Craftsman 6.5 x 10 roller problems

I’m hoping someone can help or offer some suggestions.
I recently got a craftsman 6.5 x 10 letterpress from a local printer. He said that it wasn’t used too often but that he had restored it years ago and had the rollers redone.
I seem to be having problems with the rollers or perhaps the ‘saddle’ (not sure if that’s the correct term, but I’m referring to the hooks that hold the rollers in place).
The top roller slips when traveling on the rail while the bottom roller rotates smoothly? I tried to tape the rails but it didn’t seem to help. I noticed that the saddle on the left side of the press seems to be bowing out slightly when the rollers are in and I’m wondering if that is causing the problem. I’ve attached a couple of photo’s that hopefully help. I don’t know if the saddle is something that can be adjusted or if the rollers are the culprit?
Any advise would be greatly appreciated!


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Log in to reply   11 replies so far

Can you post a photo of the ends of the roller cores? Is everything oiled?

I think I see the problem — and another more serious one. It looks to me like the roller covers are a bit too long for the wide trucks you have, and the trucks are pressing hard against the roller arm hooks, which binds the roller and prevents it from rotating. Do the trucks have keyways, and the cores a pinched-up key to engage them? But with the trucks tight against the rubber they have no where to go. I would suggest taking a very sharp knife and carefully cutting about 1/8 inch off each end of each roller cover all the way to the core, which should allow the trucks to get free of the hooks.

But then you need to do something to make the trucks the same diameter as the rollers. With that much difference you will have other inking problems once you solve the rotation problem. If you want to keep using those rollers I suggest new trucks the same diameter as the rollers or no more than 1/16 inch less in diameter.


I agree that you do not want the truck to touch and bind against the saddle. I also agree that the trucks are too small for the rollers . You can get away with the rollers being slightly larger in diameter than the trucks, but I would not agree on a full 1/16”. Ideally they will be the same size for correct inking.
Here is the one place that taping of the trucks can work as a make-do fix. Tape them up to the same diameter as the rollers. I suggest something other than the strapping tape you have used on the rails. Vinyl tape from the stationery store works well.
Get some ink on your shirt.

Thanks Keelan, I did oil everything and still had the same issue. I’ve posted a couple of images of the roller ends.


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Thanks for your help Bob and ‘Inky’,

I thought the rollers covers were a bit too long. And as you noticed the trucks aren’t the same diameter as the roller. I will see if I can get a larger truck to match the diameter of the roller.
I’m not sure if the trucks have keyways? If I cut the roller covers back an 1/8 inch on each side as you suggest, I assume I would see the keyways?

Do you happen to know of a reputable place to purchase new trucks?

Thanks you’ve both been very helpfull!

I believe Ramco Roller in California can furnish Delrin trucks to your specifications for width and diameter. I’m not sure if Fritz can at NA Graphics. And I think probably T&T Restorations could too.

If you pull a truck off the core and don’t see any trace of a pinched-up key it’s doubtful they are there, or are completely buried by the roller covers. 1/8 inch isn’t enough grip to ensure they will lock into the trucks.

(edit) If you drill into the truck straight to the center of the bore and thread that drill hole for a set screw, maybe 10/24 size from a good hardware store, you can substitute the set screws for the keys and keyways. Tape on the truck will cover the hole but it will work fine without the tape too.


Thanks Bob,

I tried to pull a truck off the core but can’t seem to free any of them. I have another small press and the trucks just slide right off. I thought perhaps these trucks were somehow fixed to the core? Any idea how I would remove them?

Perhpas the best thing to do is get a new set of rollers and trucks… I was hoping to avoid the expense as the rubber looks good on these rollers.

I guess I can tape the trucks for a temporay fix.

A few tiny investigative suggestions:- assuming You have fixed rails, (as implied by the *Taping*) there has to be a strict relationship between the Height of the Rails, the Diameter of the Trucks, and the Diameter of the compound.

Perhaps some of the *Good Ole Boys* Stateside will give a run down of the possibilities and variations, across the board for U.S. Table Top Rail Heights, some reasonably simple maths, (as in Algebraic terms, like A + B + C) = end result.!!!

Here U.K. our Adana Table Tops, From the 3 x 2, - 5 x 3, - 6 x 4, - 8 x 5, and H.S.3 = 8 1/2 x 5 1/2, follow NO logical pattern whatsoever, as regards the height of the (fixed) Rails, i.e. in every case the rails are well below Type High, the compound is, in every case well below, in diameter, to the Trucks.

Does not even follow that the difference, between the Compound and the Truck will eliminate Repeat Marks, your own, Tarheel Roller & Brayer Co. corroborated this 3 - 4 years ago.

There is no conceivable reason, (as far as can be ascertained) for the Compound to cover more than the area of the Forme/Chase is capable of reproducing, unless as with smaller Adana,s Type or image can be locked straight into the *Bed*???

Hence and Follows:- as an exploratory exercise, with a small *sail cloth needle*, or a Printers Bodkin, or Grannies Hat Pin, gently and carefully slide said tool into the compound, many times around the steel core, just into the compound 18 Point at most,! probing for key-way, plus probing for evidence of any *shoulder* or *register* on the steel stock/core, which would indicate the True Length of the compound required.
Generally it has been found that the Steel stocks/cores are produced from stock, that has a larger diameter internally, to give more surface area, for adhesion of the compound.

The current thinking, seems to be, thicker, stronger overall stocks, with the ends Turned down to match the Trucks and Roller Hooks, might possibly show up in the *Probing* + plus giving a clue, as above, for the extent of the compound.

Originally the steel cores were Knurled to accept the CORD windings, nowadays Chemical bonding is the Norm. Tarheel, will probably corroborate.!l

Apologies for rubbish, (if it be so) but may prompt the Real Deal.

Yes, if the trucks are that hard to get off they aren’t allowing the rollers to spin. I would suggest that you could cut off some rubber, set the roller on end over something like a vise open just enough to admit the core, and use a piece of pipe slipped over the other end to carefully tap the trucks closer to the roller cover.

You could look at a hardware store or tool store for stainless steel adhesive tape to wrap the trucks — some places have it printed with inches like a ruler for application to a table saw table, for example. It would be harder and more durable on the trucks than the packaging tape, but of course you can always renew the packaging tape.

Another possibility is to check an electrical supply for large diameter heat shrink tubing and cut pieces of that a bit wider than the trucks and shrink it on in layers until you have the trucks up to size. I’m not sure how uniform in thickness that would be though.


Could you put a tape measure/ruler over the diameter line of the truck/core and give me a measurement? I have a couple of Craftsman Superior presses, and that truck doesn’t look quite right to me. Might just be the outsized roller, but if it won’t come off, you might just have another press’s trucks on your rollers.

Thanks, Gabriel for checking your truck diameter against mine. My truck is a bit tough to measure as I can’t seem to get it off the core. I’ve managed to take get a measurment of 1.3125 for the diameter. (it may be off by a fraction)

Thanks again