Is this a wrongheaded purchase?

First, I should tell you that I am something even less than a beginner. I am posting in hope that your collective experience can advise me as to whether or not a *very particular* press is a wise purchase. If you are game, please take a gander at this listing and comment:

Here is the situation: I am hoping to *secretly* buy a Craftsmen or C&P Pilot for my husband. He has long wanted to try his hand at letterpress, and I would like to purchase a good starter press for him. The above mentioned Craftsman on ebay is located within a couple hours of me, which makes it very attractive. Also, it is (currently) almost within my price limit. But, it is also rusty. Further, I don’t trust my own eyes to know if there is something (beyond rollers) missing from this press. I am not afraid of grease and dirt (I restore antique fans for fun), but I am afraid that my limited knowledge of presses will lead me down a road I might regret. Is this too much rust for a beginner to remedy without a sandblaster? Is anything obviously missing? Will I need parts machined? Am I really buying this for myself, and just telling myself that it is for my husband? If you have answers, I would love to hear them.

I have been lurking around Briar Press trying to glean some basic knowledge, but I know there is no substitute for experience. If y’all will lend me a bit of yours in this decision I sure would appreciate it. Many thanks in advance, and much obliged.

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It is a good time to buy a letterpress they do not seem to be selling right now. The Craftsmen are a good press, I sold the same one restored for over 2000.00 this summer. I do not see any brakes or major problems. Rust is going to need some removing plan on some disassembly sanding and some wire wheel to remove and a paint job. Ink disk looks a little ruff maybe a lot ruff once cleansed up and rollers inked up it will be fine for a first press. Needs rollers easy to get missing gripper spring easy to make or just do not use them, they did have a small table on front missing not needed. Looks like a doable restoration project. Price is good most bid on presses the last 10 seconds so you never know what price will be. Good luck.

You won’t need a sandblaster.

Like Toddspresstime says, you can break it down and hit it with a wire wheel and give it a coat of paint. You’ll be left with a beautiful press. If you don’t feel like disassembling the press, I’d advocate a bit of evaporust to soak the inkdisk, and then wrapping the other rusty areas in evaporust-soaked paper-towels (follow the instructions).

There are other methods for rusty parts if you do some searches around the forum, vinegar and lemon-juice is a popular rust-solution for example. Be careful with stuff that might etch the metal, as it could really mess up the ink disk. The rust doesn’t look to bad.

Other than that I’d say it looks like a good buy if you can get it at that price or a few hundred more. Since you can pick up you won’t have to worry about shipping costs/insurance. Then all you need is to contact Toddspresstime and have him sort you out with new rollers, he was a pleasure to deal with the last time I needed a set.

kimaboe and toddspresstime -

Now *that* is the sweet news I was so hoping to hear! Thank you both, kimaboe and toddspresstime, you have been generous with your time and knowledge. I have poked around enough to see the various methods good folks on this forum have to offer to banish rust, so I will start soft and see what is needed. I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a lost cause, especially for a beginner. The ink disk looks so very sad…I was unsure. We’ll see if I manage to win ‘er, in which case I am sure I will be back begging for further guidance.

Again, many thanks for your kind responses. Wish me luck - if I don’t get terribly outbid I will post on my restoration progress.

Much obliged,