours pulling the 10 x 15 shaft and flywheel. Please, please be sure what size press you have. I’ll start pulling the flywheel and crank shaft on a 8 x 12 n.s. today if you’re sure that’s what you really want.

I do have a crank shaft for a 8 x 12 o.s. series but it ain’t laying around, it’s still on the press. It will take time to pull it. Some fool shortened the right end of the shaft almost up to the pinion gear but it’s still useable. Let me know if you want it.

The standard repair for the worn disc lever pawl is a piece of 1/8” metal riveted or bolted to cover the worn area. I would guess that out of the 15 or so C&Ps I have, 14 of them have this repair. If you can’t figure out how to do this repair, let me know and I’ll send a photo.

Thanks John a picture would be great.

I lied. After moving three other presses to get to the press in question, I found that it was a no-brand-name old style Gordon. I’m sorry, but the parts will not fit a C&P.

John, I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. Please don’t pull the 8x12 crank shaft yet. I was in a hurry to try to repair the machine and was able to find someone locally that says they have a replacement one for me. Hopefully it will work. Once again, I’m very sorry to have inconvenienced you.

I’ve now pulled the crankshaft off the 8 x 12. Another two hours of work.

Hi John,

I got so excited when I saw your first post! That’s too bad that it ended up being a different press. Any chance the new style one would fit??? Either way, do you think you could keep your eyes peeled for me? Like I said, I would be happy to trade a straight shaft once it’s switched out. Thank you for your help… I really appreciate it.


You could get this repaired quite easily and relatively cheaply by a competent machinist.
All you need to do is remove everything from the shaft and take it to a reputable shop. The machinist would then Face both sides of the broken area, and drill it in the center of the shaft. at this point there are two options for repair. Press a dowel into the hole and use 110-16 welding rod to weld it together,
or manufacture a class 5 fit stud and thread both of the pieces together. Class 5 fit is an interference fit, once it is threaded It will not come apart without a LOT of torque.

The four shafts - straight and crank, Early Series and New Series 10x15 are theoretically - and, with a little tweaking - are indeed interchangeable.

I recently swapped the main shafts between 2 10x15 C&Ps. My client had an 1890’s Early Series with a straight shaft and a 1929 New Series with a crank shaft. They wanted to mount a treadle on the Early Series, so we swapped the shafts. It went well.

The Early Series flywheel had to be reamed out - just a hair - to get the New Series shaft to fit, but there was no problem at all with the frame.

The extra clearance of the Early Series straight shaft on the New Series press is so minimal that it has had no effect on the New Series’ smooth operation.

It was interesting to note the wear pattern on the shafts and bushing surfaces. I took photos and will have to post them one of these days…

I have seen similar wear an tear on some very old printers as well - DickG is a good case in point… ;)