Here’s some lovely photos from Barbara Crocker of her 15-21 who writes “I had been having trouble with my press bed being high on one corner.  Thanks to you, I decided to clean the wedges and it has definitely taken care of the bed issues….lubed the wedges and got it back together, much better without mouse bones crunching.”




I’m considering grabbing an SP-15 press but, like many presses out there, getting it into running order will require some TLC. The press bed, cylinder rack, bed bearers, under rails, gripper pedal, trip latch & rail along the bed, steel cabinet, and feed table all check out and seem to need nothing more than heavy duty clean. In contrast, the impression cylinder & inking assembly carriage are no where to be found. From what I understand, a previous owner of the press needed the carriage parts for another project and I would take responsibility to replace those parts.

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I was contacted by someone with a couple of presses he wants to find new homes. One is a Hacker. I haven’t seen it yet, but he said it was missing some parts and sent a few photos. There are 3 rollers that need to be recovered, but probably no other parts of the ink train remain. From the scanned brochure I found on this site, it appears there should be a couple of rider rollers and an ink drum, not sure if the details varied over time. See the photo below. I think it shows the framework where the additional pieces would be attached. Can anyone advise me on what would be needed to restore the ink train, and how difficult that might be. Otherwise it could be a nice manual proof press, inked with a brayer, but we already have a similar size Potter proof press at the museum print shop where this would go. I am told that the press turns over easily, so that should not be an issue.



When in Print mode, my cylinder trip rack rides up the trip wedge and makes the carriage jump up right when the cam follower rolls off the top of the wedge. Is it possible to adjust this?

warped trip rack

warped trip rack

top of wedge where cam follower jumps the carriage up

top of wedge where cam follower jumps the carriage up

top of trip rack

top of trip rack

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The under rails on my 15-21 have wear on them from use before I acquired this press.  I can see this pretty clearly and it looks like it’s about .oo5, primarily at the the carriage end of the rails, then it tapers off. What is reasonable to work with when adjusting the carriage bearings?  And should I adjust the bearings in that area or compromise between the worn and not so worn areas?   This is a big disappointment because this press is in otherwise really good condition.


I just adjusted my cylinder bearings with great care and find that now the rail sweepers, the cow-pusher things that are meant to keep the rails clean, are dragging.  Should I adjust these or just remove them?  Any advice?

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Dear friends,

The print co-op I belong to recently had the form rollers for our SP-15 recovered by Pamarco. After reinstallation, I adjusted both roller heights to achieve proper strike on the roller gauge. When the rear form roller is set to a proper height, the roller gear skips along the gear rack, barely making contact. When I lower the rear roller far enough for good meshing between the gear and rack, the roller sits at an unusably low level. What simple thing am I missing?

recovered roller diameter: 2.54″
form roller gear diameter: 2.62″
gear rack height: sits 3–6 points below the bearer. Shims in place.
the press bed is galley high with a bed plate.
impression is normal with a normal amount of packing for 0.040 undercut

Thanks in advance! Happy to supply pictures if needed.


20150926_171858I have a Vandercook No. 3, the same one (SN 13165) here, that’s missing its M-134 feed roller frame assembly. I’m looking to first see if anyone has a spare (which I imagine is unlikely). Or if anyone has fabricated an alternative to the stock feed roller.

I’ve also looked into Paul’s suggestion here but the sprockets on the end of the form rollers need to be lifted above the gear rack to be rotated. Does anyone know if the original plans/drawings for the feed roller assembly, or possibly the similar lift assembly on a No. 4 are floating around somewhere? There are a few No. 3’s near me, one is owned by the individual that I purchased my No. 3 from, and I could probably take measurements from that press.

Edit: Another recommended post here, shows the lift arm bracket in more detail (thanks Paul!)





I am having a problem with a roller on my Universal. The roller closest to the feed board is binding and can’t be removed. The offending area is opposite the press operator. We can not move the carriage and the roller is not spinning.

We believe that a screw has worked loose and is not allowing the roller to move. I am concerned about using a lever on the rails to pop the roller out, but I am not sure how else to proceed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Hi everyone,

I’m looking for a replacement electrical switch for an SP-15. Any ideas if there is a replacement switch out there I can drop in there?


side_guideI’m looking for missing parts for an old style side guide (for my No. 3). It’s not an immediate need, as the press is disassembled for cleaning, but I would like to try and use this one (when completed) if at all possible. I know Fritz has a new side guide available, so if I can’t locate the parts I’ll probably pick one up from him.

The first image is what I currently have – the second image is taken from Daniel’s similar post from 2007 and indicates the parts I am seeking, minus the spring.












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Challenge-M-oscillator-1 Challenge-M-oscillator-2

I am having a new worm gear and crescent fabricated for a Challenge M series press.* I intend to have a couple of extra sets made. The cost per set will be $1,150 with free shipping within the US and Canada. This is less than having a one-off made.

The Challenge census lists forty-one 15MA/MP and four 21MP. The gear diameter is the same for both sizes only the shaft length differs.

My watchword regarding presses is “anticipate failure.” You will be glad to have a spare worm gear and crescent at some point down the road. The price will certainly be higher in the future. Please contact me as soon a possible. I require a 50% deposit with the balance due before shipping.

*Similar to the Asbern A series a crescent is set into a collar that is attached to the end of the tube with set screws. Unlike the Asbern, (or Vandercook) the worm gear is cut into the shaft. This Challenge 21MP is locking up at one end of the worm gear. There are chips in the gear points and the crescent is also worn.

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