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Thread: Vintage book press repair - need help

  1. #1
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    Vintage book press repair - need help

    I plan to fix up this press at some point, but the first problem as you can see is the screw isnít attached to the platen. The hole where the attachment should be is not threaded, so should I assume there is a pin with a rounded head that should go in there? And I assume itís not going to be the right length when I do find one, so I presume I should grind it flush?

  2. #2
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    I would use a brass or bronze plug. A HDPE, nylon, or teflon plug would also work. Do not jam it in so far it rubs on the round boss and causes extra friction.
    Bil lD

  3. #3
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    You could thread the hole and install a brass plug followed by a set screw. If you can find one a brass setscrew would also work

  4. #4
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    Thanks Bill. Could you be more specific about what a brass plug is and where to find it? Googling and searching McMaster didnít come up with anything. Thanks again.

  5. #5
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    Round brass rod of the correct diameter. Round over one end, saw to length. Could even be a unthreaded section of. a brass bolt. Toilet bolts are often brass.
    I wonder if the hole is a standard taper pin angle? Does the hole have parallel sides or do they taper?
    Bill D

  6. #6
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    My father had a book press almost identical to the one you have. He used it to maintain pressure on his marquetry work between work sessions. Unfortunately it went to a nephew so I can't look at it. As I recall the plate lifted and stayed perpendicular to the threaded shaft which would indicate more than one point of contact between the shaft and the hub on the plate.

    First, look in the bore on the plate and see if there is a curved recess down at the level of the hole. If there is, I would tap that hole so a set screw will fit. Then I would find some ball bearings that will just fit through the original hole and fill the space around the shaft with balls. Add some grease and you should be good to go once you insert the new set screw in the hole.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 11-19-2020 at 1:03 PM.
    Lee Schierer
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  7. #7
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    Lee, Iíll look into that, thank you. The hole appears to be tapered, but Iíll have a look to see if a ball bearing would fit in there - that makes sense.

    Also, the platen has two broken ears on the sides that are supposed to run up and down in a track.

  8. #8
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    The hole looks like it is off center-ed enough to insert a retaining pin that fits in the "cove-??" on the screw shaft and engages a non-thru hole on the other side of the platen reciever. I have some old denture flask presses that are designed that way.

  9. #9
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    Perhaps the space did not contain ball bearings but babbitt. That's a question for the folks at OWM. For the ears you might be able to drill holes into the edges of the platten and insert something. It's going to take some machining skills, but hand tools could suffice.

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