Admittedly, I have no experience with Vandercook or any other flatbed presses. Currently I run a Windmill, C&P and a Golding Jobber, but am looking to expand in size and versatility. I found a Power 219 for sale and was hoping that someone could give me some pointers on what to look for, and more importantly what to avoid! Any advice is greatly appreciated.
The drive mechanism on the 219P is a monstorous thing with big gears and chain, and the main part that wears and fails is the drive pin that turns one of the gears. I haven’t looked for maybe 10 years at these drawings, but the smaller parts can be made if necessary, the big gears are probably ok, and the manufacturer of the chain is still in business. I just had some new ink drive chains made up for the Univ I from the original supplier, so some of this stuff is still obtainable. I’d suggest that the press has to be fully operable as a condition for buying it.
I consulted three Vandercook catalogs from the 1950s which state that the automatic frisket/sheet delivery was optional. The price was $375.00 in 1957.
I haven’t seen the power model 219 before, but the knobs on the side look like those on a 32-28. One might set it to stop at the end, or return automatically. The other may be to set it for short or long travel. Might there have been some kind of sheet delivery that isn’t obvious from the photo? That doesn’t seem to have the original mounting fixtures for a frisket tower, but you couldn’t operate it in full auto return without delivery.
Excellent point, Daniel, although it could be called an exercise feature. I didn’t see a side guide nor the swing out paper tables beneath the feed board. Both minor, and Fritz says he is having new side guides made.
One thing I notice about that 219 is that it doesn’t have the paper control tower. This means that even if the press has the ability to run automatically you will have to walk to the end of the bed on each pass to retrieve your print. That would annoy the heck out of me. For the money though I’d say it is still a good deal if it has no other missing parts, the bearers and bed are in good shape and the electrics are functioning correctly.
The Arm Letterpress
I assume that you are looking at the 219 P on Briar Press
In general, the first thing to look for on any flat bed cylinder press is excessive wear on the under rails. These are the surfaces which the carriage bearings contact at their apex. Run a finger along the rail and feel for a worn edge and look for fine metal shavings. Wear is due to a grinding of the bearings against the rails due to several possible factors: a lack of lubrication, a build up of grime, an over-packed cylinder, printing forms over .918 (even though this press has an adjustable height bed), or previous improper adjustment of the carriage bearings. On most models the under rails, bed bearers and press bed are a single casting and therefore repair is essentially impossible. However, carriage bearings can be adjusted to compensate for some wear. (Let’s leave bearing adjustment for another post.)
The next thing to look for is significant rust or wear on the bed, bed bearers, cylinder bearers and impression cylinder.
Lastly, though some folks here may argue the ranking, is the condition of the wiring and electronics that power the carriage. These can be replaced.
I have by no means exhausted the things to look for, such as missing or broken parts. Perhaps another commenter will add something I forgot. Some replacement parts are available for the 219 and there are a number of well informed printers running this model who subscribe to this forum.
Please let us know if you acquire this press, and if it needs attention. We are he to help and learn.