Moving a Vandercook

Hi All
I’m in the process of getting a Vandercook 325G and was wondering about the best way to move it. I’ll be hiring someone local to do the move but wanted to make sure about lift points, etc. I’ve attached a picture - can it just be lifted from under the table with blocking and a pallet jack? Any advice or links to others moves would be greatly appreciated.

Paper Stone Printing
Steve Nartowicz
P.O. Box 137
Chesterfield MA 01012

image: vcook1.jpg


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Not too much difference between a 325A and a 325G. Your’s seems to have a gripper pedal that the 325A I collected lacked. I would not put a pallet jack under the shelves in the center of the base and lift with blocking; just doesn’t look strong enough. I had to take the press apart into three main pieces (cylinder carriage, bed, base and a bunch of little stuff) to get it out of a very narrow, confined basement space and staircase (the whole, long story is in the Letpress archive somewhere) .

If you can avoid taking it apart I would heartily recommend leaving it in one piece. I got lucky and nothing was lost or damaged in the disassembly and reassembly

I would lift it onto a very sturdy pallet with a hoist capable of lifting the 2200 or so pounds. I think the straps could go under the bed at either end of the base, but you’ll want to look carefully to see if there’s anything sticking out that could get bent (such as the trip-print mechanism, gripper mechanism, etc). Center the cylinder and fix it into place with straps and/or wedges to keep it from shifting while you are moving the press. Once you have it strapped to a pallet, then the pallet jack will make it easy to move around on a flat surface.

Getting it onto a trailer (much easier and preferred over a truck, even one with a liftgate) is a fairly simple matter of a ramp and come-along and plenty of time to take it slow. Or hire a tilt-bed tow truck and have it placed on your trailer in fairly short order. Reverse the steps at the other end of the journey.

Good luck.

My suggestion would be four 4x8x16 cement blocks, two under each end if they’ll fit (I don’t know how high off the floor the undersides of the bed rails are). Then a 2x8 plank on each end on top of the blocks, a 4x4 timber long enough to span under each end crosswise, and a couple of hydraulic bottle jacks under each end on the cement block stack bearing on the underside of the 4x4s. Pick up one end a couple of inches and put blocks under the feet, then the other end, alternating back and forth until you have it high enough, about 7-8 inches, to fit two 4x4s. Put two long ones under the feet lengthwise of the press and two shorter ones crosswise under the feet under the long ones. I’d bolt them to the press and to each other. Then you can slide a pallet jack under those and move the press.

I had one of these years ago. As I recall it has no holes in the feet/legs in which to bolt any kind of timber. Under the bottom shelf there are two probably 3/4” spacing rods to hold the two uprights of the body together and support the shelf. if you can get a pallet jack and some boards cut to the length of the space between the uprights (to help distribute the weight to the length of the rods), you should be able to pick it up from underneath. Looking at the pictures, it has been lifted from underneath more than once. Make sure you strap the carriage in the center of the press, so the weight is in the middle. Use ratchet straps, nothing else will hold it, and remove the handle rather than taking the chance of breaking it. It should either be held by a screw or a pin (maybe both)


Thank you all for the help. I visited the owner - and my new press - today. The press is in a back room of an old Victorian house (at least it’s on the first floor!) The owner said they used an engine hoist to move it in. They removed the carriage with the hoist, rolled it in with a dolly and went back for the bed. He used the hoist again to put the bed and cabinet on the dolly and wheeled it in. He said we can get it out the same way. I’m setting up a local firm to move it the 20 miles home with his tilt-bed wrecker. I’ll keep everyone posted

Update: The owner just discovered that the engine hoist that he bought 6 years ago is wider than the old one and won’t fit through the door! The moving firm will be there in the morning to assess the situation and decide the best way to get it out. It seems like it’s always an adventure moving press equipment!

You can probably either tilt the hoist to get it through the door on a diagonal (with no load on it of course!) or take it apart and reassemble it once it’s through the door. I can take mine apart in 5 minutes or less.


Thanks Bob,
I’m not sure why, but the owner said that’s not an option. We’ll see how it goes with the movers this morning, hopefully it will be in my shop by this afternoon!

Can anyone tell me what the weight of the bed is on this press? I bought an engine hoist yesterday (2 tons) and want to know how far out I can go with the boom. Also, does anyone know the weight of the carriage? (I’ll be moving the press in 3 pieces) thanks

Best estimate I got when I had move the 325A was that the bed by itself was about 1000 to 1500 lbs. This was of some concern as I had to use an elevator at the destination end that was limited to 1500 lbs. But this was a guess as no one knew the exact weight. Further estimates of the base and the carriage were about 400 and 500 lbs respectively (from memory). I know the carriage was straining the come-along we were using to hoist it off the bed. The engine hoist (2000 lbs capacity) we used in reassembly had no problem with any of the pieces.

Thanks Arie
I’ve heard a few estimates right in that ballpark, I’m thinking the engine hoist I bought along with a pair of heavy duty appliance dollies will be more than adequate. I’ll post pictures after the move - thanks again for all of the responses!

Take photos of the move process. It may help someone in the future.


Vandercook move part 1 - My son, his friend, myself and my new 2 ton engine hoist arrived at the owner’s house at 2 pm. By 2:45 pm we had the carriage outside and started on the bed. We spent the next 2 hours attempting to get the bed out of the room, to no avail. The owner had stated that he had moved it in on his dolly, but we discovered that it was a different dolly than the one he had available, which was woefully inadequate for the 1000 lb. bed. I decided to call the local rental store for a pair of heavy-duty furniture dollies but alas, they closed at 5 and it was now 5:10 pm. We decided to leave the bed where it was, moved out the two legs of the base and called it a day. I will meet the movers there this morning, they will have dollies and extra burly bodies to help move out the bed and get the press to its new home in my shop. Sorry, I didn’t have time to take any pictures, hopefully I will be able to take some of the move today.

Well, she’s finally home in our shop - still in 3 pieces but she’s all ours! I’ll post a description of the move (there were a few hairy moments!) but here’s all the pictures. The pictures uploaded backwards so start with the Kelsey and work back. My biggest suggestion? Don’t disassemble a Vandercook to move it unless you ABSOLUTELY have to! (we had to)

Hey, Steve
I wanted to let you know again how very pleased I am that the “old girl” made it to your shop…could you hear the house heave a sigh of relief when you finally got the “old girl” out? I will miss her hugh body sitting at the back of the room but not that nagging feeling that I should do something with her…always knew that someone would find and use her… A new journey starts…now to fill that space…can’t wait…thanks again and don’t forget to send photo’s as you and the “old girl” move along.


Glad the move went well. Be prepared to place the cylinder back on a few times as you figure out the correct alignment of cylinder and bed. It took us a couple of tries before we got lucky…I forgot to draw a chalk mark on both to “remember” the alignment when we took it off.

Thanks Arie
I’m hoping for the best but expecting it will take a while to get the timing right. Any suggestions on cylinder position when I put it on the bed to get it close?

Finally got the Vandercook back together again, whew! Pictures of the whole move are up on flickr