Packing for leveling the Platen


I was reading a few books and they mentioned when leveling the platen, you should start with 1 pressboard, 3-4 sheets of 60lb. book (which i’m assuming is equivalent to 60lb. text?) and a tympan sheet. If i plan to print mostly using 140-200 lb. cardstock for business cards, invitations, etc., what would you recommend me using for packing when leveling the platen, so that I can then adjust packing as needed later? I guess i should also allow for a spot sheet as well, such as another tympan sheet?

I have a mentor/teacher that is going to create 4 type high blocks that I can lockup in the 4 corners of my chase to test the platen before adjusting.

And I read that the platen bolts/nuts require a 1.125” wrench which is hard to find, however i saw one on Amazon. Do you know if this is the correct size for a C&P 8x12?

- Chris

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I think you will find that a 1.125 inch wrench is a 1 1/8 inch wrench…..not too hard to find…. I use a combination boxend/open end one……got it at a local automotive supply shop……cheers……db

Thanks, David. i’ll check out the auto store and see if I can round one up. And yes, 1-1/8” is what I meant, not sure why i used decimals?!

Mr Dapper, here’s a suggestion for leveling your platen which i used to great success on my kluge. lock your 4 typehigh (.918) blocks in the 4 corners (a 5ht one in the center wouldn’t hurt)and without any packing use a roll of lead solder (or whatever it is made of nowadays) and squeeze the solder between the block and platen when on impression of course, then you can measure the amount of squeeze with a micrometer. this will dial your platen height and parallel. I learned this from a press mechanic who paralled offset press cylinders (t-51 units actually) in this fashion. Very precise.
-Ted Lavin

It is 1 1/8. Definately go for the closed and open ended one. Also if you can find a “stubby” one you might find that easier. Mine is really big and there are always a few spots that its too long for on the underside.

Ted, where do you get the lead solder?


Lead solder can be had at Radio Shak, a electronic store chain or in a hardware store in the Plumbing section, as you use it to solder coper pipe

Another good thing using the solder is you can unroll it to get to the blocks locked up in the bottom of the chase.

oh, I know what you mean now, have it in my tool box. I just assumed this would be as all things are in this, rare and hard to come by

Thanks for the advice. The solder tip is great, although I don’t own a micrometer, are they expensive?

My main reason for posting this question was regarding the amount of packing to use while leveling the platen, knowing that I will most likely be using thicker cardstock to print most jobs. Any advice on that point?


I have used a large crescent wrench (expanding spanner) for those bolts Once they are set you should never have to touch them again. After the bolts are adjusted recheck the levels when the lock nuts are tightened, there may be some slack in the threads. It is important that the press is on level ground/floor before it is bolted down, if it is not level before securing the press will have a twist in the frame and can cause blurred immages. When operating the press put your foot on one of the legs and check for any movement when under impression. Dave

You can purchase 1 1/8 wrenches at home depot for less than 10.00 each and you will need two. Wished I had looked there first, drove all over denver to get cheap wrenches and they were 5 miles from my house.

Micrometers, calipers, thickness gauges can be had cheaply (<$15) at the discount tool store, or less cheaply from engineering suppliers (>$200).

I’d suggest taking an automotive gap-gauge set:

…and use it to check the accuracy of a bargain thickness gauge like this:


Hello Chris, don’t bother with the cheapie one mentioned by AM. I bought one for measuring paper and never gave same reading twice. Spend about $20-$30 and you get a decent 1” micrometer that will do the job and last forever. By doing this you will have a “squared up” press and Ny a little math also be set for the amount of packing that you want to use.
Ted Lavin

Ny was supposed to be by.

I used the solder trick, worked awesome. Very accurate.

Never heard of using solder, you kids amaze me.

Wish I was a kid. I was shown this method about 35 years ago. Glad to share.

the lead solder sounds quite interesting. its alot like using plasti-gauge when rebuilding engines. a small plastic peice is put between parts then smushed. you then measure the tickness of the smush to get your clearance. so back to presses. i know it is all subjective but how much clearance should be left between the type high gauges and the bed for general work. im just begining to get my press cleaned up and dialed in. right now the thickest i forsee working with is 600 GSM letra which measures at .040. I got a tympan set from excellsior press which has several different peices in it to include some press board.

Machinehead323 -

That all depends on how far into said lettra you wish to push.

My 10x15 model N is set to .065” packing.
The thickest thing I run is .060” museum board.

If the thickest thing you ever forsee yourself running is lettra, and you don’t plan to push more than 8-10 thousandths into the paper, then you could set the tympan to .040”.

That would leave room for a topsheet, and a tissue or two for some added makeready and you’d be pushing 1/4 of the way into a sheet of .040” lettra if your form is type high. If you like deep impression or some impression, this seems appropriate and would minimize packing for thinner stock.

(Does that make sense? You could always back the platen off for jobs that involve thicker stock if you see that as a possibility, like I said, mine is set to .065”.)