Printer models / pricing/ text recommendations/

What type of letterpress do you use and in your opinion, what models work best for which applications? For example, can a model that is used for larger posters and perhaps poetry chapbooks be suitable for smaller cards? which are the best and most versatile of models? How easily are parts required? lastly, are there any recommendations on informative and comprehensive texts on letterpress? I am looking to purchase a larger C&P and have the serial number but am unsure if the model is suitable for what I am looking to create.Any info is greatly appreciated!

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C&P presses are typically good, they have there limitations (large coverage is very limited). I have an 8x12 C&P new style. I know others that have the larger models. I mostly print envelopes, cards, ect. I have done two jobs that were almost too large for my press but sneaked them thru with some creative problem solving since they had very little printing area. The more of the chase that is filled with items that print the less impression you get — its spread out across. Which is much different than a vandercook. I have found that you can print very heavy stock on a c&p since you do not feed the paper around a cylinder.

Parts.. well I found my by scrounging around.. There are some places that still sell some pieces. New rollers are EXPENSIVE.. so take that into consideration if the rollers on the press are not great.

C&P presses work quite well for chapbooks and smaller items. I use an OS 8x12 at home and have access top a NS 10x15 nearby. With a 12x18 or larger press you may be able to print two pages at a time, but I find the amount of type often limits me to one page at a time anyway. I also seem to be able to get a better impression that way.

For books on letterpress printing, and lots more, go to Five Roses Intro page:

wow! thanks guys for the quick response! so, how much do the rollers cost and if they are good, how long are they usually known to last?
and are larger presses able to make smaller cards and such as well? I’m eyeing a Chandler & Price 12x18 vintage 1939 supposedly in good condition under $1500. do you guys think thats reasonable and do you forsee any problems using this model to create planners/cards/and chapbooks?
p.s. the link to the site was great!
i’ll be taking my first letterpress studio class at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena this summer…excited!

It is great to see the continued new interest in letterpress printing. That interest certainly has caused some prices to rise. The sum of $1,500 for a C&P would be outside the maximum range in my opinion. My observation is that C&P’s are really great workhorses - I have a 10x15 as well as 2 Vandercooks - but these presses can be had for anywhere from “just come pick it up” ( expensive, by the way ) to about $ 500, maybe $750. The rollers will cost around $300. I would agree that the C&P is a versatile machine and a great starting place. Good luck! john adams

That press should work fine. But $1500 is more than a bit steep unless you’re in a hurry for a press. I’ve had 3 that size offered for free over the past few years.

hmm… ^o^ I think I can talk the guy down to maybe 1100 -1300? would that be acceptable or would most of you wait and look elsewhere?arrggg…what if it disappears.I’m in Los Angeles, he’s in Chicago, and I suppose I arrange a freight? otherwise I’m not really sure where to look to purchase a press.Ive been getting a vibe that it may become harder to find… Ok! I guess thats my next question! Where to look?
thx for all the help again- u guys rock!

I think you should get in touch with Mark Babour over at the International Museum of Printing in Carson. I’m sure they have C & Ps offered to them frequently and I’m sure they turn the offers down.

By the time you pay to have the press in Chicago shipped and unloaded at the terminal (unless it’s going to a commercial address) and then rent a truck and possibly hire riggers to move it to and get it into your house, you’ll probably be into it for over $2000. Even to a commercial address the shipping alone will likely be upwards of $500. If you’re going to spend that much money you should probably spend around the same or a little more and invest in a Vandercook and wait for a more reasonably priced and closer platen press.

Otherwise try and find a platen press for something in the $500 or under range and then use some of the money you save to get the acccesories you’ll need.

It dosn’t sound like a good deal at all. I waited a little longer than I wanted to get my press and I ended up getting a great deal and a lot of the accessories I needed with it for very little money.

Luck is where opportunity and preparation meet.

ah! you guys are so wise! =) *bows~ I shall take all this into account! thank you much!
there is a C&P 10x15 in south pasadena , its posted here on Briar Press if someone with a more trained eye could take a peek and assess it pls!…
they said the motor needs to be reattached…not sure how difficult that is…

oh, and i think i’ll be visiting a certain museum in Carson soon…thx! you tell what my summer project/interest/obsession is? so anyway…
I’ve been reading David S.Rose’s site at today…and um..
why is a treadle-operated press easier to install and operate, not to mention safer, than a motorized press? does this mean, i shouldnt start with a motorized press?what do you guys think of this listing for a c&p craftsman?

