Arab Advert (c. 1940)
Arab Advert (c. 1940)

The key points in main­tain­ing all print­ing equip­ment are to keep it well-lubri­cat­ed and to keep your equip­ment clean.  As Jack Deller notes: the clean­li­ness of the over­all print­ing works and machin­ery is seen as a good indi­ca­tion of effi­cien­cy.

Ensure that your press­es and oth­er machines are well-lubri­cat­ed reg­u­lar­ly and that the right points are greased.  Remem­ber that there may be some oil­ing points beyond eye lev­el or towards the bot­tom of the machine.

Your press­es should be peri­od­i­cal­ly cleaned with an oily rag.  Where cor­ro­sion is found on the bed of the press it can be removed with fine car­bo­ni­um paper soaked in paraf­fin.

In terms of mov­ing, ser­vic­ing and clean­ing machines thor­ough­ly here are some hints —

  • Cast iron is brit­tle: treat it as if it were glass and use either non-met­al ham­mers (like rub­ber, plas­tic or wood) or one of these mate­ri­als between the cast iron and the ham­mer
  • When remov­ing parts, replace nuts and bolts in their vacant holes.  Where this is not pos­si­ble, keep a small tin for these
  • For com­plex machin­ery con­sid­er using steel punch­es with let­ters to show which parts go where; or where gears should meet each oth­er.  Record the posi­tion of the machine when you begin to take it apart
  • Avoid cross­ing threads when undo­ing bolts, don’t use too much force
  • Remem­ber that tom­my pins and keys can be stuck on dirt, so clean first before try­ing to force them out

In terms of equip­ment, a rec­om­men­da­tion is that ‘an old suit­case’ or oth­er bag be found to con­tain the fol­low­ing items to help with low-lev­el print­ers’ engi­neer­ing

  • Deep tray to soak parts in paraf­fin to clean them
  • Pipe clean­ers to clear out oil­ing holes
  • Emery paper to remove dried ink
  • Paint brush to clean gears
  • Small tin to hold duct keys and oth­er small parts
  • Insu­lat­ing tape to shore up air tubes
  • Tweez­ers to remove oil­ing wicks
  • Torch
  • Brass, Rub­ber or Hide ham­mer
  • Screw­drivers
  • Span­ners
  • Oil­ing can
  • Tom­my bar
  • Rags
  • Cen­tre punch
  • Small chis­el
  • Oil and grease
  • Rags