Hello. I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Kelly Shields and I am an high school art teacher. I am also one of those “enthusiastic newer printers who are learning letterpress printing and keeping it alive and well.” I have been a silent observer of this site for several years, and have just recently purchased a Vandercook 4T. I have been learning from David Umbenhour at The Art Academy of Cincinnati and researching restoration heavily on this site. I wanted to thank Paul and everyone else here for all the knowledge you willingly share. I thought some might be interested in the image of my press as I found it two weeks ago and how it is coming along. After uncovering it from all its grime, everything seems to be in working order with the exception of the foot pedal. It doesn’t raise the grippers, and I still havent figured out why. But I am thrilled to have a press of my own and hope to be a valuable contributor in the future.
Just wanted to give a quick update on my press. After new rollers, a new belt for the motor, and a boxcar base, my Vandercook is up and running and printing great. I still have alot to learn, but I have met so many great people who inspire and teach me regularly! Thanks again to Paul and everyone on the Vanderblog. I just found out I am now #901 in the APA. Kelly Shields redflowerletterpress.com
My Vandercook is up and running! I am so excited. Of course, I can only print carved lino until I invest more time and resources, but I wanted to share my progress. Thanks again for all the help!
NA Graphics has replacement belts, but you may be able to find one locally. The length when flatten it is 16″ and the width should be 1″.
The base of the speed reducer has lotted holes for the bolts (one on each end). Loosen the bolts and pull the speed reducer back making sure that the chain is too tight.
Hi! Just a quick update and question on my press restoration. I am getting closer. With a little tightening at the chain connection under the bed, the foot pedal now raises the grippers to the same height when on automatic. All the inking rollers roll and oscillate when the the motor is on. I expect the typman and a few accessories to arrive any day from NA Graphics. And I have a linoblock carved and waiting. I am very excited. But the belt on the motor is cracked and needs replacing and I wondered if anyone might have suggestions on where you prefer to purchase this part. And the chain to the motor seems loose, because it hits its metal encasing. Minor adjustments I hope. Thanks again for all the help and advice.
It’s looking great.The grippers shouldn’t need to raise more that this to allow your to feed paper.
The oil should be fine and you shouldn’t need to drain it.
The bar that pushes out the gripper opener cam looks just like mine.
Here is another update on my restoration process. I’ve uploaded images of my clutch plate and clutch pins. Based on what I have seen online, they are in pretty good shape. But since I am so new at this, maybe someone else can tell me what you think. I also have images of my grippers when they are raised in the automatic mode. Is this as high as they are supposed to raise? I also attached another view of the bar that pushes out the gripper lever cam. Is it supposed to be that shape, or is mine really worn. And if it is worn, what do I do? Lastly, I have two images of my motor. The oil is up to the oil line, but should I replace it with new oil? If so, how do I remove the old oil and what type of oil do I replace it with? I attached a photo of the motor also so you can see the specs. Thanks again for all the advice, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Well, that’s really cool, Kelly, I’m very happy and honored to know that my restoration project has served someone.
Please let us know how this turns out.
Thank you Enrique for your advice and complement. You should know that I have been relying heavily on your images documenting your restoration methods. Thanks for sharing your process. I am finding rust removal to be a very addictive task.
Paul, I had a hunch I was not photographing the trip bar you were referring to. I also thought that the pin looked different than other presses I have seen on this site. I guess this has been repaired sometime in the past. This current pin does go all the way through the pedal collar. As a side note, David let me look at your Vandercook Maintenance book last night at class. Your diagrams are really helpful addition to the manual drawings. I also love the historical photos and information. I will be ordering my own copy soon.
Eric, thanks for your tips as well. I will be devoting more attention to cleaning and rust removal on that area of the press and will check those screws.
Thanks again to everyone for all the suggestions. I have made an appointment to see another working 4T in my area in action and hopefully that will help as well. I will keep you posted on my progress.
Kelly, the wise men have talked.
Sorry I got confused, Paul’s right, you can do away without the leveling bolts.
You do have “feet” on your press.
To Paul’s list I would add that there is a bar on the far side that connects from the foot pedal action to the gripper action (sorry, don’t have the parts list at hand). There are shouldered screws that are pivots for the action, and if the screws back out, then the it is the smaller threaded portions on which the action pivots, not the shoulder, and therefore less movement. Check that these screws are all the way in.
The leveling feet are two large bolts that fit into the base casting at the right end of the bed. It does not effect the gripper pedal. Jacking up the press is not the answer.
The trip bar I cited in my first comment is part of the gripper bar (see sheet 104). The photo you show is of the bar that pushes out the gripper lever cam (MR-129, sheet 107). Unfortunately, this bar does not appear in the drawing.
That pin is wrong. It should be driven down flush and would not be painted.
Hey, first of all: Good job on the cleaning!
As you are missing feet, then you should think of an alternative to raise the press, I don’t know if I’d recommend wood. Seems like it might not be a great choice, but I’m sure others will chime in with better suggestions. But that can definitely be giving you clearance problems, I’m sure.
Also, your pin seems to be sticking out way too much, it might not be engaging.
Other thing to try is from inside the cabinet pull the chain to see if the linkage is engaged.
Good luck!! you are close to printing for sure.
Thanks for the advice. I’ll start ruling out each one in that order. I was looking at the diagram sheets and noticed that the press originally had feet, but now are no longer there. Could it be that simple? Right now, if I step on the pedal it does send out the trip bar out slightly, but it doesn’t seem to have enough pressure to push the push rod. If I jack up the press and add a bit of height, that would allow the pedal to be pushed down farther. I attached a close up of the pedal. The gripper stems do raise if I manually push the push rod, so that doesn’t seem to be the problem, though they still need a good cleaning. The trip bar does seem a bit worn, so I attached a photo of that as well. Any advice on how much it should be raised and the best method to do so? Thanks again, Kelly
There are a number of reasons why the pedal wont lift the grippers. Here’s my order of likelihood:
– floor mat under pedal
– gripper stems dirty. clean and lubricate with graphite
– trip bar (MS-101, sheet 104) on bottom of gripper bar not aligned with push rod (MR-100, sheet 106)
– Push rod dirty
– end of trip bar worn
– taper pin in pedal collar sheared
– linkage disconnected. This is the most unlikeliest, but requires the bed to be lifted.