Usually you would remove a motor to move a press, and reattaching is typically not hard. I would be hesitant to pay that much for press that needs to be shipped. I am not very familiar with the craftsman model. But I know that larger c&p new styles are somewhat common and in my opinion safe with or with out the motor if you use common sense and care.

A treadle (which I would like to have in addition to my motor) just cause sometimes you want to go slow is in theory safer because if you don’t pump the pedal it wont keep going..

I can’t imagine that in CA that you can’t find a press for a good deal?? Most of the letterpress stuff seems to be either there or way back east! (trying finding things in Idaho — not so easy, I look all the time..)

judging from majority, i guess i’ll be waiting and looking for a bit longer to find the right press for the right price…i’d like one by autumn though =( …i have some time off before I begin my senior year at U.C.
how did everyone begin their craft? does everyone start with classes? or are there a lot of D.I.Y’ers? or mixed?what if I just get all the texts?
there are two main class offerings here in southern cali this summer…one is for a weekend Sat/Sun 7 hr days…
and one is for 4 saturdays for 2 hrs each day…
the 4 saturdays are cheaper…its $120…the weekend class is like $320.theyre both taught by m.f.a’s…do you guys think I should take the weekend class Sat/Sun from 10-5 compacted…or the 4 saturdays for 2 hours each? the 4 saturdays are like half the time…would that be enough time to cover basics?
thx guru’s!

Miss Prosody,
One can learn all the ways you have mentioned. Probably none of us knows the current content of the classes or the capabilities of the instructors. You seem eager to print. Even to the point of considering purchase of a press. I admire enthusiasm, but urge that you develop a plan and proceed logically. One could buy a plane before learning to fly, but learning first seems more logical.
I am biased because I am an old printer. I think you might learn from an old printer. Find one. Tell him you want to learn the craft and will sweep floors for the opportunity to learn. Many of the old guys will be happy to have you. If you really get lucky and bring the old boy some cookies, he might sell you his press for a good price and throw a lot of stuff in free.
Just find the right old printer.

thx for the advice inky!=) i’ll be looking for a wise local guru for some guidance..sounds ideal! luckily, everyone here on briar press is so knowledgeable, its helping me plan my next move!
i’ll be looking for a bit longer on buying the press but some have also suggested its not a bad idea to sort of have one to tinker with and figure out on a trial and error manner of learning…I’m not so sure how many letterpress mentors are here in southern california…i see them in northern cali a lot..san fran/portland/seattle and on the east coast but Los angeles is better known for its VIP parties than letterpress =( but I’ll be keeping my eyes open!

Go to the International Museum of Printing in Carson as John Horn says. It’s a grand place and you’ll meet a bunch of printers, old and young and they’ll let you play with a variety of equipment. I wish I were close enough to visit regularly.

thx Arie! thats the second time Ive heard of that Its a MUST!
haha, maybe all the main guru’s on this forum should join together and make a new textbook, Letterpress for the Modern Age! =)thx everyone!

The Armory in Pasadena is a good place to get your feet wet. They have both a C&P and a Vandercook for use by students, whereas I believe the Art Center only has Vandercooks.

I would seriously recommend trying out the C&P before buying one. It’s a scary beast that has taken the hand of more than one experienced printer. Just search the archives of Briarpress for some stories.

BTW, my friend recently bought an 8x12 for $200 and was offered a 10x15 for $350, so when offered the same presses for over 3-4 times the cost, please be wary.

top001 @ Joie studio you read my mind! I just found the Armory classes in pasadena the other night and chose to attend the classes offered there this summer! and knowing now the actual reasonable range gives me better dealing leverage…
and thx to everyone for helping me keep my hands! = X
i’ll be taking it much more carefully…
oh & top001 @ Joie? I peeked at your new wedding invitations on wood! theyre so sweet!