C&P 10x15 - Thanks for the Advice!

Okay, It’s come time where I really need some good advice from some experienced letterpress people:

I’ve been looking for a letterpress for several months only to find a very nice looking Candler and Price Oldstyle 10x15 just a few blocks from my house. I’ve inspected this with a flashlight and looks to be a really nice condition. No rust - original paint (I think) and turns / presses very smoothly. It hasn’t been used in 15 years or so. There are a couple quirks about it though:

1. It is missing the treadle (previously hooked to motor)
2. Only comes with one roller
3. Whomever used it last didn’t clean the red ink off the ink plate
4. Moving - this thing is going to be difficult to move up the ramp and out of this shop!

I really need to know if this is worth the purchase. Stupidly, before researching moving costs and a better inspection, I threw out $700. Reasonable price given the unknown variables?

My intensions are to get this press usable soon and start having some fun! Any guidance in this purchase would be much appreciated - including any other variable I should be considering. Thanks!

UPDATE: Purchased and moved thanks to your advice. See below posts.

image: old letterpress_0243.JPG

old letterpress_0243.JPG

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You should go for it. You can hook it up to a motor or purchase a new treadle from Hern Iron Works. The roller is not an issue—you can buy all new rollers from NA Graphics or other reputable dealers. The red ink should come off the disk with either mineral spirits or lacquer thinner. Moving will be the hard part, but you can do it. The press looks good and should serve you for a long time.

What’s that red C-clamp holding? if there is a part missing that it’s substituting for that should be checked.

I’d use paint remover on the ink disc. $.02


Looks like it’s holding the bed and platen together, a solution, but not one I would choose.


The red clamp is just something the owner put on it to keep it from opening and closing… perhaps so somebody doesn’t just walk past it and spin the wheel?

I observed it operating and, in my limited knowledge, it looked and sounded perfect… very quiet.

It looks like there is a variable motor control under the feed table. If the motor is still there, I’d hope the ownver would throw that in.

From the photo, the press seems to be in good order. Moving a few blocks beats shipping across the country.

You paid a fair price, if it is mechanically sound. Ask for as many chases as you can get. Does it have all 6 roller trucks? If not, you may need to get 4 more.

Highly recommend Hern for a treadle - get the hook too. You may need a new pallet for a base, move it outside with a pallet jack and get a towing company to help move it with a flat-bed wrecker.

Nice looking press!

You’re correct jhenry, The press does come with a variable motor control, but no motor or belt.

My next questions is: Does anybody have experience in breaking these down for moving? Is it easy to remove the wheel and other parts to get this thing through a 30 inch door? Would professional moving help be recommended?

How about help with convincing my wife this is a “good buy.” :)

Good info Bill… I believe it does have all 6 roller trucks.

Is it possible to make a good print with one or two rollers?

You can print with one or two rollers, but you’d get the best ink distribution with all three rollers. If you are running only two rollers make sure they are in the double saddle—don’t try running only one roller in the double saddle.

Flywheels can be simple or incredibly difficult to remove. The easiest way is to leave the flywheel on the shaft and remove the pinion gear on the right side of the press. This will allow you to remove the flywheel and shaft in one (heavy) piece. You should be able to get the press through a 30” opening in this fashion.

Where are you located? There may be a fellow printer in your area who’d be willing to help out with the move.

Thanks dicharry. This is very helpful.

I live in Centralia Washington, near Olympia. I know there used to be a letterpress group in Olympia back in the day, so I assume there are some folks around who would be willing to help - I just don’t know who they are.

Does anybody have any good connections in the Olympia or Tacoma area? I would very much appreciate the help.


Try these guys. I am sure they would know someone.



I typically print with just two rollers (in the double saddle) on my 8x12 C&P - but then I usually have small forms which don’t require a lot of ink. 1/3 less wash-up…

I agree that pulling the flywheel on the shaft is the easiest way to remove the flywheel - though if you do, be very careful not to lose any of the bolts - they are a non-standard thread pitch, and would need to be custom made by a machine shop - think in the range of ~$35 each (and don’t even think of re-tapping the cast iron frame to a standard thread pitch).

If I purchase this press (which is likely) I think I’m going to carefully document how I moved this thing - perhaps on a blog devoted to my experience. I’ll try and get some video and good pics of the process. I’m sure it will be helpful for others who need to do something similar.

I can’t wait to get this thing home :)

If anybody in the Seatte / Tacoma / Olympia area wants to come down and give me a hand, I’ll buy you a beer…. or, breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week!

I paid $800 for my C&P 10x15 Oldstyle, which did include a motor, no rollers, but a ton of gauge pins, some furniture, etc. More importantly it included moving, but that turned out to be less than a block in any case.

