Moving a 12x18 New Series C&P

Hello! I have a couple of days to decide whether or not I’ll be making my first letterpress purchase. Well, my heart’s already decided, to be honest. So, actually, I have a few days to figure out how this is all going to work out logistically. I’ve been told the press, a 12x18 Chandler & Price New Style/Series, will be sold for scrap if it’s not rescued, so of course, I’m going to rescue it!

Anyway, I’ll be moving it into a friend’s walk-in basement. There will be 3-4 stairs UP instead of down into the basement from the back entrance of their historical home. I do have some time to find another location (a friend’s garage, for example), if it’s a safer idea.

I’ve searched the forums and read everyone’s different experiences moving their presses. There have been some really, really great examples. I’ll be looking back through this forum and making a list of everything I’ll need. I have until next Friday to move the press. Anyone in Central Virginia (I live in Lynchburg and the press is in Coeburn … about 4-4.5 hours away) with some tips or supply list or equipment rental company suggestions for the process?

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What is the path like from where the press is now to where you can load it? If all level and paved, I would suggest a hydraulic floor crane to pick it up, rent a set of equipment moving roller casters, and use the crane to also load it into a flat bed trailer, then reverse the process to get it parked where you want it. That press is pretty heavy (I’m not sure but I think around 1500 lbs), so you need to be very careful. Lifting it from above with tow chain is much safer than trying to jack it up from below.


I’d suggest finding a garage if that’s possible or likely. I don’t know your long term plans for this press, but if you move it up three stairs you’ll eventually have to move it down those stairs. Garages are generally a good solution—even if for the short term.

A NS 12x18 will weight over 2000lbs depending on the equipment. Motor and mount will add even more weight.

Hope this helps.

Can you get the truck or trailer up to the door of the walkout basement. I strongly prefer low trailers for moving presses. Then the bed of said truck or trailer might be about level with the press’ new home. Put the whole thing on a pallet jack and it should be relatively easy. Providing it fits through the door without disassembly.

These presses are a bit top heavy so watch your balance.

Search the archives for more tips and recommendations.

Hmm. I’ll have to figure out where to rent a floor crane. That’s probably not something I can get at Home Depot’s equipment rental… I’ll have to see if there’s any construction (or auto?) equipment rental places in town or nearby. It sounds like just a pallet jack isn’t necessarily a good idea—I’ll have to mount it on a pallet as opposed to just mounting something for a floor crane to lift it with?

Is there an example of a press being moved with a floor crane here on Briar Press or on the interwebs?

I’m most nervous about making sure the press gets strapped down securely. I know it’s top-heavy and should be in the closed position for transport.

I’m rather confident I can find a garage for the short term. We’re actually in the process of attempting to get approved for a mortgage so we can own our own house, but if that doesn’t work out this year (my first year freelancing as a designer), I know I’ve got some people with garages I can borrow for the long-term as necessary.

My friend’s house with a basement will be tricky to get the truck right up to, so I really don’t think it will end up being practical. Thanks for the suggestions … I’ll be looking for a garage before Friday.

Tiffany - The way my friends and I moved my 12x18 NS C&P was to use a forklift to raise the press so we could mount 4x4 skids underside. Next, we lifted the press with the same forklift before loading it across the long side of a double axle flatbed trailer. You may need to move the press over the center of the double axles. Plan to either use the forklift to “nudge” the press skids with a third piece of skid material for side-to-side movement or drag the press with a length of chain (if you have to load it too far up front on the trailer because the trailer wheels may get in the way).

We used two sets of towing chain, minimum, and extra tow straps to reduce movement. Removal involved my homemade press movement kit (four lengths of 1”x42” steel pipe) to slowly move the press near the back end of the trailer for forklift removal.

Thanks for all the suggestions!

Is a forklift easy to find and/or rent? I’ve seen pallet jacks, and I’m still looking up engine hoists/hydraulic lifts to see if they’re available in my area … I think I’m more nervous about finding the best/right equipment than the actual moving process! Ha!

I’ve bookmarked a couple of threads here at Briar Press … does anyone have any good photos or videos of their experiences?

Okay, we’ve decided we’re just going to go for it. It’s a fantastic deal and the drive is only 4 hours.

I have found a walk/drive-in basement at a friend’s house that we can use for indefinite storage. We can drive the trailer around the back yard and ramp it right to the door of the basement. How awesome is that? I’m really excited. I know it’ll need some work, new rollers, and all that. And I will need some lessons…

Anyway …

Can someone please tell me the definite weight of a new series 12x18 C&P? Is it 1500? 1800? 2700lbs? I have seen weights all over the place! We need to rent a trailer and all that other equipment as well as borrow a truck, so knowing the weight is kind of paramount, isn’t it?

