Should I purchase this C&P 10x15?

Hello there - looking for some advice from the experts!

I’m a graphic designer who adores and appreciates the quality and uniqueness of letterpress, I’m very interested in purchasing a press but would love any assistance possible in making an informed decision. I’m a complete beginner who’d start from scratch, I have never purchased or used a letterpress, but when I say I love the look and feel of it, I mean it! I would love to have my own local stationery business at some point :)

I’m in no particular rush, and am willing to wait for the right one to come along. I don’t want to be overcharged (this price seems okay), or get myself into something that overly expensive in the end (my worry).

I recently found a C&P 10x15 press for sale for $600.00

Here are specs from the seller:
- 1918 Chandler Price New Style Letterpress Printing Press
- Press has been cleaned & repainted black
- Needs New Rollers, Trucks, Treadle, & New delivery and feed tables, has the bracket to hold the feed table
- Will include several chases

I’m wondering what additional cost all the pieces I would need would come to roughly?
And since these need to be replaced, what condition would you venture to say the press is in? Should I be looking for something else that is more complete or is this okay? I wouldn’t mind slowly replacing the pieces because it not an immediate need for now - but if it makes more sense to buy a press with almost everything already, please let me know.

Many thanks!

image: C&P Press 10x15

C&P Press 10x15

Log in to reply   19 replies so far

I see nothing wrong with the purchase of this press. After you purchase good rollers and other items missing or needing replacing you will be glad you purchased the press. I had one many years ago, it will do a great job.

New rollers and trucks could cost $300-500 total unless you can find a set of used trucks, but rollers will be the big cost. I see no chase — make sure you get at least one, preferably two. Check to be sure the flywheel shaft has a crank in it for the treadle — if not you will either have to get a different shaft or motorize the press, not a good idea for a beginner. I would also see if you can find someone nearby who knows these presses and ask them to check it for worn bearings or any broken and repaired parts that could break again. If the press was used for die-cutting be extra careful to check bearings. $600 is a fair price for a press in good condition — this one needs to be checked.


1. $600 sounds on the high end of reasonable for the apparent condition.

2. New rollers are on the average of $100 each depend on what type roller you purchase. Rubber vs. composition….rubber lasts longer and is more expensive.

3. Has the owner assured you that it can run a treadle? The way to know is if the main shaft is straight or has a crank. If it’s strait you cannot run a treadle, and it would have to be powered with a motor and belt. If there is a pulley on the right side on the end of the main shaft, a motor and belt could be run on that side, which is more desirable. If not, the belt would have to be run on the flywheel, and many of us are forced to do it that way.
Treadles are not super easy to come by, but not impossible. Some have resorted to making them out of wood (a 2x4) with a ‘hinged’ fabricated “hook” rod to attach to the crank.

4. You have the feed table bracket. A new feed table is no problem. Try and find some nice old wood and make one.

5. You say it includes several chases. Very good.

6. Moving it is another consideration. Is it on ground level? Ground level location to ground level destination is the easiest scenario….compared to a basement to basement move.

For $600.00 you should be able to find one that is already equipped with a treadle or a motor and belt. If you are mechanically inclined, or know someone who is, it might not be too bad, but you need to know that you would have to construct a mount for the motor, find a 1/2 to 3/4 hp motor (and switch) with an appropriate pulley and belt. There are automotive style v-belts that could be run, but a 2” wide flat leather belt would be preferable.
Making a treadle would have it’s own challenges, and it would be a good idea to find some one who has already done so. As I said, finding a treadle is not impossible, but might take some searching and inquiry.
The brackets that extend above the ink disc are for an ink fountain, which is not in the pic, and is not necessary for it to operate.

You need to realize that you could be into over $1000 to get it up and running. If you up to the challenges I’ve mentioned, it would be sweet, but I think you can do better if you’re not in a hurry and keep looking.

In spite of everything I’ve said….it’s a nice looking press.

I think it is a little high without everything. I know of a 12 x 18 complete with multiple chases , rollers, motor, kluge feeder in great condition for only $300. Allot depends on the area and where it is located!

Where are you located?

In New England, this would be a very good price.

Hello again - thank you for all the information thus far!

I’m excited to say after feed back, I made an offer on it for $500. He’s accepted, so the idea is that I pick it up on Sunday. I can let you all know how it goes from here on out, I’m sure I’ll be asking many questions over the next months on what to do next.

To answer a few questions/thoughts mentioned.

