My life is full and also full of excuses, but I am finally embarking on an important project: getting my Chandler & Price 6 1/2×10″ press in spanking great shape, and finding all of the necessary bits and bots to get a home letterpress studio going. Here’s my starting point:
My C&P Pilot: Start
David bought this press for me as a wedding present. It came to us in good shape, once-over “refurbished” from an eBay seller. It doesn’t need a terrific amount of work, but there are a few things:
- It was dirty from three years in various garage-like settings.
- I want to refinish the wood tray (“lower feed table” in official C&P literature). There’s another tray that brackets onto it (if you guessed “upper feed table” you’re good at spotting patterns), but I am skeptical that I want or need it, other than being completist.
- When the press was cleaned and repainted to be sold, the fixer-upper-people spray painted over the springs and mechanisms, especially the springs that put tension on the rollers–important ones. They were basically non-functional when we started.
- The rollers that came with the press were useless (albeit probably the originals). I had a new set fabricated by a company in town, but since it was an under-the-table-hush-hush sort of thing I can’t exactly tell you who. It was pretty exciting.
- It needed some general maintenance, lubing and greasing and oiling.
So far in my project, I have, with help from Mr. Pencil:
- Soaped and washed the entire shooting match. Then there was an hour or so of blow-drying and using the air compressor to dry it very, very well.
- Taken all of the removable bits off and cleaned them.
- Re-oiled and steel wooled to remove a bit of surface rust from the platen.
- Removed the springs, soaked them in solvent, scrubbed and de-grimed them.
- Sanded the lower feed table and prepped it for varnish.
- I’m beginning to use flat black metal paint to touch up chipped areas (the layer under the black is a medium gray and I don’t like it).
Tomorrow I’m driving down to Silverton, Ore., to buy a Whole Lot of Stuff, including a type cabinet, type, slug cutter, spacers, leading, another press (that’s a side effect–I probably won’t keep it, but I might fix it up if it needs it), quoins and furniture. If you don’t know what most of that is, don’t worry, it’s my fault for not explaining. Perhaps, to prevent this post from getting even more wordy, I’ll tell you another time.
C&P all Soaped Up!