Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Year Maintainance

The small 1865 Albion has has a great deal of use during the last year - I have used it for almost everything that I have printed; most jobs in an edition of at least 100 prints. With all but the smallest blocks, I brace myself against the rails to add power to my pull. As a result, they have gradually slipped and I need to sort that out with much work lined up in the studio. The first photograph shows the problem:

The main body of the press if facing the camera squarely. The two rails at the front are distictly turned to the right. Here is the rather worn tympan which will be removed first:

After removing the tympan, I can undo the turning tapes, carefully lift the bed of the press off the rails and then remove the turning mechanism.

The rails easily pulled back into position and I could tighten them some more. There is a balance to be struck here - I wanted the rails to be tight but I don't like to overtighten these Victorian bolts. If the rail still moves a little over the next few months, I can always repeat this procedure.

Here is the turning mechanism. The next job was to lift it and fix it back into position:

I ran a thin line of oil along the rails before lifting the bed back into place. I am always wary of this as my foot is still marked from breaking the fall of this piece on the first day that I saw the press (see July 2005).

The tapes were then reconnected to the bed. Experienced handpress users will note that, in my haste, I had not threaded them over the cross bar of the rails - I had to do this again after realising that the bed would not wind in.

Once I wound the bed in, I could check the alignment of the platen against the line that I marked that I made on the tympan when I first re-covered it. As you see, the line is nicely parallel to the edge of the platen:

Here is the "after" photograph to compare with the first. The rails are now back in their proper place. Notice that the platen is slightly askew. This is very common in Albions. Since it does not affect the printing process, I am happy to leave it be.

Job Done! The Albion is back in operation and I am covered in oil. Does life get better than this?