April 21, 2022 – In which we test assemble the press to see if it works and what is missing (a bunch of stuff, as it turns out).

So Don and I assembled the press bit by bit, figuring it out as we went along. He knew from the start that the ink disk was missing (the previous owner claimed he didn’t know where it was).

This is how it started, and is progressing:

Looking pretty good so far.

 April 22, nearly everything is here. We’re missing a few machine screws (which is actually more problematic than it sounds), the two-part ink disk, and a gear that drives the interior disc (all of which will be explained in good time). Also no treadle – and the available reproduction treadles don’t fit. That may be a problem for ease of operation. 

    A variable-speed motor is always an option, but there is an organic feel to treading a press that is hard to describe. The operator is an integral part of the printing process, and although it sounds a bit “woo-woo,” I really enjoy the connection between the machine and the operator. Any experienced hand press operator will understand what I mean.

    Finally, I will admit having looked into 3D printing for the disk – I can find a disk to borrow, and there are some technical hurdles, but in the end, the scanning and file prep just cost too much. It would actually be cheaper to have a single disk fabricated in steel (oh, the pleasures of knowing machinists). 

At this point, the narrator – Morgan Freeman – should foreshadow the resolution by saying: “in the end, he didn’t need to…”

But the press turns over and has a reasonably smooth action.

There’s no turning back now – IT. COULD. WORK!