Quoin key- or an acceptable replacent for challenge hi-speed quoins.

Hello Everyone-

First off i want to say thanks for all of the help that you have given me these past few days. I will post examples of my first postcard from my Official map press.

I have regular, old-school quoins, and have a key for them, but i was recently given a pair of hi-speed quoins from a friend, but i have no key for them. I went to the hardware store in search of a hex wrench that would be the same size, but no dice. Is there a suitable replacement that i could find out there that is less expensive than buying a hi-speed key? Anyone out there have any success using a hardware store bought replacement for these? Thanks in advance!


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I’m not trying to sound too curmudgeonly, but considering the importance of a quoin key in everyday printing, why would you spend (waste) time looking around for an alternative when NA Graphics has a new one for sale. The quoins you were given are nearly worth the cost of a new key, and the key will last for years. Sometimes it is better to think about the amount of time looking for a substitute in cost per hour versus just going out and buying the thing and getting on with it.

Thanks, I guess you are right! Thanks for the tip on NA Graphics, i would have never have known to go there to find this thing. 36 bucks isn’t bad at all for the key.


if you ever do find yourself without a key, you can try using a flathead screwdriver that is the same size as the keyhole. just go slow with it and be careful, or it will rough up your quoin.

kind feel old see NA G
getting 39 bucks each
for some thing that was
worth five cents each

but heck
remember when the wrench you needed
to set up a Harris feeder
was called a ” nickel wrench “

Got my first kelsey back in 1961, 3 fonts of type, 2 type cases, tweezers, composing stick, tympan and press board, ink the whole kit plus the 3x5 press for about $70.00.

Heck, I remember buying a Vandercook SP-15 for $150.

not gonna happen again…

I also ready union printers here in Houston getting $5 to $7 an hour.

$36 to $39!!!!!!!!!!! YIKES!!!!! I haven’t paid any attention to the price of Hi-Speed Quoin Keys for several years, but I used to think that $25 for one was absolutely outrageous. How do we honestly expect to attract new people to letterpress if even the most basic of tools are priced like this?

I am assuming that the cost of hi-speeds quoins is around $1/per inch of length? That used to be the rule-of-thumb for years and years. I’ll fasten my seat belt while I await and answer on this.



With the price of C&Ps and Vandercooks heading for the Stratosphere, the price of Quoin keys sounds downright reasonable by comparison.

It’s a specialized tool for a niche market - Sears doesn’t sell this stuff.

McMaster-Carr sells quoins for the following: 3” — $78.50, 9” — $91.92, quoin key — $41.91

They might be cheaper elsewhere, but they’re all coming from the same manufacturer…

Just bought 7 used high-speed quoins ranging from 12” to 4.5” plus key for ~ $80 total on eBay. Seemed like a great deal to me, considering I just spent nearly twice that on tympan.

New HiSpeed quoin keys are made by BarPlate. We have to purchase a minimum of 13 at a time to qualify for a discount and then in order for us to stay open and attempt to make a living at this, we apply a standard mark-up to our cost, then hold this stuff in inventory until it gradually sells. I wince at the cost of new quoin keys as well, and all the other things that are still available, but all down the chain of supply are the costs of material, transportation, and hopefully some profit to keep this all together.