What type/style of quoins for a Kelsey 5 x 8?

Does anyone know/suggest a style of quoin or length to use for a Kelsey 5 x 8? Any thoughts would be great!

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Hi, Your press has a 5 X 8 chase which is 30 x 48 pica and it is manually operated which is minimum pressure so I suggest buying a mini size quoin. I happen to have several of all sizes quoins, which I would like to sell but as I see it you really only two at max four, if you are going to keep form standing, remember there is no power in a manual operated press. I am an old letterpress operator of 70 years in the business. So good luck Katie

Thanks William,

If you are interested in selling any quoins let me know. What are the sizes of mini quoins…2-4 inches long? Thanks so much for you comment.

Updated. Katie,

William is probably talking about Wickersham quions. They come in three sizes: 0,1, and 2—with 0 being the smallest. All of the Wickershams are about 2-3 inches long—the big difference is the width, again with 0 being the smallest (about 1/2” wide).

1s and 2s use the same size key to lock. The key for 0s is much smaller, and more difficult to come by. Make sure you get a key with any quions you buy.

Good luck!


You may not need any quoins at all!!!! Take a look at your chase for your 5” x 8” Kelsey and you should note that there will be two sets of screws in the chase itself, one set on the short side and another set on the long side. If you lock your form in the chase with enough furniture and reglets to get you near the edges, you simply need a flat screwdriver to tighten the screws and lock the form into the chase. That is why the screws are there. The Kelsey chases may well be the only ones that have this feature, at least they are the only ones that I have ever noticed.

Thanks so much! I checked and do have the screws…wow did that save me some time and money! I am sure I will have more questions to post once I get’er started. Katie

Hi Katie,

If you use the screws, you will also need to use two chase irons to protect the wood furniture. The irons sit against the inside of the chase along each side with the screws, and receive the pressure of the screws, so the furniture isn’t scarred and damaged. Irons are simply pieces of, well, iron probably, or any hard metal that are the same height as the chase, and a bit shorter than the inside dimensions.

Kelsey’s “Printer’s Guide” is available to view here:
http://www.donblack.ca/kelsey/kelsey.htm , and it shows how to use the irons (pg 10).

Have fun printing!

Another little trick is to ensure that the packing in the chase allows the grub screws to bury their heads in the chase wall. If they stick out you will find they get in the way of the housing. At least that is what happens with an Adana.


I am a retired letterpress printer with 60 years of experience. Started with a small press many years ago. I think the best thing for you is to use quoins. Forget the screws on the side of the chase. Real printers use quoins. The smallest quoins are the best. Regular midget quoins are good, but hard to find. I just sold some. The next best is the small Wickersham quoins. These in my opinion make a great lockup and are good because they are small. I do have some of these with key for sale. I’ve been selling all of my personal equipment because of my health condition. If you need any help at all, please contact me. I’m only too glad to help you.



If you have quoins you need to sell and think it might make things easier, I could be interested. How much are you selling for? Thanks so much everyone for the advice! Katie


I also have a Kelsey 5x8, if you have any quoins to sell I’d be happy to buy some too! Thanks.

Sal, I finally got around to cleaning out my work area and digging through my stuff when I found some quoins! That was a nice find and I guess I won’t need to purchase any at this time. Thanks for the offer though! Katie

Thanks Katie for your post, I have the same press, with the same question…

William or Sal—I am looking for some small quoins and a key for as well, let me know if you either of you still have any available to sell. I would like to purchase a set. Thanks!

The chase has six adjustable allen-type screws along the top edge that obviate need for quoins. A metal pressure-bar came with the press and if it is lost, just go to any hardware store and buy a 1/8” x 3/4” by 6” flat steel bar and insert between the screws and your type form and then tighten the screws sequentially and uniformly.

Katie, I have only ever used quoins and to me one turn of the key( per quoin ) is alot easier and would give more even pressure to the lockup than having to adjust 4 different screws.Especially if you make alot of changes.but when space is an issue I would Love to have the set screws.

The small chase size of the Kelsey is reduced that much more by insertion of wedge quoins. That, and the fact that the chase screws provide a much more even pressure is reason alone to stick with the designer’s intent. It also encourages proper lock-up technique. The chance of bursting the rather fragile Kelsy chase is dramatically increased by the often too-zealous twisting of a quoin to effect a less-than-tight forme.. Ever notice some of the ‘bowed’ chases’ pictured on this forum?

I have some tiny little quoins — they have a flat side and round disk portion. These are very very slim and do not take up much space in a chase. There were some for sale on ebay a few weeks ago…

image: tinyquoins-crop.jpg


Those quoins are used for colour registration and are not designed to lock-up a forme.

Sal, I can’t agree with your statement:

“Forget the screws on the side of the chase. Real printers use quoins….”

I’ve been printing since the 1960’s, and am about as real a printer as one can get. On small presses like Kelsey’s, I use the set-screws. It only makes good sense. The chase of a 5x8 or even a 7x10 is rather small, and the quoins take up some of the room that would otherwise be available for printing area. Since the set screws hold the type just as well as quions, there is no reason to not use them….

A REAL printer uses whatever works the best on his particular press. For a 5x8 Kelsey, the set-screws are the best solution.

Forme, that is good to know I have never used them. I inherited them recently.. So do you use them inside the forme with other quoins then?
Interesting. I didnt figure they could provide enough pressure unless it was a really tiny chase..

The pin quoins are placed on all four sides of the key block, then the forme is locked in the conventional manner using furniture and regular quoins. Once the first colour is laid, the key block is removed, the second colour block inserted, again secured by the pin quoins, and a register impression is taken. Using the adjustment pin (that fits in the holes located on the wheel rim), the second block is then moved on its xy axis to effect precise hairline movement. An big advantage is the movements are performed without removing the forme from the press bed.

And I concur with WCP. Many cylinder presses use chases having screws rather than depending upon quoins to effect lock-up. Such chase was common in stereo departments as well. Ever wondered why so many C&P chases have brazed corners? Look to a 4in. Challenge quoin. You can tilt buildings with that one.

Forme — What does the adjustment pin look like? I didn’t anything with the pin quoins and I have been looking thru all the stuff but I don’t have a clue what it looks like.

Essentially, a pin wrench looks like a thick common nail having two narrowed ends (to fit the wheel holes) with one end bent at a 10 degree angle.


I was reading this discussion for my Kelsey 5x8 and wondering, especially for people who say that we can use screws, what is the maximum base size I can get if I were to use screws? I do have some screws and if that maximizes the printing area, I would love to know… or is it simply better to lock up a base with quoins?

Thank you so much!

The small Kelsey presses had set screws in two sides of the chases for locking up using the maximum area in the chase. Not that the press will necessarily print the entire chase, but there are times when a lockup to the edge comes in handy. You can also use regular quoins, but would be better off with what are called Midget quoins. Challenge, Wickersham and Cornerstone all made smaller versions of their bigger quoins, often with corresponding smaller keys. I personally would have a base only the size of a post card or perhaps as much as 4 1/2” x 5 3/4. I doubt the press would print an area much bigger and you have to account for space for gauge pins and the press bales.