It runs great, as it turns out, and had only ever had one owner. The hardest parts to find were not new rollers or other letterpress-era bits, but the modern stuff I needed to make it run. I found a motor on eBay, a belt on eBay, but the pulley eluded me. Then I thought: if you can't beat 'em, call the machinist and have one made. As we know, usually when something on the c+p breaks, heaven forfend, it's curtains for that press. The chase hook on my 12x18 broke at some point in the past, and my dad's machinist friend made me an aluminum beauty:
(needless to say, it doesn't look near that blindingly shiny anymore.)
So, I took the old, steel and leather pulley I had
to the local machine shop, and they measured it in and out, and made the perfect thing out of aluminum:
They even made a crown in the middle so that the belt gravitates toward the center. It cost about $115, but was just what I needed. I'm about to put some tape on it to make it a little more grippy, so I wanted to show it to you all before it became another hard-working shop part. If you want to see more pictures of the motor setup or hookup, just let me know.
Share your problem-solving stories in the comments below!