Do I Need Third Roller for C&P Old Style?

I have a Chandler & Price 10 x 15 Old Style in storage right now awaiting restoration. This is my first platen press, until now I’ve printed only on Vandercooks.

My press has only two rollers. From what I’ve gathered, you can print with either two or three rollers, but it’s preferable to have three.

So my questions are:

Is is true that three rollers are better than two? I’d love to hear your opinions from personal experience.

If so, what parts do I need to attach a third roller (I think I need a set of roller cores and saddles but is there more?)

Where can I find these parts?

I attached the best picture of the rollers I have at the moment.

Thank you in advance for your help.


image: rollers.jpg


Log in to reply   5 replies so far

If you have a small form, which does not require a lot of inking, you may be better off with just two rollers. However, need for inking coverage goes up as the form size increases, especially with solids.

if it is a c&p, there should be a place for the third roller under the two that are in the press. you should only need the roller and trucks for the third one. when i print i only use two rollers most of the time, only when there is a large form will you need three rollers. good luck dick g.


I started in letterpress with the same press…here is briefly what I think…start with what you have for now. If you are not printing large forms or solids, chances are that you can get by with two rollers. The press should have the necessary part to hold the third roller. In printing larger forms or solids, you do need better and additional inking and three is better than two. However it is not good to add
a new roller with two old ones. Also, you will need a set of
two roller trucks for the third roller, not good idea to add a new roller truck to two old ones….they all should be exactly the same in size; same for rollers. Adding new to old is
“looking for possible troubles”. Inking is critical part of letterpress and all settings must be correct etc. Again, start
with what you have if they are decent. New rollers and trucks are available from various sources. Please reply, so I
may send additional info on letterpress items, etc. Good


I agree with Sal, that you should go ahead and set the press up and run it before you invest any more in rollers, trucks, etc. Make certain it runs for you and you “get along well” with it before increasing your investment. Two rollers will work just fine for most type forms, and as others have said, if you get into large solid areas of ink, you may appreciate the extra roller.

Throughout the years, however, I have often replaced only one roller, making certain that that roller is the bottom roller in the set, thus your best roller will be the last one passing the form before printing. I have never thought it entirely necessary to spring for a full set when one is damaged or too old to give good service.

Thank you for your input. I’m happy to hear I wouldn’t need to go searching for saddles and such like I thought I would and also that I can start out with just two. It looks like new roller cores for C & Ps are not too hard to find.

The rollers I have at the moment are not so fresh, the press had been sitting in a basement unused for at least twenty years. I’m going to get them recovered and get new trucks as well.

You’re right, I would be wise to clean the thing up and get it running and make sure everything is ok before getting a third roller.

Thank you.