what model would be best?

I’m in the process of buying a press but can’t decide which model would be the best for my needs. I currently rent a Vandercook sp15 which has been great but I’m not sure if it’s the best for future printing plans.

1. I do a good amount of custom design printing with runs of 100-300.

2. I am starting a retail line of stationery that I want to print myself.

3. The press will be kept at my house & we’ll make any accomodations that need to be made to get the press in, support, etc.

4. I want to teach workshop/classes, and rent the press out

Given that info. what press should I consider? I don’t know too much about any other presses besides the sp15. I’m currently looking into a universal I or III but really I’m not sure what to do. Please help!!!!

I don’t want to end up wishing I purchased a different press!

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Sounds like you have a number of things you want this press to accomplish, and it may be tough to find one press that is great at all of these things.

You talk about increased production, in which case i would reccomend a platen press. A heidelberg windmill is fast and very versatile, but takes more power than the Vandercook, and might not be good for renting out to people, as it requires alot more know how to run. A C&P is a simpler platen choice, and wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, and is still pretty quick, but it is hand fed, so it may be an insurance liability for your guest printers.

Vandercooks are great for classes and general use, but are slow when your production ramps up. And these days they can be pricey (a Uni series in good shape may be $4,000 or more).
I say, platen for production and proof press for fun!
good luck.


The advice from Natron is good for you. I would agree with this person 100%.

My choice for your situation would be a 10x15 C&P platen. Great for teaching, not too dangerous and possibly can be rented out, etc. Not too costly.

If I can help in any way, please email me. Have lots of experience with letterpress.

Good Luck!


Anyone know about the Lutz proof press, 400 series? Is it good for a beginner just getting her feet wet?

I’ll have the press available in two weeks, after total clean-up and reconditioning the rollers. Last offer for press was $3000 FOB
Let me know if interested. Press is in excellent condition and has not been used for 25 years.