Over the past few months I’ve had several enquiries about how I progressed with restoring Ethel (my Improved Peerless printing press.) Then I realised it’s been two years since I updated my post and showed you the final look of a restored press.


This is Ethel restored back to her full working glory, with 21st century tweaks thrown in. You can read more about her journey here but this post is about what happened next!

Since working with her, we’ve had a few things that have needed tweaking and also some not so conventional printing tweaks. After about two months of printing on her, the catch that holds the chase in place snapped off, sadly it was ink and grime that it been holding it together and I couldn’t stick it back on. The metal had sheared but this had happened years ago and when I came to use her, it snapped fully off. It isn’t an issue because I use masking tape to hold the chase in place, so not conventional but it works!

Broken catch to hold the chase

Here is the impression lever, when it was taken apart, all the pieces were soaked for weeks to really get the grime out. I painted the lever with the same hammerite paint as the body; making sure I didn’t paint into the mechanisms and over the screw hole.

Impression Lever

This is the roller holder with the (was) new rollers. My uncle had to cut down the trucks as they were too big to fit into the holders. You’ll have to excuse the grime build up on the springs as I haven’t given her a good clean down in a while! 🙂

Side cogs and rollers

The view from the other side: This roller rides up onto the ink disc by about 5mm, we’re not sure why because it fits perfectly on the runners across the platen. It isn’t too much of an issue, and the disc seems to work fine. I just have to be aware of when I print not to set stuff too far over. This is the joy of printing though, it’s like a puzzle and we’re trying to make it fit!

Rekeyed roller

When we took apart the press, the pin that drives the inking disc was a bright red and coated in so much grime. I used emery cloth to strip it back and was so surprised to find this gorgeous brass colour underneath.

Back of the Press with the Brass pin to drive the inking disc

Inking Arm and CogsSide roller holder and cogs

Ethel from the front!

Fly wheel and Rollers

Front of Ethel

The back of the press from the right hand side. Here you can see how extensive the painting was! Also we doctored the pin that holds the inking disk pin. A simple brass screw fitted so snugly we decided to go with that!

The brass wheel Pin

So on reflection from two years, it’s been a joy to work with Ethel and she has definitely helped me improve my business and printing skill. I love her but I am starting to look for a larger press so I’m able to print larger pieces.

Since getting a printing base made, I’ve had to remove the lay bar, and grippers because they get in the way and would end up smashed when the platen comes together. Sometimes I have to pack out the back of press but that is more to do with the type height and not the press.

Anyway, I’m always happy to answer any questions folk have, so please feel free to get in touch and I shall do my best to help!

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