SALE/FUNDRAISING PAGE -> THINGS WE MAKE
Things we make
at Excelsior Press Restoration Workshop
"Things to make your life easier as you print."
LIST of ITEMS ~ EQUIPMENT
we use to do it.
and, our Fundraising
Page, where we list these items for sale
Note: This is a new page
- very much a work in progress. Please bear with us
as we flesh it out,
add links and images... - Alan 9/16/2018
updated 6/18/19 9/12/20
recently dawned on me
that many of the items we sell are not available elsewhere
- they are made here at the Excelsior Press in the work
shop where we repair and restore old presses...
Some are our own inventions, others good ideas we learned
about from others. In each case, they will "make your life easier as
We began by making parts we needed for restorations -
roller hooks, gripper arms and the like. We began having
new cast iron parts made at a foundry run by an Amish
farmer in Lancaster County, PA., and the finish machining
done by a local machine shop. The cost of machining
these parts has slowed down production a bit, but they are
still getting done.
But here in the shop, we
make a lot of things to improve the life of printers...
For Platen & Galley
- We cast our own 20-durometer rubber ink rollers.
- We make roller trucks in any size.
- We make Ink Roller
- We make a a two-roller Galley
Proof Press Inking Device -
and are developing an advanced semi-automatic inking
system as well.
- We make roller hooks for Kelsey presses
- We "make" an ink roller height gauge - using a
piece of 24-point solid rule
- We "make" galley press roller bearers of the same
- We make a holder for
ink knives - to keep them clean as you are mixing
- We make our own springs for 3x5 Kelsey presses
- We modify outsourced springs as replacements for
other springs as needed.
- We make grippers for all small presses. We stock
- We invented and make a paper
clamp system for galley proof presses.
- We make Galley Magnets of our own design.
- We make The Excelsior Cushion Quad
- We make strong wooden
chases for any press up to 6x10
- The Excelsior Chase-Base - for
photo polymer plate printing
For Composition and Make-Up
Restorations and New
- We make up kits of new and used leads and slugs -
again, cut to precise length on our Hammond Glider
- We make up kits of wood furniture - some new wood,
some recycled furniture from old print shops. We
recycle the old wood furniture by cutting each used
piece to the next shorter length on our Hammond Glider
Trim Saw. This gives each piece a true, square end,
cut precisely - within one point - to any length
- We invented and make the Excelsior Chase Base - and
rectangular base blocks
- We make our own Wickersham Quoin Key.
- We make a Composing Stick just like the one Ben
- We make Composing Stick Holders
- We make a 2-galley expandable modular galley rack
- We are beginning to work on making new type cases
TRAINING & TUTORING
- We Re-manufacture Table Top Platen and Galley Proof
- We even built our own Wooden Common Press - just
like Ben Franklin used - built from scratch based on
plans we got from The Smithsonian. (Currently on display
2018 at the National Museum of Industrial History, a
Museum in Pennsylvania)
- We make the Composing Stick Proof press - for
schools, museums & hobbyists
- We make videos - typically instructional, although
some are just capturing a visitor printing here or
something like that. Not great, but informative... and
free to view...
- We make our own boxes for many items - chipboard
scored on the hand press...
- And, when there's time, we make coasters, posters,
cards, die cut and number on any of a dozen hand
presses and the auto-feed Heidelberg Windmill.
However, even the things that we feel we have invented,
may not be original. I recently discovered, for example,
that more than ten years ago, someone in England came up
with a very similar solution to mine to deal with the fact
that many galley proof presses have no way to hold a sheet
But the one we make and sell was entirely my own idea...
It was just a case of "great minds thinking alike"...
With our paper clamp system, you could print a job of
multiple colors - or multiple passes - while maintaining
perfect dot-for-dot register - just like on the $15,000
proof presses... (but admittedly, without the heavy
The semi-automatic inking system we are currently
developing for galley proof presses will revolutionize
their use. Instead of spending 20 or more seconds setting
roller bearers and hand-inking a form with a clumsy
brayer, our system rolls two wide rollers right down the
rails - and an oscillating parent roller keeps a nice film
of ink available for each print.
Now, you can make a new print - in perfect register - and
with perfectly laid ink - in less than ten seconds...
