Cleaning up a #3

Hello Vanderfolks. I am in the process of finally getting my old #3 up and running again. A lot of dust, dirt, a little rust and the paper clasp pins don’t open. Looks like I have mostly cleaning and lubricating to do. My question is really simple. For those of you who have been through this with a #3 or other model: is there anything you learned in the process of cleaning up your press that you wish you had known when you started? Perhaps something that might save me some misery?

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Paul Moxon, Moderator
13 years ago

Carl: you can get a manual from NA Graphics:, but you’ll need to email them about it.

Tell me the serial number and location and I’ll add it to the census:
You may find other No. 3 near you. There are over 60 listed.

See the Maintenance page:
Generally resist the urge to remove or disassemble the carriage. Start by cleaning the bearers, bearings and under rails. Then take my Maintenance workshop: More will be listed soon.

Carl Youngmann
13 years ago

Hi James,

I am attempting to do the same thing—clean up a Model 3. This is great advice Paul—Thanks for your continuing interest.
Where did you find the manual?
How is the cleanup going? Any advice to those us just starting this process?



Paul Moxon, Moderator
13 years ago

Almost. See also the Maintenance page and scroll down for your model.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
13 years ago

1) Get a manual. Read it and note the part names.
2) Attend my “Vandercook Maintenance” Workshop. See the Workshop page for the schedule.
3) Ignore the temptation to take the press completely apart to clean thoroughly.
4) Take photos before disassembling parts. There are some factory settings that may be difficult to replicate. For example, don’t remove or adjust the carriage bearings unless absolutely necessary. But if so read “Adjusting Cylinder Carriage Bearings Vandercook SP-15, SP-20, SP-25, Universal Models” by Gerald Lange
5) Focus instead on cleaning the bed bearers, cylinder bearers, and under rails, bed. To clean the carriage bearings remove the bumper plates (MS-122). Clean also the trip rack and roller, trip wedges, safety bar

Cleaning the gripper bar (applicable to the No4, 219 and early versions of the Uni I.
1) Remove packing in normal manner.
2) Tighten gripper bar screws (NR-221).
3) Roll carriage to middle of bed so that gripper bar is on its back (adjustment knobs pointing up).
4) Remove screws and bar from cylinder.
5) Loosen set screw holding gripper pin assembly in bar.
6) Push trip bar (MS-101) to lift pin.
7) Grasp head and pull out from gripper bar.
8) Disassemble and clean
9) Inspect straightness of pin shaft and burrs on underside of head,
10) Reinsert gripper guide (LR-109) apply small amount of graphite powder to shaft just above the threads.
11) Reassemble spring and jam nuts.
12) Insert pin assembly into gripper bar. Align detent (dimple) with hole in bar. Don’t over tighten set screw, which could crimp gripper guide.

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