mounting my tabletop press

Hello all,

I recently purchased my first press, a Craftsmen 8x5. It was shipped to me and arrived in great condition, but right now it is mounted to a very thick piece of foam and a sheet of cardboard. Is it essential to mount the press to a tabletop before I try to use it? If so, can I mount it myself, or does the mounting have to be so precisely done that I’d need to seek out a professional?

Thanks for humoring a newbie!

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Mounting will be helpful to keep the press from moving around during printing. You don’t need a professional—all you need is the appropriate lag screws or nuts/bolts.

Hope that helps.


I built a workbench with 3/4 MDO top surface then used lag screws with a rubber washer going against the metal of the press. Nice and sturdy and doesn’t move at all!!

One other suggestion, especially if you don’t want holes in your tabletop, is to mount the press on a piece of 3/4 inch plywood that extends a few inches to the sides and maybe 6 inches to the front — far enough that when you bear down hard on the handle the press doesn’t tip forward. Then get some of the rubber feet with a small nail embedded and put four of them on the underside corners of the plywood. That way you can put the press away when you’re not using it, and move it to other locations easily if you choose. I did this for the presses I used to take to the printing workshops I taught.


Congrats on the new press!

Mounting a tabletop press helps, and I second Bob’s suggestion that it be on a hefty sheet of plywood. You can even coat the plywood with a few layers of shellac first for easy cleanup and for a nice looking surface.

Also, make sure the table you are using is very stable and solid. Cheap or weak set-ups with a heavy press is a recipe for trouble down the road.

Good luck and happy printing!


Mine is mounted to a 1/4” thick sheet of aluminum that my husband made me to cover my wooden tabletop. I used lag bolts and rubber washers (2 locations - between the head of the bolt and the top of the press feet, and between the bottom of the press and the top of the table). It ‘s very sturdy and never moves on me.

Make certain you don’t overtighten the bolts as the cast iron ears on these presses are quite fragile and a bit of uneven surface or a burr of the original casting can cause a break. I’ve not done it myself, but have seen quite a few presses with broken “ears”.

My girlfriend built me a base for my Kelsey 3x5 so I could carry it around to craft fairs. It’s approx. 12x24”, made out of scrap trim stock and some leftover hardwood flooring. I countersunk the bolt heads into the base and it looks and works great!


Okay, so it sounds like its not necessary to mount to a tabletop, but that a solid surface is important. But does anyone know if the somewhat spongy material it is mounted to currently would affect quality of printing, or is it just a matter of the press sliding around a bit while in use? I live in a tiny studio apartment, and mounting it will be a bit of a hassle, but of course I will mount if it is totally necessary.

Thanks for everyone’s input!

I have a few table top presses, when i want to use one i screw it to a bench with sheet rock screws. Don’t have the room to set them all up but i find it better if they are held down rather than not secured to anything. Dick G.

I would not leave it on anything spongy, that sounds like an accident waiting to happen.
Could you possibly mount it on a board that is large enough to clamp down to whatever work surface you use while you print?

I’ve considered the mounting to board option, but I think I found a small table that will work. I wish I had a larger work surface that I could mount a large board to, but I just don’t have the space for that. Thanks all!