Can you use a platen press for woodcuts?


Complete newbie here. Looking for a press for my son to do woodcuts. I have located a Chandler & Price “Oldstyle” platen press, but I am not sure it can also do woodcut prints, as well as letterpress. Can it be used for both?


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It can, but your son wiill either need to have plank wood planed to type height (.918”), or build up standard thickness lumber (.75”) to be type high. A drawback is the dimensional size limitation imposed by the chase (inner dimensions), minus space for lock up materials (furniture and quions).
A better option is to find a cylinder proof press, sign press or such. While these are also usually type-high machines, and will need the above-mentioned adjustments to his wood blocks, they will offer larger printnting areas and sheet sizes. Check google, ebay, craigslist and watch this site to see these come up for sale.

It can, but not nearly as well as some sort of cylinder press (etching press, or proof press) and the size of the image will be farily restricted. Unless your son is truly committed to woodcuts, and/or you have an interest as well, you might consider learning how to do wood cut printing in the Japanese style with a baren:
It’s much less expensive and much lighter.
The downside is that you really can’t print letterpress with a baren.
The reality is that if you want to combine them, you would be well off to do them in seperate runs.

We use ours for normal letterpress, Linocuts mounted type high (.918 or up to about .930), wood engravings and woodcuts. Its a versatile press but the size in area that you can print is limited by the amount of pressure and by rolling power. Ours is a 8x12” press so we find that 5x7” is a comfortable size. It probably could print a bigger area but we don’t push it.

The answer to the original question would seem to be yes!!
But well documented and as implied above, (a) overall impression area within limits, generally regarded as no more than 60/70% of chase size and (b) any thing every thing, to be printed has to be accurately locked up and very close to type high, i.e within the limitations of the impression screws and packing,?? blocks, plates, cuts, inc. wood cuts/lino cuts etc can, within reason, be brought up to approximate height with, either, top end, Printers type high guage OR simple deep throat, brass, aluminium, Even home made wood, guage, = .918 go or no go, before locking up.!!
Here U.K. we make, for the novices, learners, would be L/press Printers, etc simple deep throat 3-4” guages, from reasonable hardwood, but include 1/2” to 3/4” long Nylon slippers at the *tips* (stuck on with either Superglue or D.S.A, that is normally used to stick your P.P. plates, down with, or W.H.Y.) The Nylon jaws protect the image surface but still give fairly accurate starting point,!!
Recap, Yes, proposed M/c. will do the job, BUT obviously, Powerful, Heavy, for a novice/learner, by implication, adequate supervision and safety, must be PARAMOUNT? that flywheel will NOT be stopped, by hand or fingers, etc. especially, with what appears to be a crude home made brake, to the back and under the flywheel. Unless it is an equally crude belt drive system.
As we say here, *Make haste, slowly* the rewards will be terrific.Good Luck. Mick.
**I do have, from the mid 50,s 2/3 scars, with structural modifications to wrists and fingertips, proving that enthusiasm Can & Did over-rule supervision.**
The Clicker, Gaffer, Comp-room foreman, F.O.C. could not watch several apprentices at any one time.