Gauge Pins and a Good Registration

I currently use gauge pins on my C&P 8x12. The only issue I have is that when I am in the process of feeding the paper, the gauge pins start to shift with every feed. I tried taping the pins down with masking tape, but my registration ends up being off from the first prints to the last. Any tips/advice on how to keep my gauge pins from shifting while printing?

Thank you in advance!


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That depends on what kind of gauge pins you use. If they are Megill’s Spring Tongue Gauge Pins, you have to push the pointed part into, under, and back out of the tympan paper. That should keep it fron shifting sideways. Then when you have final position, you tap the nipples into the tympan, and that keeps them from shifting along their axis. But heavy stock may require sealing wax dripped behind the head. That should hold very well.
If they are Gardner/Kort Adjustable Quad Guides, sliding them into a top and bottom slit will lock a guide in good condition frimly in place. A worn out guide can sometimes be revived by peening the rivets.
Megill’s Double-Grip gauges are the best, for my money. The only problem , besides smashing them or over-tightening the screws (and thus loosening the posts), is leaving shreads of tympan between the plates, that’s easily cleaned.


Thank you for all of your advice!

Paul- recommend using anything other than wax to secure the pins?

i tape them with masking tape, i’ve never used wax but the wax will work better, once in a while the tape slips especially with heavy card stock. good luck dick g.

Yes, to all the above. We sealed pins almost without fail. Tap the nipples in, heat the sealing wax with a wooden match until it just drips, and then smear the soft/hot wax on the pin and tympan where the pin pierces back out of the tympan. We used the open end wrench that adjusted the grippers to tap the sealing wax loose.
On a C&P with Kluge feeder we might change the tympan and reset pins only once a week. We would start by setting 4 pins on center about 10-12 picas above the bottom of the platen, 2 narrow for business cards and 2 wider for 8 ½ x 11 letterheads, #10 eps and misc. The form then is moved within the chase for proper position. The pins are never moved once installed and made perfectly straight. This way we could print all over the tympan before changing it. Tympan has always been relatively expensive. Dick

If you are using the old fashioned Megill Spring Tongue Gauge Pins there are two little nibs on the bottom of the pin. These are to be hammered lightly to pierce the draw/tympan sheet. The problem is that they are not sharp, but rather a bit blunt. I file them sharp on one side so they have an axe/chisel edge. Then they tap in easily. If you use a light hand in feeding and do not bang the stock against the pins, this should assure they stay in place. If you are a bit more heavy handed, the wax works well.
As cautioned, be careful with the match/flame. Flame and solvent close together spells trouble. By the way, how many of you have a fire extinguisher in your shop.
Be careful also with the hot wax dripping from the stick, I burned myself in school many years ago with the sealing wax. Once burned, careful since.
If you hand set type, watch out for type lice.


A little off the subject but is anyone still making Megill’s Double-Grip gauge pins? If not does anyone know if the patent for them is still active?

Megill is now part of American Printing Equipment. I’d be surprised if patents were current, but the manufacture of gauge pins is not a simple thing.

Continuing to be a bit off topic, but related to gauge pins and hopefully a bit of interest.
I am down to my last pin in the little blue Megill box. On the side is printed 1 Doz. $2.16

Fritz, chime in here.
Do you sell the old fashioned pins?

I use the twin grip pins on my platen press, so I don’t use anything but finger power to set them in the tympan.

For those who use conventional pins, how about using hotmelt glue rather than the sealing wax. a glob of glue at the rear of the pin should set it well, and may just chip off like the wax does when you want to remove it.

Just a thought. I use hotmelt in quite a few ways in my shop.

I switched from Megill’s to the Kort Adjustable Quad, and I feel like that has made a big improvement in my registration. I like that the Kort has a solid flat surface to run the paper up against.

What the heck is type lice??? Should I be worried about my shop becoming infected by little critters or is that a metaphor for something?


Someone please mention where you get the Kort adjustable quads. Thanks all!

type lice is a not so funny joke that almost all the older printers were shown. the type would be loosly held and type wash was poured on it then you were asked if you yould like to see type lice, you have to look close to see them, when you looked the type was pushed together and you got type wash in your eyes. never look at type lice.dick g.


Does anyone know the full pecking order in the print shop? It starts with print master and ends with the devil right? I’ve never heard of these stone-hands…

Where do I read up on press lore? Or do I have to question old print masters to glean this sort of stuff?

The head of the shop is a print master right?

Thanks all for indulging my off-topic musings.


Snoovy, you can ge the Kort guides from John Barrett at Letterpress Things:

Or from NA graphics: