Refurbishing an old style C&P Pilot

Got this press at an online auction knowing it was going to be a project. Starting a thread here to document the process of cleaning and fixing this press before returning it to (light) service.

– Backstory –
Although I’ve been a member for over 14yrs I spent much of that time not printing at all. Life, and all. Recently I started again, printing on a Showcard Model A. I had the desire to print more than just a handful at one time so when Letterpress Things had their online auction I bid on and won a few presses, including this Pilot. After an 11 hour drive to MA (and another 11 back) the new other new presses, cabinets, etc. are in the studio and the Pilot went to the workshop for assessment.

This is the press once it got up on the stand (links because I can’t get the “attach images” to work no matter what I name things). The ink disk and lever have been set aside.

Log in to reply   7 replies so far

– Damage –

Going in I knew this press was rough and that buying (very) remote from an auction would mean some surprises. That said, I paid a fair price for the condition and look forward to remedying things.

Yup. Here’s one. Not a good surprise:

A tear-down to get a better look showed what was expected – that the whole journal sheared off. To keep the press running the previous owner simply drilled and tapped for a *really* long bolt. This kept the arm *on* but definitely not ideal.

In addition the lever was loose which is due to a gouged out indent for the lever set screw.

– Teardown –
With the help from Inkspot (thanks, Tom!), tearing the press down has been dead easy. Soak all bolts and joints with PB Blaster (not 100% needed but definitely helped smooth things) and easy does it.

I started with the disk bracket and disk level pawl before removing the roller arm and both side arms. Saddles, rods and springs off (was careful to hold the spring in the roller frame and remove carefully so it didn’t become a greasy projectile). Spent more time backing the platen off than anything else but it’s on the floor now along with the bed. After I took this pic I removed the feed table brackets so the yoke wouldn’t rest on them.

It’s been said before but I’ll repeat it here (‘cause I didn’t know until I researched it) that to get the platen off the screws are turned *inward* just a little each in a cross and/or alternating pattern. I used a deep socket on a speed handle and only turned each a smidge until I felt resistance. After awhile it became intuitive of how to approach them – a little here, a little there. Another note is that the platen isn’t light so have a hand on it (or a friend’s hands) – it’ll move when it comes free.

Next session will be removing the roller frames and the shaft they sit on. The pawl for the ink mechanism was *solid* on there so we’ll see if it comes loose. Then I’ll be closer to breaking the frames down and getting the damaged yoke out.

Fun? Fun!

Hi @jrunberg. I am engaged in the same exact project! Also, I am unable to upload pics here.
How did you remove the 2 saddles and the rod they are attached to? PB Blaster & heat don’t get the rod to budge.

Also, how do you remove the operator side bottom rod that the rocker is assembled to (threaded at both ends)?


Can’t see your images – Google says I don’t have permission.

If you’re talking about how to remove the roller frames (221 and 222 in the parts diagram ( Tom from T&T Press Restoration gave me good instruction. First he said to use a drift to tap out the pin *from the bottom* – this took some time to get it to move on one. The other won’t budge so I’m leaving it on the rod and will deal with it in place.

brace the frame with a 2x4 between the two sides and then to use a drift and give a good smack to the rod that you can see through the side of the roller frame to get things loose. There’s a pin (dutch pin?) hidden inside the roller frame itself that keeps it from turning on the shaft so you can’t twist it off.

As for the front brace rod (#241) I’m not that far along yet. I’m hoping I can just coax the frame off the rod carefully. I have to split the frame to get the rocker off so… I’ll get there eventually!

Managed to get everything apart! Thanks for the help.

– Almost apart and two lucky breaks –
Had a few minutes last night after work and before lawn duty to get a roller frame off. Bolted the bed and the ink bracket back on for stability and used a drift to back the rod from the right roller frame. As instructed I lined the drift up, steadied things then gave a firm (but not hard) whack with a machinist’s hammer. A few taps and it slid through the frame before being stopped by the pawl (which won’t budge). The left pin won’t budge wither so that side gets to just stay there.

From here, the last thing to do is to split the frame. The yoke side is free but the other side is still stuck. Left it soaking in penetrating oil for the night. This weekend I’ll try a spreading clamp and some heat to gently coax things apart then it’ll be free!

On the lucky side I Inkspot from T&T has a new style rocker that should work – yay! Downside is that the OG platen bolts won’t work, however. But thank the press gods that a set of really nice bolts were on eBay and now are on the way to me.


– The arrival of two lucky breaks –
The new rocker came from Tom and it’s great. The casting is clearly better than the earlier ones and, even better, it’s not broken :) The new platen bolts came as well and they’re very nice so my luck held.

Spent a bit wire brushing off loose paint and such to prep surfaces before dipping in Evaporust. So far I haven’t found any new damage so fingers crossed it stays that way. That said, damage to the yoke journal where the handle was loose has me thinking I’ll just move the handle to the right side and be tell myself to be fine with it (and keep it TIGHT).