Our composing stick holder is based up on a design
discovered by Rich Polinski in an old ATF catalog circa
1900. He made a few, we sold them, he stopped making them,
I began making them... and selling quite a few...
We make a platen leveling kit consisting of 4 Ludlow slugs
- "X-x" that can be placed in each corner of a chase to
make leveling a platen a far, far simpler task than using
a lollipop - even a compound lollipop. We also make a
photo-polymer version that works the same way, but mounts
on a plate base.
The Excelsior Press
Museum Restoration Facility work shop contains
- a metal lathe,
- 2 drill presses,
- 2 band saws (wood & metal),
- a radial arm saw,
- a table saw,
- a router table,
- A wood Planer,
- two sanders (60-grit & 180 grit),
- a number of grinding wheels and wire wheels,
- a paint booth,
- a sand-blasting cabinet,
- We even have a steel planer - which is not yet
- - and a Bridgeport Milling Machine - which is still across
the road in the old barn.
- A Lincoln AC-225 Arc Welder - still to be wired up and
We have many, many boxes and drawers of hardware, bar and
round stock in many thicknesses and diameters, threaded
rod, cans of paint - all types, wood stain, varnishes,
and WOOD - boy, do we have wood. And, with the new wood
planer, we can mill it precisely to just about any
thickness we need... We even milled down and made a nice
piece from the limb that broke off of our Dogwood Tree
during a heavy snow storm last winter...
And, for the wood stove, we have tons and tons of wood
down all around the property - piles cut to size, whole
trees just waiting to be cut up. Yes, we have wood... and
we use it.
And, we have clutter - too much stuff in too little space.
We want to build a barn, but that's a big and very
expensive project. Still, it's high on the list!
We cast our own 20- and 30-durometer Rubber Ink Rollers.
And make our own shafts and trucks as well. No need to
save and recover old shafts.
See more on our Fundraising
Two-Roller Galley Press Inking Device
(click on photo
for a closer look) This photo shows the inking
device in use, with the sheet registration device in
place on the bed of the press.
This device grew out of continued frustration with using a
hand brayer - getting even and consistent inking was
always a challenge - but not any more. Using two standard
Kelsey Excelsior 6x10 - or other common press rollers,
mounted in the custom-designed frame allows the printer to
use the press rails themselves as always-there, but
bearers. The Richlite side blocks slide easily
along the rails for very easy inking - without any
bouncing or other frustrating issues common with the use
of the traditional hand brayer. The device can be easily
opened up by removing one screw on the side block, freeing
the rollers for quick replacement.
Click the photo
for a close-up view.
9/17/19 - I had been contemplating an adjustment
system for this Inking Device. The first models were
carefully finished to match the diameter of the installed
rollers. But I wasn't satisfied with that. There was no
room for adjustment and little room for error in
I had considered the complex two-piece/3-screws system
used on the Vandercook, but I wanted to find an even
better way. Tonight, I came up with what I think is a good
idea that solves this problem with simplicity and
precision - the Adjustable Roller Bearing Block. I may
still go back to the Vandercook design, but first I think
I'll take a stab at making some of these.... The
idea is to have the roller shaft hole offset within a
rotating disk. The disk can be rotated very precisely
using the tool designed to fit the two small holes. Since
the shaft hole is off-center, this device becomes a cam. A
cam has infinite adjustability - even more precise than a
screw. I think this may be the new feature that will be
used on future versions of the Inker.
The block can be made of Richlite, the insert of 2" delrin
rod. With Delrin, no bushings are needed. The pins in the
tool can be made of 1/4" steel rod, the tool handle of
Richlite or Ipe. Let's see how this works out...
Update 9/12/20 - Well,
it's been a while since I made the note above. Since then,
the workshop has been closed as I devoted much of my time
during this past year to fighting (& beating) cancer
and other "now that you're an old man" medical issues.
