Moving a Vandercook Model 3—tipped on end

We need to move Vandercook Model 3 proofing press weighing 1000 lbs. out of a residence. We can’t use pallet jacks or other industrial devices to move it. We have considered several ways to lift the ends up onto piano dollies.

Has anyone on this list ever tipped one of these presses on its end so another type of dolly might be used? That would be the left end where the feed table, which has been removed, is normally positioned.

I have seen Jules Faye’s posting on moving Vandercooks, any other advice would be welcomed.

Carl Youngmann

Log in to reply   11 replies so far

Is the press at ground level and what type of flooring is the press currently on?

Bear in mind that the base of a Vanderook No. 3 is much lighter than the bed and cylinder. Tipping the press up on end would be unstable and probably dangerous.

The press is at ground level on a carpet on a hardwood floor. We are planning on laying down plywood to protect the floor as we exit the house.

Just out of curiousity, why do you feel you can’t you use a pallet jack? I’ve only moved one Vandercook into a house, but I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without the pallet jack, I don’t think.

But if you have to use piano dollies, use the lowest you can get so you don’t have to lift the press so far, and you can lift it a little at a time, one end then the other, with a decent long prybar for a lever and lots of short 1x and 2x boards, until you can get each end up on a dolly.

I wish that we had maneuvering room to use a pallet jack, but the jacks available in our small town are too wide for the doorways and to long to position behind the press.

You may find a j-bar to be a good idea. It can get under the press and used to get one up on either wood blocks or the dolly. I would suggest having a few people around to keep the press steady while moving it. The jbar is also great if you need to get it out from the wall or out of a corner.

As far as dollies are concerned, I would get the lowest ones possible with enough load capacity.


Hi! I’m a newbie, and only familair with Vandercook 3s from an image search, so please forgive me if what I’m about to suggest is way off. :)

Would it be possible to jack it up a side at a time and place and attach 2x4 “skis” underneath the front and back legs, and then use 1” steel pipes to roll it to the door and out?

Someone shared some cool little Caterpillar type moving dollies, small that you place under each corner, on a thread about moving a big C&P from a mental institution, maybe those would work?

Here are those little caster things. You would likely have to lay down something over the carpet to keep it from getting caught, if the nap is long.

bluetulipdesign got it absolutely right. The simplest thing is put the press on skids (3x4s or 4x4s) and use pipe rollers. Pipe rollers don’t need to go through doorways, you just lift, pull them and place on the other side. Angle them for the turns. Twist the whole press on one for a tight turn. Always keep a control on any slopes, whether comealongs, ropes; even prybars and wedges can be used as brakes.
There is no simpler, safer or cheaper way to move a press.
The problem with piano dollies is if the floor is not absolutely level, the dollies will not follow the press at all times, unless you bolt them in.

Thanks for all of the great advice. First, tipping the press up on end doesn’t seem like a good idea. Second, the pipe roller method has a lot to recommended it—I used to use that to move my C&P OS around. Third, since an extensive amount of cleaning is going to be required, I am going to disassemble the header and possibly the platen from the table base to get more manageable pieces—weight-wise.

I will let you know how things go. And, again thanks for all of the advice, cautions and tips.


I moved a ludlow, vandy, c&p, and a linotype with 3/4” galv. pipes, a pinch bar, and come-a-long over the last couple of weekends. Raise the press and bolt it to 4x6 skids. Here is a link with pics of the vandy and ludlow move
Make sure you strap it down good on the trailer. For the vandy and ludlow move I rented a trailer from Home Depot rated for 2,000 lbs. that has a drop down bed that can be lowered to ground level for loading and raised back up to transport. To move the c&p and the lino, I rented a similar trailer rated for 6,000 lbs from Sunbelt rentals. They have locations throughout the country. Those trailers are slicker than greased owl feathers.