Hello, old friend!
Was how I greeted my press when the movers returned this past Saturday. Quickly, the happy reunion turned somewhat sour when the key securing the flywheel refused to budge. The level of difficulty for The Move Part II was always considerably higher, but my movers aced their first tests, moving the downstairs studio upstairs without incident. They didn’t even need to remove the beading from the narrow door, which I’d presumed was a given. Again, it was the C&P (a 10x15 Chandler & Price platen) that brought the exercise to a standstill.
In the past, the main shaft that connects the flywheel to the gears on the opposite side has been threaded out as a single part, but during the last reassembly the key holding it into the gear was clearly hammered in for the last time. Neither tapping, hammering nor levering helped. Nor did crude jokes, lame jokes, muttering, swearing or sexual innuendo. The tone grew somber. Eventually, the flywheel was removed with an ingenious application of a tyre jack, and it was decided to try to use the shaft to twist the press in through the door. Which, in theory, would work, but 1500 lb. of cast iron isn’t so nibble on its feet.
We sent the flywheel upstairs first, and I volunteered to go up with the press alone, still unsure about the capability of the lift. As it approaches the sixth floor, the lift slows dramatically about two or three feet before it reaches level, which is always a nervous time. And surely it didn’t creak nearly so much before we began this whole exercise?
I wish I had photographs to show you of the tortured process of getting it through the door, but my camera battery was flashing low, and I was far too busy trying to channel my anxiety into a psychic force powerful enough to move cast iron. My panic-hazed memories include images of the press half-tipped off the pallet jack, leaning heavily into the tiled wall, an ill-considered decision to remove the 4 x 4s, and the necessary disassembly of the roller arms. There was a moment when the press was lodged in the doorway, the doorframe jutting into the space where the feedboard attaches. At this stage, someone asked if this might be far enough inside, but this was a desperate, vain hope. I’m sure I was laughing, but my mind was crowding with images of other paths I might have taken: the writer’s sharpened pencil, the birdwatcher’s folding binoculars, an admittedly expensive, yet portable, violin. There was a great deal of pushing, as mind power gave way to brute strength. I shouldn’t be picky, but I’m certain there were three screws in the gear guard when we began: there are two now.
But it’s in.