Solving the Mysteries of the Basement [closed]

At the risk of getting jumped on by half by members, I am trying to determine if it is worthwhile for my mom to spend time on seeking buyers/museums/etc. for my dad’s print shop or whether we should lug the majority of it to the scrapyard. *ducking quickly to avoid flying type* :-)

Dad was a printer all his life, having worked more than 30 years for a local paper in Nova Scotia. I think the ink had sunk into his pores because after the Record burnt to the ground, he started collecting and setting up his own little shop. Now we have to find a home for it all and we don’t frankly have a clue.

I know there is a little Adana table-top (Eight-five I think, a Westman & Baker press, a Chandler & Price table-top cutter, and a proof press we haven’t managed to dig out yet (we are under construction so Mom can stay in the house). There are over 100 drawers of type (all properly sorted for the most part, including wood type), some very hard-used cabinets, composing sticks, ink rollers, gauges, and too many things to list.

My question is — Is it viable to think there might be a market way out on the East Coast?? I am not there and Mom can’t handle packing, so I guess finding someone to take the whole lot would be best. Is this even feasible?? I would hate to just see it all sit and rust or just fall apart.

Any help or guidance would be appreciated. I do have some (very bad) photos to provide to at least give an idea of what is there, if that would help.

image: Adana.jpg


image: Chandler & Price Cutter - 1.jpg

Chandler & Price Cutter - 1.jpg

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Chandler & Price Cutter - 2.jpg

image: Westman - 1.jpg

Westman - 1.jpg

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Westman - 2.jpg

image: Type Cabinets.jpg

Type Cabinets.jpg

image: Type - 1.jpg

Type - 1.jpg

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Type - 2.jpg

image: Bits - 1.jpg

Bits - 1.jpg

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Bits - 4.jpg

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If memory serves, search for Gaspereau Press on the South Shore. They are a letterpress shop.

Well, from a financial standpoint, you have a fair amount of equity in that print shop. I know that Canada Post has a flat rate box for Ebay users, though I don’t know if it is available to the general public. Also, Don Black ( could potentially be interested, though I don’t know if he would want to drive the 20 hours to your area.

If you can make the trip up there once, you might want to consider offering some of it for sale either here on Briarpress, or on Ebay. A quick look at your listing shows over $1,000 USD (or Canadian, given the weak USD) in just the Adana, composing sticks, gauges and smaller stuff that can be easily moved and shipped.

Best of luck.

Don’t toss it. There are many options. Do a little research, send some emails and be patient. At the very least just to move it and see it go to good use you could offer it for the taking. Free stuff always pulls people out of the woodwork ;)

Yes, “don’t toss it”. Research and pass it on. I guess you can auction it to be picked up or flat rate boxes for small materials. I wish I could go see it, or you would email me pictures (aartium (at) aol (dot) com). I am always interested in type.



Dear Andre,

I just noticed your post of last year called “Solving the Mysteries of the Basement.”

I have a similar situation. (See my post on Briar Press called “Packing up dad’s shop”).

All this stuff has been in the basement for 15 years since dad’s passing. I don’t know what to do with it.

Any suggestions?


Jim Newberry

I’ve collected and given printshops like these two to the local University for a fledgling Book Arts program. They were all given to me, for the same reason: It’s hard to find a home for everything. Kelsey and other tabletop presses command large prices on ebay; some type does, too. But the rest of it is hard to peddle.

If you want it all to be kept together, then your best bet is to give it to a new printer…or sell it really cheap and make sure the buyer knows they have to take it all. Chances are the new printer will trade and/or sell off bits and pieces as they develop as a printer, but likely it will find its way to some other shop.

You could try to find a new Book Arts program or museum to donate it all to, but most of these opportunities are already taken and they are being selective in what they take. And likely it will all sit in some warehouse unused and forgotten. Better to give it to a printer who will use and treasure it.

In my case, the Book Arts program was a good fit, in part because I am actively involved in the program, showing students how to set type and run a press. But they’ve started saying no when I suggest some choice piece of equipment that is now available.

I’ll keep looking for a good home. Below is a list of what I have.
Jim Newberry
Catheys Valley, CA


Miehle vertical V36 press

Monotype keyboard

Monotype caster

2 double type cabinets w/ type

2 single type cabinets w/ type

1 22” single type cabinet w/ type

Leads and slugs, thin spaces

1 Galley cabinet w/ galleys

Dignbats, cuts in cabinet

Davidson 500 offset press

AB Dick 360 offset press

Nuarc plate maker 18 x 25



10 x 15 Chandler and Price platen press

Vandercook proof press

1 double type cabinet w/ type, etc.

Imposing table

Furniture and cabinet

1 Galley cabinet w/ galleys

Paper cutter

Type (composing) sticks

Slug cutter

Rule bevel cutter

Line gauges (pica sticks)

Type saw

Underwood typewriter

Hand platen press

What model Vandercook?

Is the printing equipment all in Nova Scotia?

The equipment is all in central California.

Dear LoganhBrown:

Yes, the equipment is in Nova Scotia. We have now finished with construction on everything we can do inside the house without the printing equipment being gone and are starting the exterior of the house. Accordingly, the press stuff has to go within the next couple of months.

I’m the manager of the Dawson Printshop at NSCAD University in Halifax. Originally located at Dalhousie, we’ve been a teaching letterpress printshop for 30 years and we occasionally make new acquisitions. Though the printshop does not have much to spend, it’s a good cause that would ensure your father’s equipment be used to promote traditional printing and book arts to a new generation.
I am also assembling a personal collection and may be able to buy from you as an individual.
If you’re interested, please email Vincent at [email protected]. Hope to hear from you!

To all who have posted for sale or wanted ads in this Discussion forum: I’ve closed commenting on this post because Discussion is intended for the free exchange of ideas and not for advertising. For-sale and want ads should be posted in the Classifieds section, as indicated on the ‘create a new discussion topic’ form.