tape, trucks, and bolt choices

Hello gracious people of BriarPress,
Thank you for all your wisdom given. Please be so kind as to help me!

I have been following this forum for about 2 years and acquired a very worn model O Kelsey 5x8. I assumed that I would be needing to tape the rails due to the condition of the pawl, but did not expect to what extent…

My press was resisting greatly at the pinnacle; first run I had to lift the rollers onto the chase. I then removed and cleaned the arms and used a bottle brush to remove any gunk in the holes. Then I noticed some scarring around the hooks where they hit the arm holes and wondered if this was why they were sticking. (I will attempt to upload photos from my phone.) There is a a flat space inside the hooks— from wear also? Question #1: Would anyone advise me to purchase new arms based on their appearance?

Next, I taped my rails with electric tape, but that just peeled off on its own. Then I bought nylon strapping tape. Currently it is sitting there with 7 layers of tape on the rails and 3 on the trucks. Seems excessive to me— and that’s still not perfect type high, just closer. I currently don[‘t have a lollipop yet but intend to get one in the next month or so. But even looking I can see its not equal (to type high.) I remember reading a suggestion someone made once about having large trucks manufactured, but I didn[‘t see whether they mentioned they would be machined by a metal worker or if anyone knows of a special supplier who could handle such a request. !Question #2: Can someone please advise me on truck replacement if they think it necessary?

Incidentally, it appears one of my rollers is longer than the other…..

Lastly, (WHEW, I hope I don[‘t wear out my welcome!) I haven’t bolted my press down yet. I currently have some carriage screws/bolts/wings and some rubber washers (just thought that might protect the iron,) but I wonder about the fact that the feet appear to be angled. Does this mean I should be concerned about what kind of head I should use? Would the conical shape of the flathead be better, or the pan head? My concern is having too much pressure on one side of foot— wouldn’t want it to snap. So… brass would be better too because its softer than steel, right? Question #3: Do I drill and bolt straight down or at an angle to accommodate the foot of my press and what kind of screws?


Log in to reply   13 replies so far

Hi! Glad to hear you have a press. Pictures would be a help. Question: are your rollers and trucks close to being the same diameter? The outside diameter of the rollers should be very slightly bigger than outside diameter of the trucks, (like one or two thicknesses of electrical tape bigger). However, if they are the same size, or even a tiny bit smaller, they should still work.

As far as bolting goes, I assume you are bolting the press to a table or bench. You could use your carriage bolts as long as the square part of the bolt, under the head, goes through the holes in the press feet. Does the press rock when you put it on the table, indicating either the table or the press feet are not aligned flat? If so, you should put a shim under the foot which is high. Then, when the bolts are through the press and the table, put flat metal washers, then the usual split lock washers, and then nuts, on the bolts. Tighten the nuts until you see the split lock washers begin to flatten out, and then stop. In this way you can get the same pressure on each bolt, and not too much pressure. If the press is a little loose when you use it, you can tighten the nuts a little more if necessary. As far as drilling holes straight or at an angle, it probably doesn’t make too much difference, because you are not going to make the bolts super tight anyway (ref. the bit about watching the lock washers tighten and then stopping). If you do drill them at an angle, don’t drill them at much of an angle.

I would suggest removing the hooks and using emery paper to remove any spalling that exists, to smooth the hook shafts. A file applied carefully would perhaps be more effective, trying to not remove metal from the original surface. Then oil liberally with a thick oil (I favor chainsaw bar and chain oil as it stays on the surface better).

As to the rails, it is best to get the rollers and trucks to match, with the trucks not more than 1/16 inch smaller in diameter (not radius). Then build up the rails to achieve type-high under a straightedge laid across them. You should be able to obtain stainless steel tape with graduated markings on it (at a hardware store), used to put a measuring line on a saw table for example, and build up the rails with that — it’s much more durable and incompressible than the packaging tape.


Showing inside of hooks and trying to show scarring.

Trucks not centered over rail and one appears longer…

image: lefttrucknotoverrail2.jpg.jpg


image: armhooks.jpg


time for some new hooks, trucks look to small to. look me up Todd’s Press Time

Split lock washers! Sounds like a great way to make sure I don’t overdue it. You can see in the photo I placed it on a recycled rubber mat, but even without that, I think its pretty level and not rocky. Its just that it doesn’t run smoothly yet and takes a good deal of bouncing around at the moment, which I hope to resolve most of with arms. Its got a good bit of binding to it too. I only have one piece of blue pressboard and one sheet of computer paper under the tympan and 200 GSM lettra took both hands to release, one on the base pulling the opposite direction. Regular cardstock makes a light but good kiss but still binds a bit (but I think that’s the nature of the beast.) I will have to measure the trucks and rollers… Thank you!

