Buying an Adana 8x5

Hello! I have the opportunity to purchase an Adana 8x5. I’m totally new to letterpress and would like some help gauging the condition of the press, and the things I should look out for if I were to go down to check the machine in real life.

Also, any guides to learning all about letterpress/specifically Adana would be great. Setting up of the machine, common problems & troubleshooting, ppp plates, learning curve, etc…

Thank you so much!

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looks to be in good shape and complete other than no rollers are shown. they came with a pretty good book on operating you can probably find on sight here. everyone I know that has one likes it. I would say they are not as strong as are American presses. I don’t know what parts are known to break on them. after a few times using it you will be a pro.

@toddspresstime thanks for your input! Rollers are widely available so not an issue there. I will try to get my hands on a copy of that book!

Regarding the “not as strong as are American presses”, are you comparing across tabletop presses? I’m limited to the smaller tabletop presses due to space constraints and Adana and Kelsey were the most recommended/popular brands I’ve seen around. What machines would you personally recommend if not the Adana?

Taffies…. either the Kelsey or Adana will serve you well. Functionally they are very similar.

A few years (ok…. quite a few years) ago I did a study of impression pressure required to print well, and in one instance even stressed a Kelsey beyond it’s breaking point. My conclusion was that both the Adana and the Kelsey are more than strong enough to print well and last a long, long time. You are far more likely to break one by packing it poorly for shipping than you ever will by using it. The results of that testing is here on Briar Press somewhere, if you want to look it up.

Deciding on which one to buy is almost a no-brainer: Get the one you like. As long as you don’t abuse them, either one should last years and years.

I’ve had my current one for about 40 years, still runs a treat.
Your photo shows a later model, one that can easily take the rider roller attachment, a less well known supplementary
bit, which I dearly wish my one was suited for. Messrs Caslon at St Albans can still sell you such or so I believe.
The inking power is the weakest point of the otherwise excellent machine and many other such presses Mind you a few lines of copperplate script not necessary, but a small lino-cut would be otherwise.

@winking cat press Thank you for the feedback! My concern when it comes to strength is getting impressions from the Adana… I know tabletop presses are not meant for making heavy impressions, but I’ve got a severe space constraint working out of my tiny apartment.

@harrildplaten I’d have to look up what rider roller attachments are! Unfortunately I’m halfway across the world so many of the recommended shops listed are not available to me (or shipping is wayyy too expensive).

If you’re thinking of making a solid deboss with an 8x5 you might want to manage your expectations a little. They’ll deboss ok with an amount of thin/light type but it you want several lines of a solid/black font you might be pushing the press a little. TPT comment about “American” presses is just that they tend to be made of cast iron and not aluminium, so everything is heavier and so you might get a marginally better impression from them. Otherwise you really need a big platen or a proof press.

‘Debossed’ print might have got you the sack in my day. Such a pull would have got the comment ”printing for the blind mate?”, besides - think what it does to type, and indeed some kinds of block material, even with the soggiest of stock. I’m sorry if this seems an old fashioned view, but maybe its just that I’m very old!. sigh! What happens if you get a straight repeat order the following year, don’t you have the concept of ‘standing type’? - its often how we managed to make a rare profit. Oh and another thing, re: ‘fonts’ of type, surely fonts are for christenings, please, please, its ‘founts’ - that nonsense is all Adobes fault way back, but I’m still fighting. Rant over.