should the floor be reinforced?

I’m the VERY proud new owner of a new style 8x12 C&P. I’ve read that uncrated, it weighs 1050lbs. I’m wondering if any of you have reinforced your floors to hold the weight of similar printing presses.

My studio is located in the addition of our home. I’m not sure the joist size or spacing, but most likely it’s a typical wood structure with joists hung 16” on center. I’m assuming 1 layer of a plywood subfloor, but can’t be sure without tearing it up to take a look.

Should I shore up the floor where the press will eventually sit? And does anyone have experience moving it through a standard door width of 32” from jamb to jamb? wondering if I’ll need to expand/remove the jambs in order to get the press inside…

any insight is MUCH appreciated!

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I would definitely shore up the floor, not only because of the weight, but the fact that there will be some vibration. Metal support beams are available at your local lumber store.
Take into consideration all the other things that you will need, Cutter, cabinets, any lead type. May want to reinforce more than originally stated.

I would measure the width of your press. Measure it’s path, remove anything you don’t want damaged or that is in the way.

I also set lines of type on a Ludlow for people.

An 8x12 should theoretically fit in a standard doorway, just barely, but in the real world, this isn’t always the case. In my case, the drive pulley shaft of my 8x12 NS is about 2 inches longer than strictly necessary (I would’ve assumed the machine was originally set up for line shaft power with an idler pulley except it was built in 1952). This extra shaft length made my press about an inch and a half too wide for a standard door. I wound up turning the single door of my shed into a double door. When in doubt, measure everything!

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

The press will fit through a 32” doorway without removing anything other than the feed table(s). Once they are out of the way, the press is easily ‘walked’ through the opening; think moving a sofa. :o)

As to the weight question, well, building codes generally call for minimum 2x10” floor joists. Simply measure their size, and then imagine a couch, chair, television set, and six people sitting around the set. Floor bouncy? Reenforce. If not, simply place your press on a 1”x5’ piece of plywood. That will evenly distribute the weight. Plus keep the floor clean. :o)

“Walking” a platen press is one of the most frightening mental images I’ve had in quite some time. A couch is naturally stable, weighs at most a couple of hundred pounds and is mostly upholstery on the outside. A C&P 8x12 weighs nearly 1100 pounds sans motor (more like 1200 with one), is extremely top-heavy and prone to tipping if off-balance and very, very solid. It will punch holes in walls or floors (or for that matter people) like an icepick through paper. This is not something you half-ass when moving or people could be very seriously injured. There’s a reason people hire riggers to move things like presses.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

“Walking” a platen press is one of the most frightening mental images I’ve had in quite some time. A couch is naturally stable, weighs at most a couple of hundred pounds and is mostly upholstery on the outside. A C&P 8x12 weighs nearly 1100 pounds sans motor (more like 1200 with one), is extremely top-heavy and prone to tipping if off-balance and very, very solid. It will punch holes in walls or floors (or for that matter people) like an icepick through paper. This is not something you half-ass when moving or people could be very seriously injured. There’s a reason people hire riggers to move things like presses.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

The most ‘frightening image’ I’ve had for some time is the timidity shown by those hesitant to do things for themselves. Might break a fingernail? Well, spend a few hundred dollars and pass the responsibility of your press onto someone else. What next? Hire professional cleaners to do the rollers? If you can’t handle something as easy as a press, whatever would you do with a flat tire on a muddy road? Oh, that’s right - hire someone else to get their hands dirty. :o)

Listen to Forme. he is very knowlegeable

dnk2h - Many homes have floor joists with this configuration: 16” centers. What other items do you have on the same floor?

As for the 32” door, perish the thought of tearing out the jambs. That’s extreme. The responsible thing to do is to remove the drive wheel and shaft. I moved a 10x15 Challenge Gordon this past Saturday with a total width of 35” inches with wheel attached. The door width was 32.” Removing the drive wheel and shaft made the rest of the press narrow enough to get through the doorway without resorting to extreme measures.

thank you all for your advice so far. I knew it might be a tight squeeze through the door…we had actually debated whether to change the single door to a double door in the future. but ‘the future’ crept up on us when we had the opportunity to save this press.

j archibald, the addition to the house is a 1 story addition that was likely a closed in porch. Currently it’s my studio that houses a craftsmen tabletop, a couple of desks, and other various office pieces. There’s nothing extremely heavy and the weight is pretty evenly spread out throughout the room. the long term plan for this space would be to add another floor model press and a paper cutter…so we might very well reinforce more than just the space under the c&p so we don’t have to tear up the floor twice.

and great advice on removing the drive wheel—this does make so much more sense that changing the architecture of the house…since I’ve never removed a wheel shaft before, is there anything I should look out for—any special tools I should bring?

I used to also do structural surveys of properties, yes -majorly re-inforce the floor, can treble up joists, another 2 layers 1” marine ply with say a 3/8ths inch aluminium plate between, much more preferably steel joists-what is more important is how your current joists are “fixed” to the structure of the building, do they rest directly on wallplates(how much is the bearing area) ,or resting on brick walls or are for example just sitting in pressed joist hangers that usually are held in place by a couple of nails………..which to my mind would be totally inadequate. In the Uk, we have building regulation control who would be more than happy to advise a property owner, to avoid damage to the building for future owners should you move.