- Yes to New England, I live in Vermont and the seller is in CT, it’s a short drive compared to those I’ve seen all over the country.

- We have a 3/4 ton truck and trailer, so I’ll be picking it up and according the seller the press is “Skidded and can be loaded onto your truck. We have a pickup high loading dock, so we can help you load to onto flatbed truck, trailer, or 1 ton truck.”

- The owner has assured me I can run a treadle, it has a crank shaft.

- My boyfriend who’ll be going with me is an engineer who loves to get his hands dirty. He fixes our cars, is building our house, and superintendent in heavy civil. I’m hoping its going to give him the leg up here for helping me fix this particular piece of work :) My father is also a finished carpenter and I see him easily constructing the feed tables and the two of them either making the treadle or installing one I purchase. Between the two of them and their individual shops - they have pretty much every tool imaginable for all building trades.

- He said this about die cutting, shaft and bearings: “As far as know it has never been used as a die cutter, or it was never used exclusively as a die cutter, or I would have scraped the machine. Roller bearing are fine, it has a crank shaft.”

This will definitely be a project for me over time, I have no immediate need to have it up and running - beside my own anticipation! I’m comfortable paying piece by piece.

As I said - I’ll keep in touch, and I’ll be looking from more help from this wonderful community!
Thanks so much already.

Sounds like you have more than capable help. $500 sounds really good. When you move it, make sure to securely strap the press in the closed position. A loading dock is of course even better than moving from ground level. An engineer who likes to get his hands dirty? Whodda thunk? You should have no trouble figuring out what to do. Good luck!

Thanks David, you’re comments earlier really helped me along to ask the right questions. I sincerely appreciate the advice.

Vermont, why you aren’t far from Chicopee, MA the home of Letterpress Things, a huge letterpress store, i’m in southeastern massachusetts, if i can help let me know. Dick G.

Have a plan to move the press from the truck bed to the ground. If a ramp is selected be certain that it is adequately supported to handle the live load, at least 1,500 Lbs.

Hey dennis, where’s the 12x18 located and is it still available? because I’d be interested.


Christ a,
Did you buy the press? It looks real good and between your boyfriend and your carpenter dad you will be in real good shape. In my view Briarpress is the best source for letterpress information and discussion.
Someone mentioned John Barrett’s Letterpress Things in Chicopee is a great place to visit and a terrific resource for information and parts. Well worth the visit. Bring you Dad and your boyfriend, you’ll all learn something important to bring back to your new old press. Congratulations!
Steve Varvaro, Southpaw Printers, Scarborough,NY

Personally, I wouldn’t consider doing this by treadle. I would set it up with a motor. Variable speed, if you can.

Hello - I’m happy to report I did indeed purchase the press! It’s very exciting and I’m sure I’ll be back here asking questions as I’m restoring it. The seller offered to deliver it - which I think I’m going to take him up on since it would be much more to drive the diesel truck down. The boyfriend will be bringing a few tools home from work to lower the press to the ground. I’ll be back to post some pictures of it.

I guess I’ll have to make another trip down to Letterpress Things, sounds very interesting!

@Lead Graffiti, I was actually looking for something that wasn’t mechanized because I love the effort put into printing each piece by hand, I spend so much time on the computer designing material that this will be a really nice break and change from sitting :) I’m very much looking forward to offering some sort of boutique stationery. Smallish quantities with my designs for weddings, events and small local stores.

Does anyone have any books they’d recommend for getting familiar with letterpress and or C&P’s?


Christa, Letterpress Things must have books on printing, The Practice of Printing is a very good book. If you would like a lesson or two i would be glad to help you, i have a 10x15 c&p i’ve been printing on for the last 49 years. Good Luck Dick G.

almanac, the press is in Sidney, OH! contact me via e-mail [email protected]

Just an update - I received the press on the flatbed of a truck from CT a little while ago, then had a farmer friend help us out by unloading it with a tractor and tucking it safely away in the barn where we positioned it with a palette jack. We’ve assembled all the missing pieces (rollers, treadle, trucks, etc) and taped up the rails to get the correct roller height, oiled it up and had it running smoothly and beautifully in no time. I’m extremely happy with the press, and so proud of all the effort and time that has gone into purchasing it and restoring it to working order. Thanks everyone so far for your help along the way!

image: inked up

inked up

image: with tractor

with tractor

image: it's here!

it's here!

Nice looking press, if you are going to keep it in an unheated place you should bring your rollers and ink inside, neither like the cold. Dick G.