equipment in use at the Excelsior Press

Starter Kits for Letterpress Printing

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 12/16/2018

I've had a number of inquiries lately for "Starter Kits"
So I decided to put all of the information into one place rather than have it scattered among many - often confusing pages of the web site.

To that end, we have begun this "Starter Kits" web page to hopefully simplify the process of selecting just what you need to go with that press you just got - plus some interesting items which you may choose to add to make the printing experience just a little easier and a little more fun than it may otherwise be...

Starter Kits fall into three categories
  1. Basic Printing Kit
  2. Photo-polymer printing kit
  3. Typesetting and "Traditional Printing" kit
  4. Other things you might want to add to your custom kit

1. Basic Printing Kit
Once you have a printing press - with good rollers, you will need the following items to actually use it:
  1. ink
  2. paper
  3. A form
    1. photo-polymer plate and/or
    2. wood-mounted metal photo-engraving and/or
    3. hand type, ornaments and borders.
      All three types of forms can be used together in one chase.
  4. A means of cleaning the press, form and rollers; we use red shop towels and odorless mineral spirits, but you can use anything from baby oil to Crisco to Special solvents made specifically to clean printing presses - Varn California Wash, for example.
  5. Tympan Paper and Packing
  6. Gauge Pins and/or Paper Guides
  7. You will need some means of locking up a form or mounting a photo-polymer plate
    1. For printing from photo-polymer plates, you will need a mounting base.
    2. For printing from photo-engravings; to lock up the form: some furniture and quoins - unless yours is a Kelsey press which has "grub screws" in the chase; no quoins needed.
    3. If printing with hand type, use the same items as for locking up a mounted photo-engraving; furniture, reglet, leads & slugs
2. Basic Photo-Polymer Printing Kit

In addition to the items in the Basic Printing Kit, if you print from photo-polymer plates, you will need:
  1. a Plate Mounting Base. We can supply you with either a rectangular base block or an Excelsior Chase Base made of the same wood used to mount metal photo-engravings. A metal base is not needed on a small press. 
    1. Photo-Polymer Base Block
    2. Excelsior Chase-Base
  2. Cushion Paper Guides and/or Megill Flexible Gauge Pins
3. Typesetting and "Traditional Printing" kit For Printing from Hand Type, you will need all of the items in the Basic Printing Kit, plus these items:
  1. Type
  2. Spacing
  3. Leads & Slugs
  4. Composing Stick
  5. Some Galley Trays to hold type, forms, spacing, etc.

    Now, that's the short list. And there are no prices, because now there are many options to consider.
4. Other things you might want to add to your custom kit
(most of these items are not needed immediately, but could your life easier as you become more familiar with your press and use it more...)
  1. Composing Stick Holder
  2. Ink Knive(s)
  3. Ink Knife Holder
  4. Shop Apron
  5. Roller Bearers
  6. A Lead & Slug Cutter
  7. More Galley Trays
  8. 2-Galley Modular Galley Rack

Here are some of the things we manufacture here at the Excelsior Press Restoration Facilty at the Excelsior Press Museum Print Shop. We have set up an entire macine and wood-working shop to make these items and in which we restore Kelsey and other small presses.

I'll add more info to the list below - and/or links to more information- as soon as I can get a round tuit...

New 20-durometer rubber ink rollers for Kelsey Excelsior PressTOP We cast our own 20-durometer rubber ink rollers.

New Paper Clamp Device for Galley Proof PressesTOP
We invented and make a paper clamp system for galley proof presses.

and now, it has magnets embedded to hold it in place even without furniture and quoins...

Excelsior Cushion Quad Guides - Compressible for Photo-Poly Plate Printing We make our own compressible "gauge pin" - although it's not really a pin, but it is the
Excelsior Cushion Quad Guide

Ink Mixing KitInk Knife Holders

5x8 Excelsior Chase-BaseThe Excelsior Chase-Base

more info

composing stick holderComposing Stick Holder

Ink                        Roller Bearers for Kelsey and other Platen                        PressesRoller Bearers
more info


These items can all be purchased through links on our Fundraising Page

page last updated September,  2018