But now that I'm back to work - and have let a few folks
know about this device, I'm pressed to continue R&D
and get back into production. I've decided that I need a
better - and simpler way to adjust roller height. Instead
of the cam system described above, I am considering a
design more like what is used on the Vandercook Model 4 -
a lower rail that is adjustable with two set screws on
either side. When I have one ready to show, I will post it
We invented and make
a paper clamp and register device for galley proof
on photo for a closer look)
This device will allow you to achieve dead-on
perfect dot-for-dot register printing printing one
color - or two colors - in perfect reproducible
position. The original design was made to lock up in
your form. But now, it has magnets embedded to hold it
in place even without furniture and quoins...
With the magnets embedded in the base, it need
not be locked up, but could be simply laid on the bed
- the magnets will hold it in place. In any case, the
angle on the device will suspend your sheet just above
the form to keep it clean until the impression roller
goes across and presses the paper onto the form. Once
printed, the sheet must be removed before you roll the
impression roller back to home position.
Head alignment is achieved with a shallow ledge that
aligns the sheet against the back stop. Side alignment
is achieved (currently) by use of one side guide. We
are currently using our Excelsior Cushion Quad Guide
(not shown in this photo)
We make our own compressible "gauge pin" - although
it's not really a pin, but it is the
Excelsior Cushion Quad
click the link above for more details about this
click the photo for a closer look.
We started making these after some very annoying
experiences with ink knives laying all of the ink
plate and, frankly, getting all covered with ink. With
this device, you can keep ink on 4 knives - one each
of 3 colors, plus one more with mixed ink on it- and never have a mess or
get ink on
It sure helps keep the stone clean when I'm mixing
TOPThe Excelsior Chase-Base
This thing has been quite a hit. It came out of the
need to mount photo-polymer plates on small presses -
without limiting the plate size. It will mount as
large a plate as your bed can fit - 5x8 on a 5x8
It replaces your standard chase and requires no
lock-up. Although made of either wood or Richlite, it
can handle all of the pressure that a table top press
can produce - and costs far less than one of those
heavy-duty metal bases. Grid lines are not needed; you
can mount your plate exactly in position based upon
the setting of your paper guides - on the paper you
are going to print on. More info on our Chase-Base
TOP Composing Stick Holder
A friend saw this in an old printing supplies catalog
and showed up in the shop one day - quite a few years
ago - with this one.
I asked him to make more for me to sell. He did, but
he also soon tired of the project, so I began to make
them myself using dark brown Ipe wood. They last for
ever and are really, really handy. Since the
stick is held at a slant, type in the stick does not
fall over. We use them all over the shop and everyone
who has one seems to like using them quite a bit.
You can too, if you'd like - Item # CSH
Our roller bearers
are made here in the shop from new hardwoods (Maple,
generally) or recycled wood furniture pieces cut to
fit precisely - type high - .918" - on our 1.0-point
precision Hammond Glider Trim Saw. Bearers are then
finished - for protection from ink stain and
solvents - with the same Paraffin Oil used by The
Thompson Cabinet Company when they made the
furniture they sold to the Kelsey Company and to
print shops throughout the country for many years.
The ends of the bearers are shaped to fit over the top
and bottom as well as the side edges of the
chase and rounded to allow smooth transition of the
rollers over the form.
Most press manufacturers offered roller bearers made
of formed sheet metal. But I had a set of very old
wooden ones - probably made prior to 1930 - which I
used in my shop. When a friend saw them - and how well
they worked, I was asked to make a set for them - of
wood, just like mine. Well, that was a long time ago
and we have been making custom-sized roller bearers
for many presses ever since...
To see the impact roller bearers can have on your
printing, see out detailed page
of roller bearers in action
- and this
of the effect of using roller bearers.
shows the before and after effect of
adding roller bearers - and fixing an image problem in
just a minute.
Yes, after many years considering
this, we are about to embark on a new project - making
Hamilton/Thompson - style type cases. We're not ready
to tackle the California Job case, but we are already
in the process of making 12x12" Kelsey-style "Hobby
Cases" and 2/3-sized Hamilton-replica Double Caps
We are already working on restoring a Hamilton
and will be using the same tools in
the shop - and fresh Poplar wood to make type cases -
as well as short, modular 3-5 type case racks based on
what we have learned while restoring this one.
... AND MORE TO COME
These items will
soon be available for purchase through links on our Fundraising Page
last updated September,
2018 June, 2019 Sept 2020