I picked up a bead blaster from Harbor Freight and set up a small blasting booth in my garage to catch the flying debris. The gun did a great job removing most of the grime and surface rust. Compare this photo with the one below! It also did a good job getting in my eyes despite wearing safety goggles. It has the beautiful dark patina of 100 year old cast iron so I decided to hold off on the painting. A press like this shouldn't look brand new. We used a brass wire wheel to remove rust and paint on the chase and smaller parts and gave the whole thing a good coat of mineral oil to protect it from growing more rust.
It looks like the handle was broken at some point and welded back together so the previous owner tapped a new hole to tighten the handle to the press with an allen wrench. They also drilled a small hole in the shaft for the screw to set into so it wouldn't slip. Unfortunately, they didn't make the hole deep or wide enough to accept the screw whch caused it to slip when pressure was applied. So I grabbed my drill and took care of problem by enlarging the hole. It holds MUCH better now.
Next step is to find some money to buy a new set of rollers ($200!!!!). I don't have the cash to buy rollers and boxcar base so I'm thinking about trying to do some linoleum prints.
More to come...