Excelsior Oldstyle No. 3 1/2 Help!!!

I am debating on purchasing an Excelsior OS No. 3 1/2. The press is missing the chase and rollers; otherwise it’s in pretty good shape. I have found several places to purchase rollers and possibly have a few leads on a chase. Do I have to have the chase? The press would be used for making images (type high lino blocks or wood) and text, of course but I would use photopolymer plates (boxcar press). I am not looking to mass produce anything with this press.

I am a letterpress beginner, by that I have never used one, but have always dreamed of having and using a letterpress. I have talked to a few people and they have given me only bad qualities of a platen press. If anyone could explain to me the pros and cons of this press please do. By the way the press is $300. Would this be a bad purchase? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Hi there,

Yes, you will need a chase, as the chase holds the type/linocuts/plates etc in place on the press. I don’t know what the availability would be for parts on an older model Excelsior like that though.

I have a Kelsey 5 X 8, which I like. It is fun to use, good to learn on, small and doesn’t take up a lot of room. A nice first press, I think, as it gives a sense of what the process is like, without a large investment of time, space, $$$, etc.

A downside is that the print area is relatively small on a press this size. With a 5 X 8”, you can print something that is, for a piece of text say, maybe 2 x 3.5”. Even smaller for something that has dense ink coverage, like a lino. Registration for multi-colour printing can also be a pain.

I think it is a perfectly decent press though, within the limits of the size, and are much more available, and less expensive, than a Craftsman or Sigwalt.

Best of luck!

A welder could make a chase for you. On large presses, I have even seen them made of plywood.

Thanks for the help. Another problem does any one know what size chase this model uses. The museum on here shows the size to be 5 1/2 x 9 1/2. I thought it was a 6 x 10 but a person at Tarheel Roller Co. told me I would need rollers for a 5 x 8. Help I’m confused!