Arab - should I buy it?

I’m just starting out in letterpress (a complete beginner!) and have the opportunity to purchase an Arab. it hasn’t been used for quite a few years (not sure how many), and I’m wondering if it’s worth the price being asked for it.

For example, am I going to need to buy new rollers / get them re-covered, or do any other work to make it operational? I’ve seen it ‘in action’ ie. being operated by treadle, clam action opening and closing, but not with the chase in, inked up and printing.

I’ve heard good things about Arabs on Briarpress, so fingers crossed I’ve lucked onto something good here. Hoping for some of the wisdom briarpress has to offer…

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The press certainly seems to be in good shape (excluding a bit of rust and need for cleaning and oil) and should provide a great press for someone starting out in the letterpress journey.

The rollers appear to be glazed and probably fairly hard, but you may be able to get them in better shape with a little effort and pumice or deglazing solvent. Generally, rollers in this condiition will require replacement, however, and you certainly would want to allow for that in your near future if you purchase the press.

I’ve only seen a couple of these presses, so someone with more exposure to ARAB presses may have some other observations.

thanks John. That’s good to know.

I’m in Australia, so wondering if anyone knows where I can get replacement rollers?

Just as a cautionary note for someone buying a new press, be careful to check for missing parts. Replacement parts can sometimes be extremely difficult to come by.

Did you check the yellow pages here? If not, there will be a place that can do it, but getting the right durometer could take some work.

Great machine to work, nice motion (swell), the platen opens into a near horizontal position, ideal for feeding.

Check this out:

Problems shouldn’t be a problem.

Vrooooom, what’s a durometer?? You’ve got me worried.

Durometer is a measure of hardness, and the point is that letterpress rollers should be made softer than offset press rollers. Roller companies that only serve offfset printers don’t necessarily have the softer material.

Thanks imp, that’s helpful. I’ll make sure the roller company knows about letterpress rollers.

Not long with an ARAB myself, also Australia. Drop me a line and I’ll send you what info I have to date.