expanded boxcar base idea

I have an idea that I’m not sure would work, so I wanted to run it by y’all to see what you had to say.

I was thinking of having a machine shop make me a part that is the exact size and shape of a chase for my platen press, but completely solid; hence not needing a boxcar base, furniture, quions, and not being able to set type. This way I would be able to print on almost the entire surface area of the chase, without loosing precious space using furniture and quions. Instead of using guide pins, I would use two pieces of lettra paper taped to the typman paper in an “L” shape for the printing paper to rest on, and the gripper bars would help secure the paper when platen is vertical.

Please let me know what you think of this idea.

Thank you.

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What would keep your gripper bars from smashing into the base? I’ve seen several of these over the past decade or so. I think Alan Runfeldt made one out of wood and I’ve seen them machined from aluminum as well. No reason you can’t do it, but I’d think you’d be better off just locking up a base inside a chase. You’d be able to move it and you wouldn’t be tempted to try to print with the entire chase area all at once.


there is almost no press that allows you to print the entire chase, you can’t get the impressional strength needed, i think you will be asking for trouble.

Thanks for your advice.

Brad, I was actually thinking of using nylon for the material. The hardness is in between wood and aluminum. This might be a dumb question, but don’t the gripper bars run into a chase normally?

My motivation for this is that I want to get a table top press, and I think I could get one for a much more reasonable price if I got a 5x8 as opposed to 6x9. Boxcar Press recommends that the largest base for a 5x8 be 3.5x6.5. This just isn’t big enough. Do you think I could make a 4.5x7.5 work in a 5x8 chase?

Again, thank you for your thoughts.

Hey honey comb base is a much better solution
you will destroy your press…you can only print 2/3 of your chase size……

you would also need room for pins and what about furniture and quions?

Well the grippers don’t hit the chase but they’d definitely hit something like a base. If you fill the chase bed with a base then yes, your grippers would hit the chase/base. You could leave a lower edge on the outer inch of the base and that would solve the problem.

If 3.5x6.5” is not large enough as a base you may need to think about a larger press. A 5x8” press will be maxed out at 3.5x6.5” or less if you’re planning to print anything that size. If you’re determined to print something that large with a 5x8” press I’m guessing you won’t be satisfied with the results (especially if you’re looking for deep impression) and may risk breaking your press.


It’s true- Normally, the grippers on a press like a C&P (which I must admit, is the only platen I’ve experience with) will actually smash a base like a boxcar or other near-type high base if you set them incorrectly.

One way a lot of people get around this, and use a large base, is to place the grippers as wide as the press will allow and run rubber bands across them. You move the rubber bands up and down until they’re still keeping the sheet from coming off the platen with heavy coverage, make sure they are in the margins, and there you have it.

I don’t see why you couldn’t have the machinist put two “gutters” on either side of the “chase” to allow your grippers a space to stay within, allow the rubber bands to do their thing, and then have (mostly) what you’re talking about, and a functional press with grippers….

……. But what everyone is saying about impressional strength is actually true, so I’d still advise against this course of action.

Something like this:


might work better than the proposed “L” shaped Lettra for dealing with a press with a small platen. The Extension Feed Guides work better on some 5x8s than on others though because tympan bale shapes differ.

Also, would the price of the custom machined part plus the 5x8 press (a Kelsey, I assume) really be that much less than a Pilot-sized press plus a Boxcar base? I honestly don’t have a good guess as to what the custom part might run.

Thanks for all of your comments thus far!

eva, perhaps you should look at this thread http://www.briarpress.org/21445#comment-17891 It will give you ideas on how to get the most out of the press you do decide to buy.

Chase Base + Flexible gauge pins.

image: 6195797318_9d523fbbd3_z.jpg


image: 4969223176_f3d67c63e8_z.jpg


Thanks again!

I still love Linotype slugs for type or hand set and only art as an engraving lock up.

A form of plastic just doesn’t sit well with me.

But, I am old school.

Since Kelsey chases don’t require quoins, I’ve had a base cut down to 4.25x7.25 (rather then the recommended 3.5x6.5) which works quite well in an 5x8 chase. Mind you, I would never dream of using all of that area at once, but it helps to have some extra space for long narrow graphics like letterheads and packaging ribbons.

Naturally, grippers have to be set quite wide (with an elastic band stretched between them) , or taken off entirely. Normal gauge pins are also pretty much out of the question.

It’s a neat idea for trying to max out the available printing area, for when you really need to squeeze 16 inches of printing out of a 10 X 15 (of course you wouldn’t have grippers in that case).

Usually when you start hitting that wall, it’s time to get a bigger press.

Sorry, no time to chat, but I think http://excelsiorpress.org/reference/Excelsior_Chase_Base/index.html will answer your questions.

also: Flexible Gauge Pins which cannot be crushed:

and Megill Extension Feed Guides - really handy for any press 5x8 or larger:

And, yes. Grippers will smash a base. Set them wide or remove them if you prefer. Grippers fit into the relief area on both sides of the base; the relief exactly matches the wall of the chase; grippers need not be removed.

The move to our new home is completed; I am back to work. Chase-Base orders will be resumed later this month (Oct 2012)

- Alan