Wedge Quoin Key

Hey guys! I just bought a few quoins off of eBay and thought the proper key to go with it, but seems like its slightly too big to be the right key? I’m not confident with my assessment however and would love it if someone could confirm for me.

The quoins are all 2.75” in length, and when I try to use the key it separates the two quoins from each other.

Let me know what you guys think, and where I might be able to get the right key!

- Alyssa

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Here’s another closeup.

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It’s great that you are buying the items you will need. This is my opinion on that type of quoin and key, and I hope it helps. It is meant in a positive way. I avoid them because they have to slide on each other to tighten the form (the job). That sometimes slides the form as well. You can avoid that by locking up the form with the furniture in contact with the quoin, pushed up against the chase, so the form can’t slide, but it is one more thing you have to remember.

I use Wickersham quoins, which don’t slide on each other. They just expand and contract. You can get them on ebay as well, but are cheaper if you get them from a letterpress dealer like Don Black Linecasting in Canada or Letterpress Things or buyletterpress.com in the US (apologies to other US dealers who I didn’t mention).

With respect to your problem, it is a little perplexing because the name on the key Hempl, is the name of the company who made that type of quoin. All I can think of is that they made different sizes and you have a key for the larger size quoins and you have smaller size quoins.

Wickersham made different size quoins as well, but they all use the same key in my experience.

Yes, Hempel and others made this style of quoins. There are, indeed different sizes, down to minuscule ones for toy presses.

As long as the Quoin closest to the form points to the solid side of the lock up in the chase, the form will not move on position. In fact, the motion of the Quoin tends to guarantee that the form is forced toward the solid side of the lockup.

Keys are available got all the various sizes of these quoins, and you should be able to find one easily as many prefer the high speed quoins these days.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

There were 2 sizes of Hempel quoin for normal work the No1 and the No2, you appear to have No 1 quoins with a No 2 key.

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Good Heavens, someone using Hempels in this day and age, and someone else with Wickershams! the UK trade gave up on them a very long time ago, even tiny outfits way out in the backwoods. Went over to Nottings or best of all Cornerstone.
Why, well most of the others were not entirely to be trusted.,
The history goes, firstly Wooden wedges banged along with a ‘shooting stick’, e.g. with formes in storage i.e. ”standing type” for use again sometime, then Hempels then Wickershams and then things like the Notting or Cornerstone.
If a little firm, one used the few expensive Notting pattern you had on the live jobs, and changing to rusty Wickershams before placing in store, accepting the effort of changing .
The Comp Room storeman had the job of tapping tight
now and again over the months any wooden quoins. Once in a while this produced an explosive pie and the langauge
one heard was very naughty indeed.

I have a couple of quoins that look like those as well as a couple of keys, one large, one small. The quoins say “Challenge” on them. I don’t actually use them because it just somehow looked like “bad engineering” to me. The small key has one broken gear tooth and it fits into a different kind of quoin.

In any case, I am not using them… but no idea if they will work with your quoins. Where are you located Alyssa? I am in the US. If you are ‘cross the pond, postage would be prohibitive, otherwise, you can have them for the cost of postage.