Emil Kahle - Restoration advice

Hi there - I recently took possession of a tabletop press and thanks to some of the earlier threads and a wire brush I’ve identified it as an Emil Kahle, I found the EK makings on the ink disk and at least one other spot - on my press it’s EK B11 - so it might be a later model than some of the presses previously mentioned on here.

I’m about to start cleaning it up and getting it back into order - although it was used up until a few years ago, certainly no more than ten, it could do with a wee bit of attention and tweaking.

It’s quite grimy, and decades of ink have built up to a kind of ad-hoc paint job - it actually may have been poorly repainted a few times too. A lot of the bolts are practically smoothed over with ink/paint.

I wonder if anybody had any documentation or information associated to the press?

I’d be pretty much a novice with regards resorting it - I’ve taken apart, cleaned and rebuilt an Adana tabletop press - but that’s the extent of my experience in that regard.

It’s in close to perfect working order in terms of the mechanics, very smooth action etc - but when I pulled some initial proofs it was very uneven - this was compensated by the previous owner with some extreme packing solutions - I’d like to ideally get things back to better shape than that.

Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. Especially if the advice is don’t take it apart!

Cheers in advance
One Strong Arm

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What do you mean by extreme packing solution?
If you mean the packing was thicker at the top or at the bottom then that was normal practice. Once set you didn’t fiddle with the platen bolts, you adjusted the packing to the thickness of the stock you were printing with progressive packing.

Oil all the joints, regularly wipe over the surfaces to remove dust and grime, treat any rust with a rust cure and leave all the old ink in place, it is a working press with character. Don’t strip all the old paint off, from time to time we see pictures on here of platens painted in the wrong shade of black, glossy and soul less.

Cheers Platenprinter. The packing on the left was considerably thicker than the right - by a few millimetres - and the proof was still light on the left side of the proof. After removing the packing I put the press into the impression position and when i put a gauge in-between the platen and the bed there is quite a bit of variation across the four corners, again up to two/three mm or so - this might be best over come with the platen bolts - but I’m wounding what the best practice would be in terms of zero-ing everything. Im unsure which area to set first and adjust everything else based on that. Thanks for your help.

The *Web* implies that your Machine is a table top, with clamshell action.??
As you imply that you have some working knowledge of Adana,s adjustment of the impression screws should not be too difficult.!!
If your machine is basically the same format as the Adana and with your 4 corners (attempts) in mind, back of all 4 impression screws until the last thread is just below the base of the machine, 2 point lower, no more/no need? make sure the bed retaining bolts, usually 2 with compression spring(s) to allow for some movement on adjustment, NEVER completely solid - the bed has to move with the adjustments.

You were on the right track with your type high system in the 4 corners but the ONLY way for initial settings follows thus:- first you have to have nominal packing on the platen proper (way back Adana recommended in order, from the face of the platen 3 - 4 sheet card, next 2/3 sheets of news print, followed by one sheet of blotting paper, one sheet of the stock to be printed, and finally top sheet or draw sheet with oiled manilla, the whole laminate gave/gives a good starting point, In theory for all subsequent operations, but in practice and with the learning curve upwards, because the Machine is clamshell, the Impression bolts are NOT the be all and end all !! even when correct initially, with a wide range of stock (hopefully) from air mail/bible paper, N.C.R.
up through to Beer Mats, Place mats etc. subsequent adjustments although not essential become useful.???

Trial and error for the packing should ascertain what would have been the norm for Your machine, (probably lost in the mists of time,) Adana,s original spiel, apparently, can be found on B.P.


Method = with 4 accurate pieces of Image (must be accurate to one another) locked in to the 4 corners of the chase, ideally 4 x 72 Point letters, 4 cap *W*s or 4 pieces of wood letter, or whatever, but must be accurate to one another, chase into the M/c. (No Ink, No rollers) bring the M/c. right up to impression proper, there will be no resistance because the bed is backed off, with the imp. handle held down bring the 4 Imp. bolts up, progressively until gentle contact is felt on all 4 corners, double check with 4 slivers of paper as feeler gauges between the working tip of the Imp. bolts and the bed,!!!

Rollers on Ink Up, source the best image (known accurate for height) Type, Block, Plate, etc.NOT more than 60% of overall printing area, >above and beyond the call of duty for such machines, generally,<

The above method is a good starting point (generally) for minute adjustments following, according to stock and packing.??

Whether the Impression bolts are with Spanner flats or Thumb screw head style, adjusters, *Tippex* marks on all 4 for subsequent adjustments, make life much easier, and as impression bolts tend to be coarse thread, even tiny increments/movements translate into larger movements, hence the *feeler gauge* comment above.

Good Luck. Mick.

Hi Dave, like you I went from an Adana to a Kahle, a great press which goes places the Adana can’t reach although that said it weighs a darn sight more!
So just a note to support what both Platenprinter and Mick have said. Mine had been unused for some time but with lubrication and removal of the worst of the dust/cobwebs prints very well while still looking like the piece of old machinery it is. Levelling by adjusting the impression screws was not difficult and Mick’s method works fine. Happy printing…

Make sure your chase is of uniform thickness. The chase I have on my Emil Kahle has a series of “pads” on the back which raise it a bit higher when it is set in the press. If those are uneven it is a good place to start leveling. I have a complete set of photos of parts when I restored mine so If you need to confirm a piece let me know.

Hi all. Thanks for the responses - all super helpful, and appreciated.

Ultimately - I took the hands-on & ink-based approach. I gave it a good wipe to remove the heavier crud, and lubricated everything well. The few small rust spots were easily handled as per the advice. Much more productive - It would have probably taken weeks for me to go down the route of a more serious cleaning.

Mick - I followed your steps to set everything up and pulled some initial proofs last night. The results were not perfect but it seems in great working order so I’m sure with a bit more work things will be spot on.

The rollers are part of the issue - they aren’t in great shape, and are too big for the press - the rubber sits right on the frame, without trucks. It came with a box of rollers - so I think the correct ones are probably in there somewhere, waiting to be recovered.

Weka - it certainly does… weights a hell of a lot more!

Kantzilla - The issues that have presented themselves so far are the rollers - they are definitely not original - I don’t have the correct chase, and any grippers and lays etc are missing - any images of the above would be great. Thanks in advance.


If you could send a photo of your press I could send you photos of the missing parts. Here is a photo of my press.

image: small size.jpg

small size.jpg

I like the look of that third roller…original? Mine only has 2.

The upper roller is a distributor and fountain ductor but it would not be a form roller if it stops on the form—that’d cause a slur. It might use different size trucks to stay above the form; check for those.