Kelsey (& Other) Press Parts & Repair

Update April 3, 2018:

Finally, after literally years of heading towards this goal, we now have an actual production process in place and can begin offering both new and used parts for the common presses we get inquiries about. Soon we will have new ink disks, chases and chase beds cast for the 3x5, 5x8 & 6x10 Kelsey Excelsior model presses - on the shelf and ready to ship.

This has been a long time coming and is the result of a lot of research and experimentation and failed efforts, followed by eventual success. After seeing the results of casting from raw old parts vs the results of casting using precise, mounted resin patterns, we realize the improving the patterns not only improves the casting, but can also minimize the final machining costs. So, we haved some new patterns ready and are making more with expectations that we will be able to send them off to the foundry any day now.

The orders are in process now.

This also frees us up to sell used parts immediately from presses currently awaiting restoration. By the time I need those parts, I will have new ones, but you might need a used part immediately - and now, you can have it! This is some of the best news from here in nearly a decade!

But - one major caveat - a warning - not all parts fit all presses
- no matter the size or even the model number. Although the manufacture date could be helpful.  Some parts - new or used - may need slight fitting to your press. Please be aware of that issue. It will be true no matter where you find replacement parts. Kelsey presses are just like that...

To find when your press was made: /platenpresses/Kelsey/index.html#datemypress

Note, Autumn, 2015: Our previous supplier of these parts has gone on to other endeavors. The parts shown in the photos below are not currently available from the source we relied on for so long.

But we have begun making castings of some of these parts and will either send them out for machining or begin machining them ourselves after the machine shop tools (Steel planer, Bridgeport Milling Machine, Drill Press,  Lathe, steel rod and bar bender) are set up in the new shop here on our place. For quite a few years now, we've had plans to pursue fabrication of replacement parts with other foundries & machine shops as well as by making what we can here in our own little machine shop.

We're not there yet, but we're closer than we have ever been. We have castings, we have machinery to finish the castings, now all we have to do is build the workshop to put them in so that we can do the work ourselves. In the meantime, our only option is to either sell you raw castings or send these parts out to a local machine shop for finishing. 

Update November, 2014
We have established a new relationship with a new foundry only two hours away in PA. We are once again casting (gray iron) replacement parts for Kelsey presses as well as for any other press in our extensive collection of platen and flatbed letter presses.

Recently cast (as of 3/15):
  • Sigwalt #9 & 10 ink disks
  • 6x10 Excelsior "goose neck"
  • 5x8 Kelsey Excelsior chase & chase-bed
  • Pilot feed board brackets
  • Pilot ink disk
  • C&P 8x12 treadle hook
  • 9x13 Kelsey Chase Bed (sold)
  • 9x13 Kelsey Chase
Please note: Casting is only the first step. These parts all need drilling, machining, finishing and painting. Pricing is based upon cost of casting plus machining.
Raw (unmilled/undrilled/unfinished) castings are also available.

Please Contact Excelsior Press to inquire about these or any other platen press parts you may need. We're doing our best to make them available to you.

Small press ink tablesIf you own a Kelsey - or other brand manually operated letter printing press, we may be able to can get you parts for repair of your press - or repair your press for you.

Wouldn't it be nice to have an extra chase - or to replace that missing ink table on the press you just bought?. . We are working now to develop the relationships with a foundry and machine shop to once again be able to offer new parts - by duplicating parts from presses in our collection. We expect to soon be able to supply ourselves - and you - with the parts needed - to repair or restore Kelsey or other brand letterpresses.

Kelsey press parts

When new parts are needed, we plan to make them. Many of the new parts we have made available in the past were cast - in America - of ductile steel, which will outlast the original - and somewhat brittle - lower grade cast iron used in the past. Some parts have also been cast of cast iron or aluminum as appropriate.

Kelsey press parts
Although this work was not done at the Excelsior Press, we did at one time have a source of supply for these parts and we currently are working towards making available once again a convenient source for the parts that we - or you - may need for the restoration work that these little presses deserve.

 This is a work in progress, and we cannot offer you all we would like - not qute yet - since we are, after all, printers with an interest in press repair, not machinists with years of experience fabricating missing press parts... -  but as the project evolves, we will update this page with the most current information. - 9/30/2011

Contact Excelsior Press
regarding parts for or repair of your press.

