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Back on the press... finally!

So, the disappearing act happened again. This time the reasons are Christmas, house buying/packing/moving and the start of our home renovations. I've only been to the studio once since the year started, but now that we're starting to get settled in I'll have more time to devote to printing.

Anyway, a couple of months ago I mentioned that I was having inking problems that I thought might be caused by a missing part. I first realized that I was missing a part while reading through a Briar Press post which had a bunch of pictures of an Arab that the poster wanted to purchase. The last picture in that post showed a bar screwed onto the two roller saddles, presumably to keep them the correct distance apart.

My press didn't come with that piece (not surprising) and I was interested in learning more about it because the presses I am most familiar with from the States, the Chandler & Price platens, don't have one. I started out by looking at the manual that was helpfully posted on the British Letterpress site, where page seven had the following: 

EEP! NEVER run the machine without the roller bar?!? Oh no! I was worried (and still am) that I had done some damage to the press by using it without the roller bar, but there wasn't anything I could do about that, I just knew I had to fix the problem before I printed again. I had no idea where I could get a piece like that and figured that I would have to get something machined for me. I took a bunch of measurements and did a bit of shopping around to see if I could find something already made that would do the trick, but that was a fruitless search. On a trip around B&Q one day, though, I came across some aluminum (aluminium?) rods that I thought I might be able to drill and use. After a bit of trial and error, I made this - 

It's not the sturdiest thing in the world and I'm not sure how long it will last before it breaks, but it has already solved one problem I had with the rollers shifting to the right and falling off the rails while I was treadling. The jury is still out on whether it has completely solved my inking issues because I've only tried printing with it a couple of times and I'll need to do a bit more testing. One thing I do know is how proud I am that I was able to solve this problem on my own (with a little consultation help from the hubs, of course).


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