Arab press and using “German height” type

Does anyone who has an Arab (Wade) press know if it will take type of 0.928”/23.56mm, wood or metal, as opposed to UK/US type-height of 0.918”/23.32?
One-quarter of a mm difference doesn’t seem a lot, bit it’s as well to ask before you buy :o)


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I had an Arab press back in the nineteen-eighties and used Dutch height (which is 24.85mm) and managed to work perfectly well with it. The Arab has got leather straps over which the roller trucks run, I simply adjusted the thickness to achieve the right height. I don’t see a problem there.

Hi Thomas - very encouraging, thank you :o)

I don’t have the Arab yet (and it needs new straps anyway),

Did you put packing under the straps, or did you have an alternative set of straps? (In other words, how did you do it?)

Thanks again

When I got the press, the leather straps had become hard and brittle. I carefully removed them, measured their width and with a caliper worked out the depth from the metal rails to the base. I then calculated what I needed, bought the leather, punched a whole in it on one side, they fit over a small pin and wound the other end around the small wheel and tightened them. I sold the press in 1984, the person who bought it is still using it with the same straps, he only had to add some thin paper between the straps and the rails. I received a lot of help from the people in the Science Museum in London, who had one on display. They allowed me to get over the barrier and take close up photos.

Hi Michael,
I have a 10x15 Arab and earlier this year I sold a 9x13 press. Both needed new straps - fortunately I had some heavy harness leather which was pretty close to type high, I only needed to add a thickish paper shim to bring it to the right height. I imagine the straps can be shimmed to bring them up to what ever type height you are using. As long as you have the correct gauge it shouldn’t be a problem

Thanks very much for your response.
(My brother has a horse. I wonder if he’d miss part of the harness :o)

I have a British “Morfitt’s Empress” Letterpress from around 1890. This also originally had leather strap rails. They had become hard so I thought I would replace them. I found a roll of some magnetic rubber strip on Ebay which was the same thickness. I measured the length, and cut it down. Next I trimmed it to correct width with a steel rule and Exacto knife, drilled the two screw holes in. It was then a simple matter of washing the steel rail down with methylated spirits to degrease it, lay down some good quality double sided tape and screw on the new magnetic, rubber rails.
Works great and it is really smooth and level.It’s also cheap and easy to replace.

image: rubber strip.gif

rubber strip.gif

This post from red hand ref the mag strip is a good idea, you would be virtually eliminating roller bearer wear (Trucks ) .The magnetism in the material would reduce roller slip too .