What does your press sit on?

I was looking to make some new bases for my press’s, was kind of curious of what everyone has there presses siting on? I have very nice 4x4’s I made which are good for transporting but is way to high to print on.

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the floor

If your 4x4s make it too high to print comfortably with, and I assume you don’t want to remove them, simply build a small platform of equal height to stand on in front of your press. That is the most common solution for this problem.


Hello InkandHammer,

I made a platform for my press. I can provide detailed instructions via email (though, with your moniker, I’m guessing that you’re a printer/carpenter?). Then again, my heart does little flip-flops whenever I see this approach from Rich Polinski. :-)


What kind of press are you talking about?

My 10 x 15 C &P OS came in on a skid and remains to (about 5” raise). I built a step box (3” raise) to stand on when working on it. My Windmill sits on a drip tray directly on the floor.

Given the lack of room in my shop, it’s easier to leave the C&P up on the skid, and will make it easier to move or remove later, should the situation require it.

My 8x12 Ben Franklin Gordon sets on the cement floor in the lower level of a tri-level house. Under each leg is a rubber heel, Firestone,* no less, to absorb the shock and noise. The uneven wear this may cause does’t concern me at all.This press survived the first hundred years and should do well for the second hundred years.
*With due apologies to William Bradley!

My 8x12 Ben Franklin Gordon sets on the cement floor in the lower level of a tri-level house. Under each leg is a rubber heel, Firestone,* no less, to absorb the shock and noise. The uneven wear this may cause does’t concern me at all.This press survived the first hundred years and should do well for the second hundred years.
*With due apologies to William Bradley!

My 10x15 CP sits 7 inches high on a custom skid made with 2x6s and 2x4s. Its way too high for my 5’8” self. The guy I scooped it from gave me a platform but I need to raise it by another 2-3” before Im comfortable.

Id love to throw it on the ground or just have it sitting on a couple hardwood 2 bys but I dont have access at my house to get it off the base it sits on today.

My table tops sit on tables, while my floor models sit on the floor.

At the end of the day, your back will say thank you if you stand on an anti-fatigue mat. If a couple of them is not sufficiently high, you can build a platform and top it off with a mat.

dickg - makes sense

The platform may seem to be a good idea, but make certain it is large enough to allow some movement without overstepping the edge. It would not be unthinkable to have an operator who has been concentrating on feeding the press forget about the riser and step off backward or sideways ending in a fall or at least a twisted ankle.

When such platforms are utilized in a production environment, there are generally railings, even if the step up is only a few inches.


\i dont like to run machines that have things under them ,admittedly the heidelberg has to sit on a plate tray to prevent contamination of the floor but i come across more than a few that the base is too far forward and become a trip hazard .
Setting a press up in the air only to have to put a step up to the front of it borders on madness in my mind but i am sure this will draw calls of “had this for twenty years …. never fell in yet ……. all i have to say is YET…..

The proper height of the presses you own depend quite a bit on how tall you are, and the height with which you are comfortable operating them. Most floor-model presses were built for an operator who was 5’ 8” to 5’ 10”. Tabletop presses can obviously set at any height. I am 6’ so I have to raise my floor models about 2”, and my tabletop presses are set on cabinets that are 31”, which seems to be about right. I had a Vandercook SP20 that I raised almost 3” to keep from bending over so much, but even then working on the bed caused back fatigue. I agree with John Henry, platforms can be dangerous if they are too small.


My windmills are flat on the floor, which makes them kind of short. I’m about 5’8” and I still have to stand in a hilarious v-legged position to skip-feed them. I had them on platforms before that, but I was worried about bearing wear from the deflective platform.

Now I have them on the floor without drip trays, and just make a dam of oil absorbent socks around them. Every few weeks I scrape up the residual crud with a putty knife and clean the floor to keep everything looking good.

There is a risk of allowing the hand to get into the press when it is not supposed to if the press is not high enough. The risk is that it may be too easy to bend over the delivery board. The delivery board should strike the printer at about the waist/belly button height. That does not guarantee that the pressman cannot lean in, but it helps.

My first rule for students is to stand erect and not lean in.
The second rule is Do NOT chase the misfeed…

Yeah i’m quite aware that the floor is where they sit guys, thanks. I already have an idea of what I am building was wondering what every one else had. Yes I am a printer/carpenter/metal fabricator, I built those 4x4s for transportation and never intended on printed on them but once I found out that our old shop’s landlord got foreclosed on I left them on and printed because I knew I was moving. How ever the new space we are in now is an older building with only 3/4 pine flooring with no sub floor. So each press is siting on 21/32” ply and will be building a very low sitting metal base that will have fork holes in all directions, I will post photos at some point.

My press is sitting on pieces of 4x4 lumber. On a concrete floor. In a storage unit. Not in my workshop.

I’m not bitter, I promise.

Keelan, your post made me look for the “like” button.


Much of the equipment in my garage shop lives permanently on wooden skids (4x6”, generally, except the Thompsons which are on 4x4s). Generally this works well, but I have discovered one issue. The floor is just an ordinary concrete floor poured (not by me!) without a moisture barrier underneath. We live in a relatively damp place (Wisconsin) and concrete is porous. The wood seems to “wick” moisture up through the concrete - if, say, one of the Linotypes is on skids and they’re directly on the floor, the floor in general may appear to be dry but the area under the skids may be visibly wet when you move the machine.

I have two workarounds for this. First, I always use pressure-treated lumber for skids. (I’ve had to deal with some dangerously rotted skids when rescuing machinery.) Second, underneath each skid I now put a moisture barrier. Lately I’ve been using the 1/8 thick flexible plastic sheeting that they sell at home improvement stores for putting up behind bathroom tiles. It cuts easily with a utility knife.

There is one disadvantage of this, though, that I have not resolved: the machines can, over time, shift position. I have noticed that my1800 pound lathe has shifted about four inches over the last few years. That isn’t a lot, but it’s enough potentially to affect the alignment of a precision machine tool. I do not yet have a solution to this problem. (Well, the solution is to build the floor with a moisture barrier under it. I did that for my newer machine shed, and the problem of moisture under things is greatly reduced.)

Under things such as galley racks, typecase cabinets, etc. I always put a moisture barrier. Too often a cabinet/rack is in fine shape except for a rusted/rotted out bottom.

David M.

two each side stacked bolted 2 by 4s
on a concrete floor

would like it a inch or two higher
its a C and P 10 by new style

Man David that does suck, good ole Wisconsin I guess ha

My 5x8 Kelsey sits on top of the Hamilton type cabinet, while the petite Sigwalt Chicago is bolted to a cove-edged board and moves around.

Like David MacMillan, I live in an extremely damp part of the US, Memphis. What I laughingly call my printshop is, in fact, the converted garage of my house which was built in 1947. The concrete slab floor is old, porous, and now slightly below ground level. Someday, I’ll get around to epoxy-painting the floor to seal it a bit better. Thankfully, there’s a raised slab at the back. My press (and soon David’s Thompson Typecaster) is on that raised slab. More specifically, the press’s feet are screwed to oiled wooden rails about 3 inches tall and the whole shebang is on a galvanized drip pan. The Thompson is also on rails which are currently parked on a pallet since it needs to be moved to it’s final location still. Once on the upper slab it will probably be off the pallet but keep it’s rails.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN.