Vander-curious !

Hi all,

I am keen to start creating A4 size-upward posters, so my trusty Adana Eight-Five will not be up to task. I have been considering a more basic Vandercook 3, 4 or SP15 for this task. However before rushing in to source the first make of proofing press that springs to mind, I’d like to explore any alternative makes that are out there, and importantly, not too difficult to find within the UK.

I’m really after something that is as lightweight (for want of a better word !) and as straightforward to use as possible. My garage has a good depth concrete floor, But I do not want to fill it with a huge motorised Universal III and risk my marriage !

Any advice would be much appreciated.


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Don’t know what brands may be available in the UK, but one of the many different sign presses (morgan lino-o-scribe, etc) rigged up with a tympan and frisket might work for you. Or the equivalent of a Vandercook #1. Most of these are not self inking so you’d need a brayer.

Hi Arie,

Thanks for the info. I would ideally like a self-inking set-up, but not necessarily motorised. Are the more basic Vandercooks easy to come across in the US, what sort of price tag would they command (in working order) ?




Not exactly easy or cheap. They show up on eBay once in a while. I’ve seen more pass through the Briar Press classifieds than anywhere else, but also has a classified section.

I’ve been very fortunate. I got a Vandercook 325A for free because it was in the way of a retail store and it was difficult to remove and I was nearby. I donated that to the local University because it was too big to fit in my shop. I bought a Vandercook #1 from the same University’s surplus operation for about $200 (before I donated the 325A). And I got a Vandercook #0 from the same store as the 325A but years later, again for free. I sold that one this past year and got $300 for it. A larger Morgan sign press also passed through my shop and I sold that for a friend at $300.

Easiest way I’ve found to find presses is to hang around other printers and keep tabs on the email lists and websites related to printing and tell everyone I know about my interest in printing, repeatedly. Stuff turns up in the oddest places and contexts.

Take your wife along on visits to other printers and make sure she sees the printshop. She’ll realize you’re only obsessed in a minor way compared to many of them and then if you run into that Universal III, just move it in.

Ian - Vandercooks are pretty rare in the UK, about 15 exist on the Vandercook census – they do exist but they don’t come up for sale very often. There are UK equivalents, for example the Farley; and European equivalents like FAG, Asbern etc. Again, look on the vandercookpress site for more info.

I get the feeling the UK has shed most of its letterpress capacity - I’ve looked on the web at second-hand print dealers and most of them seem to deal in litho. You could try this site however:

There’s always a heidleberg of course…

Arie, John,

Many thanks for the info and advice. It looks like a case of raising a couple of ads and waiting … I’ve recently joined the BPS, so will exploit that avenue as well.


My wife (like myself) likes the work of Amos Paul Kennedy Jr (proceed and be bold film). So I could always tell her that I must have a Universal III (like he does) to create that sort of work !