choosing a press

For a beginner who doesn’t want to outgrow the first press I own (but also doesn’t want a floor press over 1000 pounds), what press would you recommend?

If you had an opportunity to choose between a C&P Pilot or a Poco Proof Press which would you choose?

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I would choose a Poco - now what does that tell you - nothing, it’s only what I would choose.

Without knowing what you want to print, it’s impossible to help. Give us a better idea of your plans and I’m, sure we can provide good advice.


The Poco is actually a very good choice for short runs if you equip it right and don’t ask too much of it. I have thought of paring down to just my Poco #0, equipping it with a tympan and frisket, and printing slowly. It weighs a little more than my Golding Official but will print twice as large an area.


Hi Rosie,
If you plan to print short runs - ~100 impressions in a day - the Poco is a great press. I use a Poco #1 and I can tell you: with all the hand inking printing 130 impressions (my longest run) makes for a very long and tiring day. Having a partner in the print shop really helps. If you want to print larger plates or cuts that have large black areas on them, a Poco press beats hell for stout - plenty of impression power. If you print longer runs of stationery items - business cards, invitations, letterheads that combine small amounts of text and small images, a Pilot press would be good. A small floor model press like a Golding Pearl might be even better: a flywheel does a lot of the work for you, but you hve to learn to use it safely. Goldings are kind of rare and hard to come by, but they are out there. I once owned a lovely Golding Pearl, but I realized that I needed a flat bed proof press for my kind of work. I sold off the Pearl and bought my spare and stalwart Poco press which has been great. Good luck finding your perfect press!

I would like the option to print stationery items, but also some larger pieces, like printing a limited run of a calendar for example. What is the largest size that a Pilot can print vs the Poco?

I guess the choice would depend on the kind of printing task. I have briefly used both a Poco and a Pilot. I would choose the Poco because of the broader possibilities with the press.

The smallest Poco (No. 0) has a 12 x 18 bed size (approx printing area). Whereas the Pilot has a 7 x 11 bed size.

By the way, there are 3 sizes of the Poco press (No. 0, 1 and 2). The No. 2 is the largest, with a bed size of 18 x 25. The Poco No. 2 weighs about 400 lbs, while the Poco No. 0 is about 200 lbs.

Preston Briggs has a very cool and informative site dedicated to the Poco press. He has even made his own frisket and tympan set for his Poco:

Hope this helps.

Sounds like people like the Poco. But I’ve been looking around online and the tympan and frisket thing sounds a little complicated.

Pulling nice looking prints gets a heck of a lot more complicated than the tympan and frisket.