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Arab Foolscap Folio 13 X 9

Started by Dave Hughes, November 10, 2010, 08:47:47 PM

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Dave Hughes

I've recently been contacted by Matthew Ellwood who has a problem restoring an Arab press.

I'm based in Newcastle, Uk. I've just been restoring an Arab Foolscap Folio 13" x  9" and I need new rollers for it.

The problem is I haven't got the originals to be refurbished and need the dimensions to have them made up from scratch.

Do you know of where I either, might find a set of old spindles/rods for this model or the full dimensions to have them made up.

Anyone got any ideas?
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Hi Dave

There are details below for rollers from my own measurements.  I hope
they would be similar for your press, but I can't guarantee it.

Best wishes


Measurements are in mm and across the diameter of each item.

Working from edge to centre --
- The metal spindle is 12.15mm
- The metal wheel (which rides on the leather bearers) is 44.45mm (NB
this is exactly 1.75in)
- The rubber covering is 44.17mm

Jeff Zilles [jeffo]

I feel this item should not be dismissed as closed and completed yet for though Ben's contribution was a start there is still not sufficient information put forward for a machinist to manufacture the stocks/spindles and/or the roller trucks and to have them fit the machine and work first attempt.

If an engineer were to machine a set or two of new roller stocks for any printing machine he would need to know the item's overall length, the principal diameter before reduction for the bearing section,  the length and diameter of the bearing section step, measured both ends in case they should be different and whether there is an addional step of different diameter for the truck,  whether the truck is keyed or pinned and the size and position of such a device and again whether only one or both sides are so locked

Measurements should make allowance for wear over whatever period of time - in the case of an Arab at least 50 years - and due regard to the standards of measurement at the time - again for the Arab, Imperial - so that the bearing ends would probably have been 1/2" diameter when new.

The truck dimensions are just as important.  The diameter we have at 1.3/4".  Also needed is the width of the truck/bearer face, the overall width of the truck, the diameter of the bearing face against the hook and the material that the truck is ideally made from eg brass, cast iron or steel or a sturdy industrial plastic.

If I had reasonable access to an Arab I would perform these tasks myself but the one that I was aware of in this town up to a year ago has relocated and the next nearest that I can think of is about 1700 miles away - he is not answering his phone today and its too far to ride my bike just on spec..  

I will persevere and try to get the additional figures unless someone sees fit to beat me to it.

I thought I could recall an attempt to start a register of Wade/Arabs with serial number / year of manufacture detail and so on - in fact I imagined, rightly or wrongly, that Ben was the instigator and had taken on a task for which I would not envy him.  Such a collection of information would ideally have most maintenance [oiling, adjustment], restoration/refurbishing, spares availability and FAQ's in one spot where the Arab fancier could access them -- the facility may well still exist and perhaps I have not yet managed to locate it

When it comes to the relative diameters of forme roller and truck I believe that the nearer the two can be to the same, the better.

If the roller is smaller than the truck then its circumference is effectively travelling slower over the forme than that of the supporting locked truck and conversely if larger then it will be faster - more or less depending on the variation but the more the difference the greater the chance of skid at the forme giving rise to a slurred impression which may not be the result we desire.

The actual width of the roller surface is another required dimension although this can be easily determined by measuring the diameter of the ink disk,  Rubber rollers are my recommendation unless the machine is pre=1940 and absolute authenticity demands composition.

Rubber will conduct itself more or less the same thru both summer and winter and in-between - compo, on the other hand has a mind of its own and is as changeable as the weather.

Thats my three pen'orth.



I'll add to Jeff's comments.  You are right that this information alone would not allow a fresh set of rollers to be made.  I don't have an Arab to hand, either, so will add these to make the picture a little more complete.

The measurements give an indication of what would be needed and for a new pair I would recommend --
- 1/2" spindle.  Same diameter for the full length.  Length would be equal to the gaps between the roller arms.  I assumed the material to be steel.
- Truck bearer face would be same width as the leather bearer that runs down the side of the platen.  I think they are held in place with a rough pin through the spindle at the right-hand side only.  Again, I think this is steel
- I know truck and roller should be the same size so as to avoid continual wipe, so would opt for 1 3/4"

I'm so vague about this because I know some Arabs of the same size were slight different from each other.  I guess that the platen was always the same size, but know that braking; connecting arms; safety systems etc. all changed between 1872 and 1959.  Perhaps if you have some specifics, Jeff, they can be compared with the users' machine to find whether that would all fit.

Yes, I'd like to gather details of machines, users and locations...please let me have any you know of.  I've a PDF uploaded of the original manual including erection, oiling etc. and I am trying to put together an outline guide to dismantling.



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