Taking an Arab Apart

This is an account of dismantling a Crown Folio Arab Platen. The machine is early (Serial Number 1086 c. 1892) but has had a number of safety features fitted. The guide below shows the major steps and will be added to. There’s a special section at the foot of this page about the braking system.

The main body of the Machine

The starting point: a complete Arab

Arab: complete machine with spare "Arab Wheel" shown
Arab: complete machine with spare “Arab Wheel” shown

Inking Disk Removed (remember to replace the bolt underneath).

Arab: Inking Disc Removed
Arab: Inking Disc Removed

Feed board removed

Arab: feed boards removed
Arab: feed boards removed

One of the inking arms removed. Remember that they are under the pressure of a spring so you have to keep hold of the arm as you release. In preparation for this you should have removed the rollers and stocks; and also removed the metal bar which links left and right roller arms: keep this safe!

Arab: inking arms removed
Arab: inking arms removed

Over-arching guard removed by unbolting one site of the guard bars (not pictured)

There are two strong springs which force the front platen towards to back platen. These need to be un-hooked while the front platen is almost vertical. The two collars and hooks on the platen site need to be loosened so that the bar can be slid out later on.

Arab: Platen Springs Removed (looking from front to back under the machine)
Arab: Platen Springs Removed (looking from front to back under the machine)

The two bolts on the left of the front platen must be removed so that the front platen is held only on the supporting bar. Remove the supporting bar and lift the front platen out. This is fairly delicate as it will still contain the frisket motion.

Arab: front platen removed
Arab: front platen removed

The Arab wheel can now be slid from left to right and removed from the machine

Arab wheel removed
Arab wheel removed

The ‘rock horse’ is now removed. This is the U-shaped metal casting which forces the front platen upwards. This rests in two slots is the frame covered by two semi-circular castings bolted down.

Arab: rock horse removed
Arab: rock horse removed

The back platen is now removed as a single large unit: including the platen and the supporting casting. This is very heavy but will save trouble because the back platen will not have to be re-adjusted. The eccentric is also removed: this is the rod which holds the impression lever.

Arab: back platen removed
Arab: back platen removed

The braking system

Side view of the braking system

Arab: braking system from side
Arab: braking system from side

Top view of the braking system

Arab: top of braking system
Arab: top of braking system

 

11 thoughts on “Taking an Arab Apart”

  1. I have a couple of questions for you:
    1. what tools do you need to dismantle the press?
    2. how long would you estimate it takes to dismantle?

    Thanks!
    Matt

    1. Hi Matt

      I’d estimate a day to dismantle and a day to re-erect. In terms of tools, you’ll need spanners (ideally Whitworth or imperial sizes), penetrating oil, wooden mallet, and you’ll need to make sure the machine is very clean before you start. Best of luck!

  2. Hi there, we have an Arab but the treadle was stolen from it before we got it, any chance you would have the measurements on the treadle and the parts to go with it? We are trying to find a spare but they are very hard to get, (we are based in Australia) we will try making a treadle for it 🙂

    Thank you kindly,
    Randi

    1. Hi Randi: I’m really sorry, but my Arab has been stolen, so I can’t measure it! David Bolton has put together a Australian partner to his excellent UK site: http://www.australianletterpress.info/ I’d recommend contacting a local Arab user since they might also have a spare. Happy hunting!

    2. Hi Randi

      I’m midway through restoring an Arab. The treadle on mine has lost one of its ‘legs’ that connects to the rear No. 4 stay. My father-in-law has spoken to an engineering shop here in Wellington, New Zealand, about casting a new treadle in (strengthened) aluminium.

      The plan is to build up the missing leg in wood and shape it to match the other side (where it connects to the rear stay might have to be slightly different).

      I’m still a few months away from doing this however and I don’t have a price yet. That said, would you be interested in contributing to the cost of the casting?

      Cheers
      Matt

  3. Hello Matt, great idea to get the cast made for it. I would be interested to find out the cost and of course there is the cost of shipping it to Australia. I would be interested in contributing, depending on how much as I don’t have a big budget.
    Let me know how you go 🙂

    Randi

  4. Hi, we have an opportunity to purchase an Arab in reasonable condition. Just planning for its relocation, I need to have an idea of its all up weight (so I can choose the right vehicle) – a piece of information that has eluded me so far. Do you have a rough idea?

  5. hello , hoping someone can assist us in our rebuild with some information and maybe even photos . We have an older style arab ( based on flywheel spokes ) , that measures 17 inches between the bearers , so I’m not sure exactly what size the machine is classified at . I would like to know as much as people will share regarding the ink fountain and related parts and pieces as we have nothing , perhaps someone out there has one for sale or trade ? thank you , sean

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *