My entire shop pretty much consists of vintage equipment and accessories that do not date beyond about 1930. When cleaning or restoring antiques my general rule of thumb is: less is more. Even where more drastic measures are necessary I try and take a minimalist approach. Not only do I like the original, vintage look but also the wear and patina that is usually present. On the other hand, I don't consider rust to be a patina worthy of preservation.
The age of the proof press is roughly from 1890 to 1910 based on the style and remaining bits of paint color. The design of the stand seems to have changed at some point around 1910. But in any case, as can be seen from the photo below of the press as I received it, flood and tempest had taken their toll. The only option was a total restoration including repainting. I started last weekend: details on that in my next post.