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Kelsey 5x8 platen adjustment

On 24 April, Rommel John Miller wrote to ask how to set the platen screws
of his new Kelsey 5x8 to achieve a "nice, crisp, clean and even result,"
because he "can't seem to get as nice an impression" as he gets on the

Well, there is good news and bad news here. As owner of both a 9x13
platen jobber and a Vandercook Universal III, I have learned that your
Kelsey will never give the same result as the Vandercook proof press. It
won't handle a full form of type without "bucking," no matter how much
packing you use or how you tighten the screws, because the frame of the
press is not strong enough and there is slop in the bearings.The Kelsey
was never intended to print books.

However,  you can get a pretty decent result appropriate to the practical
working capacity of the press. Back off all the screws, lock up a new cap
"H" in each corner of the chase, put a few sheets of packing behind your
tympan, set your pins, ink up, and slowly adjust until you get a nice
equal impression at each corner on some hard-surfaced stock. Not all
platens are truly flat, but this technique will give you a good starting
point for makeready. Don't print on the tympan, and don't set the screws
so tight that you will have trouble printing thicker stock. This is the
reason for using several sheets of packing when making the adjustment.
You may squash a few cap H's in the process, so have plenty on hand.
Maybe you can get some monotype cast for the purpose so you don't destroy
your font.

Every so often, repeat the process.

There may be other ways of doing this--check out
LETPRESS@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .

Wayne Batcheler
New York

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