Help!! My Platen Back Cracked

I have a Kelsey 5x8 Mercury Model U and one of the tabs on the Platen Back has broken. Is it possible to get this welded and if so how does this effect the usability of the press pressure wise. How critical is this area of the press in getting proper pressure?

Please help me!!

image: platenBack.png


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This can be repaired. Has it been removed from the press frame, handle (lever) platen & goose neck? You can ship it to me and I will braze it for you while maintaining the correct alignment. Or try to find a replacement that fits your frame correctly.


T and T Press Restoration
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Yes, it is removed from the press. I know it is hard to quote an exact price sight unseen but can you give me some idea of what I am looking at to have it brazed?

As far as a replacement part the Platen is marked 14A and the Platen Back (the broken part) is marked 15B. The press is a newer model with serial number B61K on the Chase Bed. If you have a replacement what would be the cost?

Thanks for your assistance.

Estimate to have it brazed is $35.00. Since I wouldn’t have the frame (assuming you would only sent the platen back to me) to test fit the part after brazing there is some risk that it would require adjustment following the repair.

Extra loose parts (even for Kelsey’s) are far and few between. You must keep in mind that this part was ground to fit between the frame sides when it was manufactured. So finding a replacement might require shimming or grinding to ensure a good snug fit. Where are you?


What kind of adjustment? If it is only some light grinding, filing or shimming to fit inside the frame I can handle that on my end. How strong will the brazing be? Will it be able to hand the pressure associated with printing with a letterpress?

I am located in Arizona.

When repairs are complete and reassembly begins there must be no undue side stress placed on this part, e.g. the legs of the platen back must simply slide into place between the frame sides. So if after the repair the distance between the legs is slightly greater than the inside dimension of the frame a bit of filing maybe required. Like wise, if the legs are too lose (side to side play when mounted in the frame) then an appropriate shim stock needs to be added. Though the break will undoubtly aid in the nearly perfect alignment of the repair I can’t be absolutely certain we will get it dead on without the frame. This part needs to have no lateral movement on its shaft so each impression occurs in the same place without shifting.

The brazing will acutally be stronger than the original with one caveate the heat associated with the brazed repair and the granular properties of the casting transfers the weakness (if any) away from the repair. This can be seen after the part cools and before media blasting on a typical braze repair. Note the color changes in the metal on this Pilot lever repair. Also note that the repair material is pie shaped. Whenever possible, after tacking the repair, base material is ground-out to allow the filler rod more bite into both pieces. Brazing is not like an adhesive it needs some mass to perform an adequate bond.

In my opinion the press part will be returned to service as it was designed … kiss printing. If your expectation is deep impression which will put considerable stress on all of the press parts… this part and perhaps others are likely to fail over time.


image: Repair - brazing by heliarc.jpg

Repair - brazing by heliarc.jpg

why did this part snap in the first place, trying to achieve a deep impression seems a likely cause for this, or maybe an out of adjustment platen. i print on a 5x8 kelsey, done some large forms but don’t try for deep impression cause it puts too much strain on the press. if the repaired part is stressed again, the same thing will most likely happen.