Learning to Use C&P

Hello Friends,

I’m about to buy a press - C&P Oldstyle 7x11 and I think I need some supplementary instruction. It has a variable motor and is in working condition.

Before everyone panics and tells me to apprentice - I have - with two top notch printers, but I worked almost exclusively on cylinder presses. I’ve been printing for about three years and don’t need instruction on making photopolymer, setting type, book binding, etc etc. I’ve oiled presses, cleaned presses, and know an acceptable amount about inking, and getting a quality print (I mean proper printing too - a nice light kiss). I’ve worked with a Kelsey, and understand how to lock up type in chases as well as how to use gauge pins.

I just need to learn some of the maintenance and operation adjustments for a C&P. Particularly because it’s the first motorized press I’ve used. I’ve seen them running. I know how dangerous they can be, and to be extra cautious and safe. I want to be well educated and move slowly with my new press. I’d like to learn the parts and know how to fine tune it. It’s an old machine (1899), so the rails will likely need taping. The rollers need recasting as well. It’s dusty, so it needs cleaning too, any C&P specific advice on that would be great too.

Can someone recommend some videos/books/websites for me?

EDIT: How could I forget! I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Log in to reply   3 replies so far

The book Platen Press Operation by George Mills is a good place to start, though it appears the reprint that NA Graphics was selling is now out of stock.

Get a platen leveling gauge from John Falstrom, find and know the oiling holes on your press, and run the press really slow for a while.

Hand feeding on a platen is like jumping rope- watch it go for a while and jump in when you know it’s rhythm.

Keep your back straight when feeding and let the press close out of your reach. No leaning in to the machine. Get very friendly with your throw-off lever.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

I can send you a parts list and oiling diagram.
[email protected]

“Hand feeding on a platen is like jumping rope- watch it go for a while and jump in when you know it’s rhythm.”

Now that’s an interesting way to put it.

Sometimes I just keep my left hand on the throw off lever and feed and unload with my right and print every other revolution. It double inks the form, which is especially good when the ink is getting a little low on the disc. It’s slower that way, but what’s the hurry?

I don’t do that all of the time, but it doesn’t hurt a thing if you monitor your image and don’t always have too much ink on the disc. If I have a long run, yeah, I’ll unload and load every impression most of the time, but you don’t have to.
So yes, the throw off lever is your friend.
Keep the mechanism oiled up good.

And if a sheet drops because you didn’t get it on the gauge pins correctly, don’t reach for it; let it fall and hit the throw off lever.