Below are two photos from the seller if that helps any.

image: Waiting for me...! :)

Waiting for me...! :)

image: Here it is.

Here it is.

Everyone has their own methods for doing things like this and that’s great. I have been collecting and moving heavy machinery all my life, single-handedly, and since I have a 12 X 18 NS C &P here’s my 2 cent’s worth. Years ago I made an adjustable skid out of 2” X 6” channel iron. I can vary the width by changing bolt holes in the cross pieces and then I just measure the bolt holes, center to center, of the equipment I’m going to put it under and drill and tap new holes to match. However, for your purpose I’d simplify the process. You’ll need to find a steel supplier or someone who will cut you two pieces of 2” X 6” channel iron the length of the base of your press which is 32”. Then you’ll need to beg, borrow or steal an electric drill that has a 1/2” drill capacity and you’ll need a drill bit 9/16” or 5/8” diameter with a shank that will fit the drill chuck. You’ll also need (4) 1/2” X 2” bolts and nuts. Measure the bolt holes center to center lengthwise and lay that dimension out on the channel irons. Drill them out and then you can jack one side of the press up at a time and slide the channel irons underneath. A sledge hammer works nicely to finely position them so the holes line up. I prefer longer skids (channel irons) but this way you can reach under from each end and get the nut on the end of the bolt. Now you have a solid and flat 32” surface to put pipe rolls under and a good place at each of the 4 corners to get a pry bar or jack under. Also, rotate the flywheel so that the platen is closed. This gets the center of gravity closer to the center of the press. Also, take the time to remore the motor and its mounting bracket. You’ll be glad you did. One word of caution: if the trailer you are using has a steel deck, pry up each corner and put a piece of heavy rubber, like and old mud flap, between it and the bed of the trailer before you lash it down. Steel on steel is more slippery than snot on glass.

Well, I only have this week to get stuff together, so I don’t know if building a steel skid is going to happen in 4 days.

So, some questions and concerns my husband has as we tackle figuring out the moving process:

1. Really, how much does this thing weigh? Can I get a number?

2. Will it fit through a regular door? Do I have to take the flywheel off? Would disassembling any of it make it easier to move?

3. Is it hard to get equipment (rollers, chases, etc.) for this machine?

Hello Nifty,

1. 2,500 lbs give or take a few hundred.

2. It will not fit through a regular door. Removing feedboards and inking apparatus and strapping the press closed will make it easier to move, but it’s easier to break open and re-frame a doorway than to disassemble one of these.

3. Nope.


Haha. Wow. Okay. Fun times.

I’m actually asking the seller to send me the serial number because I’m beginning to think (maybe hope?) it’s a 10x15 instead of a 12x18. I don’t know if we’re ready for a 12x18 (but I sure am ready to go for it if we have to).

Since I’m borrowing storage from my landlord/pastor at his own house, I don’t think we’ll be ripping any doors from their frames. There is room in their garage if the basement doesn’t work out, however, so I’m a little relieved.

I’ve been looking at trucks … is a Uhaul 5x9 truck really big enough for a 2500lb 12x18? It seems like the weight limit isn’t enough, like I would need the 6x12 instead. Or a covered cargo truck instead.

From what I’ve gleaned in these forums and the various links is that it is very important to mount the press on 4x4s (or 4x6s?) before we do anything else. And have those steel rods for rolling. It looks like a come-along for moving the press up and down the truck ramp is a good idea.

Anyway, I’ll post again once I get the serial number.

I’m so thankful for all your help! Thanks, everyone.

The U-haul truck is big enough but there are no tie down points inside the U-haul that are strong enough to hold either a 10x15 or 12x18 C&P.

Rent a trailer instead. Buy a number of straps.

You really don’t want 2500 lbs of cast iron running around loose in the back of a flimsy U-haul. Especially in an emergency situation such as having to stop quickly to avoid an accident or deer. At the very least the press will get damaged.

Also the vertical distance you need to move the press is a lot less with a trailer.

I use 2x6s for skids on the larger presses.

Cast Iron water pipes cut into 3 or 4 foot sections work fine for rolling. Solid steel rods are not necessary.