Bob, great! Emery is like fine grain sandpaper? I assume the helpful hardware people can answer that one for me. Thank you! Making a list from your suggestions!

Bob and Todd’s Press Time, I measured the rollers and trucks and the rollers appear to be exactly 1/16th of an inch bigger. However it seems definite to me that the trucks are spaced farther apart on one than the other. Is this a problem, that they don’t ride directly over the rails?

The trucks are typically a good deal wider than the rails, so mis-alignment should not be a problem as long as at least half the width of the rails is supporting the trucks. You may be able to adjust the truck position with washers on the cores. Also some Kelsey rollers have a squeezed-up key to engage a notch in the trucks — make sure if that is the case on your rollers that they are engaging the notch.

Yes, emery is typically on a cloth backing rather than paper, and it can be coarse, but it’s best to use a fine grade, about 220 to 280 grit.

The insides of the hooks have a flat area machined to the radius of the roller core, and yours look OK to me, at least the ones in the photo. That’s an important place for oil. Also, check carefully to be sure the hook rods aren’t bent — that will cause them to bind. They can be straightened. It looks like possibly one or both in the photo are slightly bent. Ideally the roller core should align with the center of the rod when installed, so the hooks should be bent a bit as they are.


Truck to roller difference and the inside of the hooks look pretty much identical to what I have on my Kelsey. Also running about 8 layers of tape on the rails.

don’t try to bend the roller hooks on the press, remove them first or you will break the cast iron that holds them.

Mr. Bob, Adlibpress, did you mean stainless steel tape with adhesive? Such a thing does exist but not at any of our local hardware or marine supplier. If in fact I misunderstood and you meant tape like a retracting measuring tape, how would one go about securing it to the rails?
Also, did you mean chainsaw motor oil or chainsaw blade and chain oil? Didn’t know which to get at the hardware store. Thank you again!

Thank you oprion. I guesstimate that it will be about 13 layers of nylon tape to make mine right.

Thank you Dick, I would take them off. Perhaps use something to cushion it if it needs it.

Bob, just read a post by hank 54 about making stainless steel slippers. Is that what you meant? I think I could do that… Maybe.

The stainless steel tape I mentioned is made with length markings printed on it and with adhesive also on it, and is used for example on a table saw to apply a measuring strip on the steel table to position the work to be cut. Unmarked steel tape may also be available — check Mcmaster-Carr online (www.mcmaster.com). The oil I suggested is called bar and chain oil; it has extra parafin added to help it stay in place instead of running off as thinner oil tends to do.

I have a Sigwalt on which the rails were low, and I obtained some small aluminum angle at a hardware store and epoxied two pieces of it to the rails and then filed it down to the proper thickness. It also smoothed out any uneveness from wear.


Haidoni, I Was/Am, Hank `54, temporary *Handle* = force of circumstances, due to Fire Damage knocking out the computer and more.
*Stainless steel slippers* were my offering, based on fairly successful Modifications from the late`50,s early `60,s.!

Our Adana,s 3 x 2, 5 x 3, 6 x 4 and some 8 x 5,s had fixed height rails, consequently after a few false starts with *Tape* on the rails, (P.V.C. tape was, in essence, still to come,) generally our option was insulating tape, which then was cloth backed with slightly Tar impregnated adhesive, double edged sword,!! stuck to the rails O.K. but also stuck to the trucks just as well,? but did give fantastic traction to the rollers. EVEN better than Thompson,s Chain assisted roller drive.

Hence the Stainless Steel Slippers result. (eventually)

With a little help and advice from the local Blacksmith, S/S slippers evolved, merely an *L* shaped secondary surface atop the rails, the exact width of the Rails with 1/2” return on the outer edges with a run On/Run off at each end to match the curvature of the Rails.

The thickness of the *Slippers* determined by using material S/S, or similar to increase the Mean height of the rails to give *Lollipop* test gauge reading as near as possible to acceptable limits.

Slippers secured, (nowadays) either with Super-Glue, Two pack epoxy resin, Chemical Metal, or similar.!!


2 or 3 per side, tiny Archimedes style studs, as used to secure Make, Model, Serial number plates to machinery, or Tiny countersunk M/c., screws

We never had to go that far, but with hindsight, before securing the slippers, and with either Acetate strips or Litho Plate strips it would seem quite practical/possible to *Make Ready* under the Slippers to give EXACT/PRECISE required height.