Vandercook #2 HELP

I have a Vandercook #2. It’s a very simple press. No inking and no grippers. The only parts that move as the cylinder goes down the bed are the roller bearings. I can move them with my hands but they are sticky. The press had been in a barn for a long time when I received it. They may be stuck because they are dirty and have been immobile.

How can I get them to move again? I cleaned off the dirt as best I could on the surface that hits the rails by turning them with my hand and sprayed some WD40 on the outside. Is there a better product?

There are two screws on the outside of the cylinder casing near them. One on the face and one on the side. Which one is for adjusting the roller bearing? And, what does the other one do?

Thanks, Laurie

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Paul Moxon, Moderator
13 years ago

It looks like it would take a 3/8″ flathead screwdriver.

Eugene Marino III
13 years ago

What would be the correct tool to adjust the bearing on the large screw on the front (not the Allen screw)? Looks like a regular screw, except it’s about an inch wide & the slot is pretty thin. Any sggestions>

Paul Moxon, Moderator
13 years ago

Bumpers are the four blocks with heavy springs at each end of the bed bolted to the under rails. Send me the serial number when you can and I will add it to the census along with your Uni I.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
13 years ago

Eric, all Vandercooks that I’ve seen, including early models, have roller bearings on the carriage.

Laurie, if you don’t know: a plain bearing is a single piece of steel with a hole, and a roller bearing is made of multi-parts including small ball bearings on the circumference covered by a thin sheet-metal casing.

Considering that your press had been in a barn, it may be as Eric said, that they have to be repacked or replaced. A manufacturer’s part number is stamped on the side, and replacements are not difficult to find and are about $20 each.

I will spend a day with a No. 2 of the same vintage in early June and may have more info to share then.

Eric Holub
13 years ago

Paul, I wonder why these bearings are not free-turning. Do you have any idea what kind of bearings they are? If plain bearings, rust or gunk could be slowing down their motion, so disassembly, cleaning and lubrication could restore them. But plain bearings would have a lubrication point, and I’ve never looked at a 2 to see if there is such a thing, and the photo doesn’t show anything obvious. If they are roller bearings or ball bearings, they might need to be re-packed with grease, or replaced if sealed bearings; it all depends on the type of bearing.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
13 years ago

It’s best to not adjust the carriage bearings unless absolutely necessary. Having said that, of this model the smaller screw on the end is the set screw that locks the bearing’s position. The larger screw on the side adjusts the position of the bearing relative to the under rails, typically the tolerance is .003″, meaning that there is that much gap between the two parts. Since you can turn the bearings clean as best as you can. Scrub the under rails with a nylon scouring pad and mineral spirits.

Resist the urge to remove the bumpers, because while you may get better access to the bearings they are too close to the cylinder gear, which would then be able to clear the cylinder rack and no longer be indexed. There is also the danger that the carriage could roll off the bed, drop to the floor and become serious damaged. You are also very likely to be badly hurt.

Once it’s clean, make it a routine each time before you print to wipe the under rails and bearings, as well as the bed bearers (top rail) and cylinder bearers (outer bands of the cylinder), with a slightly oiled rag. You’re not oiling these surfaces as much as you are wiping away dirt and paper fluff, etc. that is attracted by the oil. Use SAE 20 wt. oil, look for the blue and white bottle of 3-in-One.

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