If the room is a closed-in former porch it is even more important to check the structure and reinforce it if necessary. Typically the structure of a porch is not as sturdy as the rest of the house, especially if it was added onto the house at some time after the initial construction. Trust but verify!


Having graduated college for and then working as a structural engineer, my suggestion is to be very thorough and not assume anything—a single point of failure across the structural system can lead to catastrophic results.

Do you have access to the space beneath the former porch? If the room was indeed previously a porch, it may not be likely to have crawl space access let alone a full basement underneath. Without such access it would be very hard to identify the structure which needs to be analyzed and then perform any necessary reinforcement.

When it comes to the structural soundness of the building it is always best to get a licensed engineer to sign off on everything for a couple hundred dollars (the firm I previously worked for would charge roughly $500 to inspect a small structure, analyze it, and provide a simple signed and stamped reinforcement plan if required—in written form, not necessarily complete drawings and such). In the event of a structural failure you may run into insurance problems, depending on your policy, if they find that you were negligent in your use of the premise, thereby refusing to pay for damages to the building, equipment, etc. Not to mention it could be a significant safety risk for yourself and anyone else who may happen to be in the space. Also, make sure that they take into account your plans for additional equipment in the future when you have the structure analyzed. Another thing they should take into consideration is that you are dealing with equipment which has a significant portion of the weight moving back and forth during operation—a more conservative deflection requirement should be used to ensure the equipment itself is kept at a consistent level to ensure proper function and minimal damaging wear as well as to prevent the structure itself from starting to oscillate and bound dangerously.

The space was most likely designed for 40psf live load and 10psf dead load, which is then factored for safety depending on the applicable code. An 1100lb piece of equipment over roughly 9 square feet has you in excess of 120psf, not counting the operator, nor any additional load across the rest of the room’s span now or in the future—which is clearly much higher than it was likely designed for. That said, it isn’t uncommon that the joists used were chosen for some other reason, whether it be standard practice, availability, logistics, etc and that it they could have a good deal of reserve capacity as is, but you can’t in any way count on that without knowing exactly what size the joists are, what they are spaced at, and the length of their span.

Is your press on skids? If you choose to not have the structure looked at professionally, the least you could do is to orient the skids perpendicular to the span of your floor joists in order to distribute the load of the press more evenly over a greater number of joists. Not to mention, you’d be less likely to be standing on the joists seeing the most stress in the unfortunate event of some sort of failure. If such orientation is not possible or if the press is not on skids, additional plywood would indeed help the situation somewhat.

Positioning the press as close as possible to one end of the span or the other would probably also help reduce the required joist size, since bending stress usually controls the size of the member rather than shear forces and having your load in the middle of the span is going to typically create the largest bending moment in a simple structure. Even at the very end of the span, the joists should still be analyzed though, since in a situation like this where the point load is very high the shear condition may begin to govern the member size. The way in which the horizontal member is supported at its end is also important to inspect, as was previously mentioned by someone else.

If the floor does indeed need to be reinforced you are probably going to be left choosing from sistering new joists alongside the existing ones in order to carry the excess load from either end or to reduce the span of the existing joists by installing a bearing wall or girder beneath the existing joists.

Installing additional horizontal members parallel to the existing joists can be pretty easy since there is obviously some sort of bearing structure at either end already, which is likely not as close to its design limits to not allow for the additional load from the press—especially if this porch was indeed a relatively recent structure (not hundreds of years old on rubble walls). The difficulty with sistering the joists like this is if there are existing facilities (such as gas, electric, water, HVAC, communications, etc) installed along, through, or underneath the existing joists, they will unfortunately obstruct the proper installation of these new joists.

The advantage to going with bearing walls or girders perpendicular to the existing joists is that you can more easily avoid the existing facilities which cause problems for the sistered joists. However, the hitch with this course of reinforcement is that it is more likely to require new foundation work to support the new vertical bearing members, which are probably going to be necessary—whether a new bearing wall itself or new columns at either end of a girder.

Again, having a professional, licensed engineer sign off on the structure in writing is the best way to go, a lot of knowledge, work, and responsibility goes into the structural soundness of a building which just isn’t worth cutting corners on.

I once authored a booklet detailing instructions for opening a jar of peaches. It was typeset, printed, then bound. All 10 pages of it. An employee, after reading this worldly tome, also wrote a descript of the same action, to wit: (1)Turn lid counter-clockwise until jar is opened. (2) Eat contents. His instructions easily surpassed mine in sales. And common sense.

The press can be split in half very easily. Remove the connecting rods and lower the back half on to a dolly using a rope wrapped around the big axle to controll the decent or a JackHall, once down on the dolly remove the 1” pin by tapping it out to separate the parts. Re assembly is quite simple. The main component can be moved flywheel first through the doors. Dave