Friday, July 11, 2014

Restoring my big printing press

I am currently working on restoring my large Dickerson printing press to a working state. This mainly involves removing a heavy deposit of rust on the steel rollers, which built up as a result of the press lying in storage and not sufficiently protected from the elements. I've taken lots of advice and tried different cleaning agents and methods, including:

  • Going straight at the rust with steel wool.
  • Brushing on a combination of vinegar and lemon juice, then rubbing with steel wool.
  • Wrapping the rollers overnight in aloominum foil.
  • Coating the rollers in a strong rust removing agent.

None of these have really been satisfactory. The only thing that seems to have worked so far is to soak some rags in a mixture of distilled vinegar, mineral spirits, and baking soda, and wrapping the rollers in the rags for a few hours. I then use steel wool on the residue, which comes away pretty easily. You can see the difference in the following photos between the rusted and the cleaned parts:



The difference is particularly noticeable in the close-up.

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