Restoration / renovation of an antique Nipping Press. also known as a bookbinders press. these presses have several uses. holding books so that they can be stitched and glued, or pressing shapes into leather items etc.I found this cast iron press at an auction. it had been used in a woodworking factory to clamp glued laminations for a while but had lain unused for many years, covered in sawdust and layers of dried glue it was gently rusting its way to a skip. I bought it for not much more than scrap value and was determined to restore it to something like its former glory. a bit of internet research showed it was produced for a Sheffield company Pawson and Brailsford in around 1870.. Dismantling was easy enough, apart from the large bronze nut on the top of the yoke. I was exerting much pressure on this, up to it starting to deform, when i looked closer and found that it is not a nut but a cap made to look like a huge nut. it simply pried up from two locating tabs! as i removed the grey hammerite paint it revealed to have been painted with gold lines over black. the black was a lead and bitumen based coating that served to cover over all the casting flaws. I removed all of this, taking great care to use masks and gloves etc with an abrasive scotch pad type disc, that cut through the paint but didn't touch the base metal like a sanding disc would have done. i decided to repaint the press with a nice blue car paint that would compliment the gold lines. Once I had the cast iron parts down to bare metal I primed it with the modern version of red lead which is red oxide primer. this was thick and gloopy enough to fill most of the casting pits after a few coats. once it was really hard I hand painted the blue fleet paint. a few days later i masked up the main areas and cut out where to paint the gold paint. I sent to a specialist Gold paint supplier in London to get a really nice deep gold paint. it wasn't cheap and I had some problems getting it to bond with the fleet paint. I was renovating this press rather than restoring it so I didn't worry too much about historic authenticity. After the rebuild I was able to home the press with an artist who uses it daily to create works of art and craft items, so it may now be able to give another 150 years of use.
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