I have some info about getting my press in place at impresspress.com/journal/2010/3/7/press-move-part-2.html, but I’m not sure how helpful it will be to you, other than I’d say keep the press on the palette to move it across town, but then put it on skids to move around the shop when you get it there.

My other piece of advice is to try to get someone who’s moved heavy equpment before and listen to them… my father came up to help me move the press, but it didn’t go as smooth as I wanted —- my day job is at a pretty big digital print shop, about two years ago we moved the whole shop to our new location. When it came time to move the C&P, my dad wanted to help, but didn’t really respect the fact that I’d moved things a lot bigger than it with just a j-bar and steel pipes. Letting him have his way resulted in a few bumpy moments.

Thanks a lot Matthew… I will heed your advice.

Evan -

I’ve moved a number of C&Ps over the years and in fact will be moving three more 10x15s in coming months. A few years ago, we extracted an 8x12 from a basement & had to tear it down a bit to get it up a long basement stairway.

I photographed most of the move and posted those photos plus added notes to the page at http://www.excelsiorpress.org/photos/2002.0109-Crombie/

I hope you find that page helpful.

BTW - This press now sits happily in its own room at the Alexandria Township Historical Society in NJ.

- Alan


This will, I’m sure, be incredible helpful for the move. Thank you for sharing the link!

Update: I successfully moved the letterpress to my garage yesterday! It took about 4 hours. We took off the flywheel, ink plate, and removed the bed half from the rest of the machine.

The letterpress was well oiled and came apart very easy. The flywheel was a bit tricky, but thanks to Alan’s site (http://www.excelsiorpress.org/photos/2002.0109-Crombie/) we were able to do it.

The saving tool in this operation was a 2 ton engine hoist. I’m not sure how we would have done it without it. I highly recommend anybody undergoing a letterpress move, especially if you have to take it apart, to rent or obtain one.

You can check out some photos I snapped along the way: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157624068260698/

Thank you all for your advice!

Looks like you found a nice press there. I’m curious though, why did you have to take it apart? Would it not fit through the door where it was orignally? I’m not being sarcastic, just curious. Any way, good luck and hope you have many years of fun printing with it.
Winfred Reed
Black Diamond Press


The concrete ramp we had to bring it up was steep and narrow. The letterpress was a bit to wide. Unfortunately I didn’t get any good shots of us bringing the parts up the ramp.

With that said, even if we didn’t have to take it apart, I would definitely do it anyways - especially if the letterpress needs a good cleaning. This letterpress was well oiled and not rusty, and it was very easy to take apart. Having an engine host attached to the parts as we removed them helped a lot as well.

Also, something I didn’t mention above is we used a block and tackle to hoist the parts up the ramp. This works incredibly well. Much quicker than a come-along.

Me and a friend cleaned up the press today. We used acetone to get the old red ink that was left on the ink plate off. Mainly, we used mineral spirits on the press body with a rag. Also used some steel wool on the chrome areas. Turned out really nice! I can’t wait to get this thing back together! You can check out some after cleaning photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/tags/clean/

Quick questions: Does anybody keep their letterpresses in their garage? Is this a bad idea? Can it get to cold to print?

if you don’t have heat your press will rust, your ink don’t like cold either, also rollers don’t do well in cold. my equipment is in a garage that is insulated and has heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, humidity will cause your paper to curl and can swell your rollers. Good Luck Dick G.

I thought I’d give an update to this thread.

I successfully reassembled my letterpress and decided to keep it in my garage. My garage is finished and insulated, so I figure I’ll just heat it when printing in the winter.

Tonight I put some ink on the plate for the first time! I didn’t have any paper, so I just used some construction paper as padding and used a piece of card-stock I found to print on.

Thought I’d share my first ever print on a letterpress :)
( Can anyone ID this font?)

You can view more pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157624068260698/

image: First Print: My name

First Print: My name

Fun posts Evan- I also liked your progress in the phots. Your press looks great! Congrats!

Congratulations Evan!
Looks like your coming along fine. I remember my first C&P. 30+ years ago. I was about 23 or 24 years old. Boy did I spend a lot of time cleaning and re-newing. It’s something you will always remember. If the ink gets in your blood you might walk away for awhile, but you will come back to it. -Trust me. Not just from my experience, but many old printer friends of mine told me also.
Good luck. Don’t get discouraged. Take good care of your equipment. Keep it oiled and clean. Most of all, don’t beat your type and press to death trying to please some with the latest fads that are here today and gone tomorrow.
Winfred Reed
Black Diamond Press

Evan, Your type looks like Cheltenham. Keep on down the printers road. Howard H