But first: read the warning below - and understand that there are many variations in the fit of parts to Kelsey presses. Not only were there many versions of the same model, but since presses were some times fitted by hand, parts are not always interchangeable!

Please note this warning from the Kelsey Catalog:
Kelsey warning

Custom Press Repair
Sometimes, all a press needs is some repair - new grippers, platen leveling, roller height adjustment. Sometimes, parts are broken and need to be replaced. We can do that here or help you do it yourself. Let us know what you need and we'll do our best to help you solve whatever problems you have encountered..

Custom Press Restoration - as available

The supply of used Kelsey presses seems to be waning. Some of you have already found a press, but it may need some work. Or you may have purchased one which is missing parts or was damaged in transit. For you there is some good news - The same skills and attention to detail that have made our restored Kelsey presses so popular is now available on a custom basis.

see animation of press assembly
  • Base price: $400 - plus replacement parts and options - as listed below
  • Additional repairs may be needed at additional cost, depending upon the condition of your press
  • crating fee: $65 (safe crating)
  • shipping cost: tbd (insured)
  • Sand Blasting and repainting billed separately - ($225) color options: 
    1. Kelsey post-war "Battleship Gray"
    2. Kelsey "Old Style Black" - (gold lettering $15 extra) 
    3. Black base with red handle & gooseneck.
    4. Pink, white, other colors by special quote...
  • New Excelsior Press rubber rollers & locking trucks - add $150

Typical total cost of complete factory-new restoration:
    $400+225+150+65+shipping = $840+actual shipping

Ways to save:

  1. Skip the crating and shipping. Bring your press here and pick it up when it's done.
    Deduct $65 + cost of shipping
  2. For presses in relatively good condition to begin with, we can skip the sand blast and painting. Instead, we disassemble the press, soak it in an environmentally-safe lime-juice vinegar solution to remove surface rust, use Scotch Brite and the wire wheel to remove all rust, then coat all parts with mineral oil and reassemble the press. Then we level the platen, ink it up and make 10 test prints.
    Deduct $225 for no sandblast and paint
  3. Supply your own rollers. We're happy to install anyone's rollers, but we can also cast a $200 set for you ourselves if you'd prefer. 
    Deduct $150
  4. For $400, we will fully disassemble your press, replace minor parts as needed, fully clean the parts, and reassemble with new shafts if needed.
    Then we level the platen, ink it up and make 10 test prints.

We can also simply service your press - replace any worn or missing parts, clean, lubricate, level the platen, set the roller heights,  do some test prints. We can do this for only $200 plus the cost any new parts installed as needed. This is best done if you bring the press to the shop yourself and pick it up when it's done - typically in about a week.

Item #
5x8 6x10

Excelsior Chase-Base(tm)  LINK
ECB(size) Excelsior Chase Bars (aka Chase Irons)
ECSK(size) Excelsior Chase Screws & Key
EPG(size) Excelsior Press Grippers - round shaft (2)
EGPSS(size) Excelsior Press Grippers - square shaft (2)
inquire inquire inquire
Excelsior Gripper Bar Spring (straight rod activates grippers)
Excelsior Round Gripper bar

Ink Rollers with locking Delrin trucks (new, rubber)
Roller Hooks + collars (or nuts) - (4 required) price, each:
yes call
KRS(size) Roller Springs (4 required) price, each:
$ 6.50
Stainless Steel replacement shafts kit - with spring clips

Resurface your ink table

Excelsior Chase - new or used

Excelsior Chase Bed
Chase Latch  KCL3, KCL5, KCL6
Chase Latch Spring KCLS3, KCLS5, KCLS6 (3x5, 5x8 or 6x10)

Excelsior Ink Roller Bearers(tm)  LINK

* Note: Due to fluctuating market prices - specifically the cost of used presses plus varying costs for casting and machining new parts, all prices affected by these fluctuations must be set at time of purchase.

Item #
price avail
3x5 Kelsey Excelsior Chase < 1 lb
CB3x5 3X5 Kelsey Excelsior Chase Bed

3X5 Kelsey Excelsior Ink Table (used, -20% if available)
2.5# $185

3x5 Kelsey Excelsior Roller Carriage

3x5 Kelsey Excelsior Ink Table Operating Dog

5x8 Kelsey Excelsior Chase 2 # 12 oz.

