Kelsey 5x8

I recently bought a 5x8 Kelsey press. I think I got a pretty good deal on the press. $400.00 plus many other items - 200 plus furniture, furniture cabinet, new rollers, slug cutter, three complete fonts, a counter on the press, a box of spacers, three challenge quoins, two chases, six gage pine and about 20 tongues. The problem is that is doesn’t print. I worked about 2 hours today trying different things to get it to make an impression but nothing that was satisfactory. I finally quit and went to may 10x15 CP and it printed beautifully. I print quite a bit of small pieces and thought the 5x8 would be much better than my larger press. The press is a model 0 that is what is on the press.
Any suggestions to make the press work?

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You don’t give us much to go on, if you can’t get an impression it could be you need to adjust your platen, could be your rollers, kelseys are either loved or hated, i have a 5x8 with a foiling unit on it and use it for short runs, table tops are ok but you can’t beat the 10x15.

Post pictures, it will make it easier to help you.

jtb…. what exactly does “not printing” mean? Is it not inking right? Is it not impressing into the paper correctly? Let us know what’s giving you problems.

I used a 5x8 for quite a few years and found that once set up correctly, they can print beautiful small items.

Thanks for the replies. A couple of you said to send pictures. I assume you mean of the paper I was trying to make an impression. I will try to send a couple of pictures but I’m afraid they may not turn out to well. I crumpled them and they are in the trash. I tried adjusting the platen quite a few times but it didn’t make much difference. When I printed on the tympan it gave a pretty good impression not great but better than on the paper I was using. I’m using hand made paper to print with but I also tried several other paper, same result. The type just doesn’t bite into the paper. I have moved the platen in quite a bit, almost to the point of having no more threads left on the adjusting screws.
The big problem is that the type that does print is very light and then the rest of the print is just a shadow. It seems as if it is just one half of the paper which is length wise.

Thank you again.

Is your press still toggling over after adjusting the screws all the way out? Show us pictures of your press and the inking of the type. How big is the image you are trying to print?

This reminds me of a powered lawn mower brought in circa 1955, would not start. We allowed several experts to look at it. It had a V pulley on top, the way to start it was to wrap a rope around the pully and PULL. So I started another similar mower and slipped a V belt on the two pulleys, ran the reluctant engine up to about half revs; still no activity. When we stopped, there was a patch of oil under the engine (two-stroke, oil mixed with fuel). That solved it, there was a screwed plug fallen out of the crankcase, so no crankcase compression.

Look for the basics. Look at each step of the process. I put in a day’s work on some problems, only to have someone with basic knowledge fix a problem in five minutes or less.


Girl with a kluge,

Thanks for this info. You mentioned the toggled over. This rang a bell. No, it was not toggling over. After I had moved the platen back as far as it would go it toggled. Now I need to do some fine adjustments. I was trying to print a very small area. Maybe three by two inched of about 6 lines of type. But, when I was trying to get a print it wasn’t. Back to the drawing board. Thank you for the advice.



Thank you for the antidote . Sometimes I’m not thinking in a beginners mind or the obvious. Many times I have asked my wife for advice on a problem I have been mulling over. She generally has a simple answer that works. I’m too deep into the muck of things. I will be working on the Kelsey or get my wife’s beginners mind to solve the printing problem.

Thank you for the story.