Proofing Press Uneven Pressure

I have a Vandercook 0 proofing press, I’ve not had it for long and I’m still experimenting! I love it, but I’m finding one side prints fainter. The roller doesn’t look adjustable, so I wondered if it needed a new roller?

I’m not sure if the problem began when the roller came off the end when I was replacing the stops…


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There is an eccentric pressure adjustment to get the press set evenly. Where are you located?


Hi, Thanks for that. I’m in the UK.

Ah ok. Too far for a house-call!

Can you grab the carriage top bar and rock the carriage at all or does it sit firmly against the bearers?

I think you’re being lazy, I’m just 3,000 miles away!

There’s no play whatsoever, it’s solid against the bearers.

Ha ok, I will get in my kayak- see you in 4 months!

In the meantime, is one side printing fainter from type, or from a block of some kind? If it is a block, have you tried turning the block to see if the inconsistency moves?

Keep in mind that your press has a .968 bed and is meant to be used with a galley on the bed or a .050 thickness bed plate.

Kettle’s on :)

I used large metal and wood type mixed with wood blocks and noticed that it was faint down one side, I switched it all round and it was faint on the same side of the press (opposite side of print once switched). Then I used just metal type and it was still faint on the same side. The only way to rectify is to use an extra strip of paper that side on top of print before the packing.

When I got the press I tried to use a galley, but it made the type too high even with no packing, so that didn’t work. Perhaps my galley was too thick? Now I just use a chase or magnets with averagely thick printing paper (south bank) and with 3-4 pieces as packing.

I’ll try to get some pictures up.


image: vandercook2.jpeg


I only just realised…there is play in the bearings on one side. They don’t go up and down, but like in and out, if that makes sense. You can spin them really easily, whereas on the other side they are tight.

To check height, the type face should match precisely with the height of the bearer when you put the type on the bed. You will likely see that it is .050 lower. But you need to reset the eccentrics on that side which is loose.

See how the bolt ends are flat so you can put a wrench on them where they protrude through the nuts? You turn them until the bearings are touching the lower bearer, but are not cranked down firmly. Then re-tighten the nuts without disturbing the position of that bolt. You’ll need two wrenches. Does that make sense?

I’m making sense of it I think…

My type is lower than the bearers by about 1mm.

Do you need to turn the two bolts on one side at the same time, is that why 2 wrenches are needed?

I’ve had to order a 3/4” imperial spanner, all ours are metric!



You hold the bolt in place with one spanner while you tighten the nut with the second spanner. By the way, 3/4”imperial is equal to a 19mm spanner.

OK. Thanks.

I’ve taken the bearings off and oiled as one was ceased. 3 bolts seat nicely and spin, whereas one of them is stuck solid, I did manage to get it apart (took ages!) but even with loads of oil I can’t even get it back in the bearing, it feels as if it is larger than the other 3 bolts, I’m wondering if it’s a replacement bolt that is slightly off. It’s definitely the bolt and not the bearing as I’ve switched them round and it doesn’t fit any. I’ll see if I can find someone to have a look at it.

Possibly rust buildup or blemishes. You can try to polish it with emery cloth.

I’ve got it fixed now.
It took ages to get the height just right so all the bearings rolled!
It’s much easier to pull a print now too.

Thanks for your help.