5x8 Kelsey Excelsior Chase Bed 6.5#

5x8 Kelsey Excelsior Chase-Base-Bed

5x8 Kelsey Excelsior Ink Table 3#

5x8 Kelsey Excelsior Roller Carriage

5x8 Kelsey Excelsior Ink Table Operating Dog

6x10 Kelsey Excelsior Chase 4#

6x10 Kelsey Excelsior Chase Bed

6x10 Kelsey Excelsior Ink Table

6x10 Ink Table operating Dog

4x6 Victor or Craftsmen Victory Ink Table

4x6 Victor or Craftsmen Victory Chase

7x11 Pearl #11 Ink Table

An Important note about KELSEY PRESS PARTS

We have a few dozen Excelsior Models in the "press shed" - all awaiting restoration.

I hesitate to sell parts of off these presses for two main reasons:

1) For every part I remove from a press in the shed, I will have to make a new part to replace the ones I remove. So far, we have made some, but it has been far more expensive than I had hoped it might be. I do think that eventually, we will be able to lower our costs thereby retail them at better prices than we can offer at this time.

For now, I am calculating used parts at 70% of the cost of their replacement.

2) In addition: Kelsey parts are not all interchangeble between all model years. It seems that with each casting run, small things changed slightly at times. Many of their presses were had-finished to make parts fit to each other. We have restored enough presses by now that we've seen many models and are documenting small discrepancies between them.

For example, while comparing a Model O (early style) ink disk with a Model U (new style) disk, we found a difference of nearly 6 points between the height position when mounted in the press. To compensate for this, we are making adjustment shims to allow the user to adjust the height precisely for best performance.

Please do bear with us as we increase our inventory of new parts and make used parts available for prompt shipment.

The Kelsey Excelsior Press Parts Diagram
(from 1964 catalog)

The Kelsey Excelsior Press Parts  Diagram

Photos of Kelsey Parts posted in response to inquiries:
Kelsey Star Chase Latch
This is the chase latch used on *our* Kelsey Star. At least one other latch system was used on at least one other model of the Kelsey Star.

Kelsey Star Chase Clamp

This latch is curvey.

Kelsey Star Chase Clamp
and is mounted on a pin in the bed of the press

Kelsey Star Chase Clamp
and can be removed or replaced by removing the two nuts shown here, which removes the ink disk bracket. Behind that is the pin the chase latch

Paul Aken's Star Latch:
Kelsey Star Chase Latch
This one slides in from the side, whereas the one on our press is pressed down and rotates up to release the chase.

The Excelsior Model Q Roller AssemblyExcelsior Model Q Roller Mount

Unlike most Kelsey Presses, the 6x10 Roller Mounting system went through some major modifications over the years. Face it; the 4-hook system is a problem on the 6x10. It's hard to adjust the pressure to be strong enough to hold the rollers against the form, but at the same time loose enough to allow the rollers to move easily as they go up and onto the ink disk. Add to that the problems of bent or worn roller hooks. It was a problem then; it's a problem today. Unfortunately, almost no one is aware of this "Style B" option - and no on has parts for it... until now.

The Model X took this concept a step further and utilized a radically different system for holding the rollers in place - a direct copy of the roller arms of the Chandler & Price Pilot. Those are rare and cannot be easily retro-fitted to older 6x10's.

But we have a solution....

We have one of these 6x10 "Model Q"* presses in the collection at the moment. It uses the mechanism shown below. Our intention is to replicate this assembly and make it available as a sensible alternative to replacing the roller hooks that are still on most of the 6x10s currently in use or being sold...

Watch this page for more information to come on this system and our progress making it available to all 6x10 owners as a 5-minute bolt-on assembly.
Excelsior Model Q Roller Mount
click on the photo above to see a larger version of this image

* note: Some Model Q presses have an integrated system which is identical to that used on the Cooks' Victor (also sold by Kelsey as their "6x9 Victor Press" for many years). That system is shown on an Excelsior Model Q in the image above and is integrated into the roller carriage, which must be replaced to use it. The device shown above - which we intend to replicate - can be easily bolted onto any roller-equipped press in the time it would take to simply replace the hooks...

page last updated
10/29/09 11/20/10, 9/30/11 6/26/12
3/12/15  8/17/18  9/21/18