When I moved my 12 x 18, I hired a tow truck driver with a car hauler. It was ground floor (garage) to ground floor (garage). The press is on skids and the driver simply lowered his ramp and pulled the press up with his wench by dragging it. When the press was completely on the ramp, he leveled the ramp and further dragged it into place. It was then secured (and strapped in the closed position, like ‘on impression’…VERY IMPORTANT) and moved 20 miles. It was similarly lowered down off the truck with the ramp and wench (gravity helped there) and situated on three pipes to be maneuvered into place into my garage.
I offered the guy $200 bucks for the move, and he thought it was good money and it was worth it to me.
That Easy!
Your mileage (and logistics) may vary.
2500 lbs for a 12 x18 give or take. A 10x15 is naturally less. Around 1500lbs…. IIRC
I recommend 2x4’s or 2x6’s instead of a 4x4…that would seem to be too high up for me.

[edit] I forgot to mention that a 23” C&P paper cutter also came along for the ride….but I forget the logistics there, whether it was on the truck first or last. It seems like it was up front and secured first, but I’m not sure.


Thanks for the tow truck suggestion. The trip is about a 4+ hour drive, so I don’t know how that would work out. I think I’ll check around, though, as that doesn’t sound like too bad of an option to have in my pocket, either.

I didn’t think a U-Haul covered truck had enough tie-downs inside. It just didn’t seem safe enough. I guess the larger trailer it is, then, if we go that route.

The subject of weights came up on SFLetterpress a couple weeks ago, and of course I can’t find the post now, but I think C&P said a n/s 12x18 is around 2200+ lbs. crated for shipping. Easy thing to remember: for o/s basic press (no motor) (n/s, motor, etc may add a few hundred lbs.):
8x12 about 1,000 lbs.
10x15 about 1,500 lbs.
12x18 about 2,000 lbs.
14x22.5 about 2,500 lbs.

I agree that mounting on 4x4s or 4x6s would be the first thing, if it’s not already on something like that. Bevel the underside of the leading & trailing edges to make it easier to get rollers (old pipe will work fine) underneath. On skids, with rollers, it’s actually pretty easy to move.

And see if you can possibly rent a hydraulic drop trailer. It will cost a little more than a regular trailer but makes loading really, really easy; drop the trailer bed down, roll the press on (well, you may have to use a bar or come-along as it will be a gentle uphill slope), tie it down, raise trailer for the road. Saves the whole hassle of trying to get the press up on a trailer or truck bed; you lower the trailer bed to the press (ground level) instead.

I’ve posted the weights and dimensions of C&P presses as listed in the 1912 ATF catalog here:

Also, while an 8x12 C&P, here are moving pictures shown how it was done, which may be relevant:



About how many and what kind of straps to secure it to the truck are needed?

4 straps, one for each corner. Given the weight, chains might be better; you tighten chains with a chain binder. They are used to tie down cars on flat-bed tow trucks and are often available from moving companies. If chain binders are not available, make sure the straps are approved for more than the press weight. You never know when you’ll have to change lanes fast due to some other driver, and risk the press breaking loose from the straps in the trailer and toppling out.

Relative to the trailer’s orientation: we fed one length of chain from the northwest corner of the trailer, through the press and down to the southwest corner, with the chain binder accessible on one of the slopes. We then fed another length of chain from the southeast corner through the press and down to the northeast corner, with a second chain binder accessible on one of the slopes.

We used tie-down straps to reduce lateral side-to-side movement by placing one strap on each side of the press. We avoided using one strap for the whole press.

I also want to echo David’s comment above: make sure the clamshell is closed. You may want to feed an additional strap to ensure this linkage cannot vibrate open in transit. Good luck!

Is there a photo or series of photos of the block & rod system of lifting a press? I understand it in theory, but I’m definitely a visual learner and would like to see some examples.

We just moved a C&P Old Style 10x15 (1907) with nothing more than 2 men, 1 come along, 2 50’ towing straps and a Uhaul utility trailer and the Jeep.

Things we learned, have more than 2 people. It took us 3.25 hours to move the press 20’ and onto the trailer. Then it took a call to another friend of mine to get it off of the trailer (we had a loading bay and ramp) and into place. If I was going to move it again, I would probably use industrial dollies and hire someone else to deal with it.
This was the heaviest thing we had to move unless you count all of the type combined.

Oh, BTW, Hello everyone! New user and very excited to be here!

Well, according to the serial number, C71805, the press is actually a NS 10x15 instead of 12x18. That shaves a fair number of pounds off the weight, and still leaves me plenty of space to print with. I’m still quite happy.

We gathered up all our supplies today and will be heading out in the morning tomorrow to pick ‘er up.

I want to say thanks. You all have been awesome. I’ll take lots of photos and be back tomorrow night with how the move went.

:) Yay! Thanks for welcoming me to the letterpress community with your wealth of information!

We made it home safe! Now to move it today into a friend’s basement (or a friend’s warehouse) for storage and cleaning up. I am so excited!