I bought a C&P Pilot tabletop a few months ago. It had been recently fully restored by someone in the Lancaster PA area, and has good rollers and trucks.
It is my first antique press, and I’ve been using it a little bit to try to learn about it. I have 10-pt Century Schoolbook type from M&H in San Francisco, and also my own hand-carved linocut type in 72-pt, 96-pt, and 192-pt, and use them to make notecards. (Also have a homemade press from the Mossworks plans.)
The first thing I tried on the C&P was a tiny, three-line thank you card for a friend, located in the center of the chase, and it came out fine.
Last week, I tried a larger piece, using three lines of 72-pt linocut type, and whichever way I had the chase installed, one side (top or bottom, can’t remember) was fine but the other side (bottom or top) was so light as to be unreadable.
I messed around with packing some, but concluded that the platen is uneven, so am working my nerve up to adjust the platen screws using instructions from online and from Polk’s Elementary Platen Presswork and Cleeton et al’s General Printing.
In the meantime, after taking off the steel trucks and cleaning the rubber rollers, when I went to put the trucks back on, one got stuck, and my husband managed to get it off again.
I think I may need to put lubricant on the trucks before using them again, but don’t know what kind to buy or how often and how much to apply. Also don’t know which other parts of the press may need periodic lubrication, with which products, and how often.
I’m also concerned that I may be damaging the trucks and/or the part of the press along which the trucks run, because I can’t remember exactly how those vertical runners looked when I started, but now they look a little chewed up. Maybe they just had a coat of the black enamel paint that the restorer used, and using the press wore that paint off and that’s okay. But maybe not.
No one else has answered…I don’t own a C&P pilot, but I think the cores of Pilots have a tab or two pinched out that the trucks go over…there is a slot in the truck for them to fit into. Ideally the trucks do not rotate independently of the roller, they should roll with the roller. This one reason the trucks should be the same size as the roller. Thus the trucks should not be lubricated. Oil on the rails causes all sorts of inking/printing problems.
Where the roller cores fit into the roller hooks is a different matter. Those should be lubricated. 30 weight non-detergent motor oil seems to be the accepted product. It’s what I use on my presses.