It’s been quiet around here for a while… but not because we haven’t been hard at work. In January, it took four guys, a girl, and a shop dog to move nearly five collective tons of presses into our shiny new shop. I painted the floors an epoxy white to help with lighting, and while I’m still playing with the arrangement of the presses, it’s nice to have everything in one place finally. The coming weeks will keep me busy with organizing and arranging equipment and supplies in the most efficient ways possible. So basically, I’m in heaven.
This weekend’s project was a thorough deep cleaning of the Vandercook SP-15. I bought this treasure of a press in Boston from an amazing man who loved it, and the love and care he gave it truly shows. While there were no issues, it was time for some general maintenance and there’s something about cleaning presses that just makes you feel good. Anyone who enjoys detailing cars can understand the meditation of making something shine like new again. It’s truly a zen experience.
So, Shop Dog and I set up to give the little Vandy a spa day. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we provided the following health and beauty regimen given our limited six hour day:
- Checked and topped off the oil in the motor (hurray for auto-ink!) with some SAE-20
- Deep cleaned the form rollers with some Putz Pomade
- Lubed the gripper bar cables and assembly and cleaned the grippers
- Stripped the bed and the cylinder and used some metal polish to remove some fine surface rust and grime (be sure to wipe down with a lightly oiled rag afterward)
- Removed the cylinder racks and deep-cleaned and re-oiled
- Lubed the worm gear with some fresh grease
- Oiled the press and wiped down the excess (there are only a couple of marked lubrication points, but if it moves, oil it)
- Checked the nyliners on the rollers (letting these fall out or wear down are a cheap way to cause a really expensive fix)
- And last but not least, the old girl got some fresh tympan and cylinder packing
It was a chill, productive day in the studio, and preps the press for an upcoming 12×18 print project that I’m excited to share next week!
Happy printing, and make sure to scrub the grim from under your nails.