Beginner’s/Starter’s Kit Help??

Hello, everyone!
I’m a graphic design student and I recently acquired a Kelsey tabletop letterpress from a retired printer that lived next door and knew that I was interested in letterpressing.
Unfortunately, all he had was the press, which from my late night internet browsing, seems complete, but doesn’t have all the gizmos and gadgets needed to print that go along with the press.

He mentioned that I should be looking for: leads, spacing, tampin paper, wooden furniture and type sets (or that’s what I remember..other stuff?). I might want to use a Boxcar base, but I was just wondering if anyone can tell me if someone sells a starter’s kit with all the stuff I need—even the stuff I haven’t thought of?

I have to admit…I don’t know enough to know what I really do and don’t need, and I’m not sure what questions to ask beyond what I already have asked above. Can someone point me to an honest source of information and supplies?

Any help or feedback is appreciated!!!
Thanks so much!

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Alan Runfeldt, who is on the site here, looks to be an expert on Kelseys. Check out his site: He has a lot of stuff for sale including beginner’s kits.

Look in the classifieds on this site for April 5th. There is a starter kit there.

When you get to the first screen in the “Classifieds” section, scroll down to the bottom, and hit the VIEW button at the bottom. That will allow you to see the ads for April 5th easily.

Hey I would contact Andrew Churchman! He’s super.. he helped me both find my press and sells a lot of things needed for the presses!


Ink Slinger-

Gizmos and gadgets are definitely necessary! I agree with the above post, Andrew Churchman is really putting together the best kits for beginners, plus he’s a really good guy. I also got my first press (a refurbished and restored Pilot) from him along with a very comprehensive kit that had everything I needed to get started and more. I’ve noticed others pop up here and there, but his are the best value because he’s been doing them for years and has a ton of experience. I’ve followed up with him several times with questions about printing, my press, and all kinds of stuff and he always makes time for me with just good, honest help from a place of pure knowledge and passion for the trade.

Also, between him and his dad, they have a whole warehouse of letterpress parts and supplies so he can probably find you anything else you need along the way.

I’ll link to the same ad:
His phone # is at the bottom and a contact link also.

Good luck and happy printing!


Ink Slinger,

I would have to completely agree with the above concerning Andrew Churchman. I contacted him concerning a pilot. I knew nothing about letterpress at all and he was kind enough to spend hours on the phone with me educating me about everything. He restored a C&P Pilot for me as well as equipping me with the started kit ( that included absolutely EVERYTHING I needed to get started. I would highly recommend Andrew. I’m actually back in contact with Andrew again concerning another press. He’s my letterpress library and extremely reliable.

I will also add my own agreement to the nice things being said about Andrew Churchman; although we are “competitors” in a sense, we’re really just two guys doing pretty much the same thing - helping new printers get started in this fun craft/trade/hobby.

I’ve known of and dealt with his Dad, Dave Churchman, for many years and consider him to be one of our best resources of uncommon press parts. And, since he rarely answers his own phone, I have had many pleasant conversation with his ever-so-patient wife. ;)

Yes, there’s plenty of room for more than one ‘resource’ to the letterpress community and I think we can all work together to make things easier for the new folks getting into letterpress.

BTW - I’d also like to point out that I recently saw one of Steve Robinson’s Vandercook rebuilds - at the Corcoran School in D.C.

It took my breath away - and “raised the bar”, so to speak on my own work. I’m currently restoring a Vandercook Model 4 for an art center, and, after seeing Steve’s work first hand, I *know* I have to do an even better job on my project - just to keep up with the quality of the work he does and maintain my own reputation.

Ink Slinger and others:

Speaking of “raising the bar” - and started kit options - here’s my own Kelsey “Complete Starter Kit” which I have assembled based upon the “Complete Printing Outfit” that Kelsey describes in their catalog circa 1929…

Creating this “Complete Printing Outfit” was my ultimate goal when I first began supporting new Kelsey users…

Their 1929 advertisement. - sorry that I can’t match their price, but adjusted for inflation, it’s not that far off…