Vandercook Sp-15 vs. C&P

Hello fellow printers!

I currently have a Vandercook SP-15 and love it except for the lack of speed. I am now getting more business (slowly…) and the C & P looks like it would be more productive. Have any of you switched and was it an easy transition?

I had looked at a Windmill…which I really liked…however I’m not quite to that level yet. Do you think a C&P will be the best choice to “upgrade” to as far as production.

Also, how is the learning curve of a C&P??

P.S. Ideas for finding a C&P in California would be appreciated!

Happy printing!

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Platen (C&P) presses definitely have a steeper learning curve than cylinder (Vandercook) proof presses. An automated feed platen (Windmill) has a steeper curve yet. Just locking up a form in a chase is challenging to some folks…

Costs vary too - C&Ps usually start around $800, Windmills around $2000 and up. Maintenance differs too.

Find a book on Platen press operation if you can, and buy it. Read it, and get some one-on-one instruction before you buy anything.


Bill Whitley
Pandemonium Press
Fort Collins CO


Would you have any ideas where to go looking for a C&P??


If you print primarily from photopolymer plates, there is an even steeper learning curve on a C&P. Roller settings are different from those used for metal type, much lighter, and to very narrow tolerances.
There was a handfed Kluge on SF craiglist a couple weeks ago, about $1000. A bargain, considering the rarity of the handfed version, and the fact that tabletop platens on craigslist are being offered for higher prices.

In California, start with The Museum in Carson, and Hicks Brothers in Fremont. Also check with the Book Arts center, and start networking. Word of mouth is the best way to find stuff.

Thank you all for your advice!!


Would it be possible for you to keep both? They each have such different strengths.

This is what Alyssa from Carson says:

“I’m pretty sure we have some C&Ps, we definitely have a few 10 x 15s available as well as some 8 x 12s. We are asking $2500 - $3000 for them.


Where are you located…and in what shape are the presses??

I really want to keep the Vandercook…it was is going to help me pay for the C&P! I had no idea they had gone up in price so much. You are right they both have different strengths….what to do…what to do??



Hi, sorry, that was a quote from Alyssa at the museum of carson. They’re located in Los Angeles. Thanks!