C&P Old Series gift

Last fall, I was gifted this press. It’s serial number is A164. I have been chipping away at it’s re-assembly and I think I am almost there. The motor has been cleaned and tuned up, Todd @toddspresstime set me up with new rollers and, I think I have everything in the right place. I am very new to this having never operated a letterpress. My questions are these: Does it look like I have everything in the right place? Are there any parts (aside from the chase) missing that I don’t know about? Where does the motor go? I feel like it should be obvious but, I just want to make sure before I order a new belt. I am also in search of an 11x7 chase or the specifics to make one or have one made. Also, looking for suggestions on what to mount it too. I have seen 4x4’s and pallets or do I take the plunge and mount it directly to the concrete floor?! - pro’s & cons?
Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated! I am excited to get this running - I have some fun projects planned!
**Edit: I am having troubles uploading pictures! I will have more in a bit.

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Log in to reply   21 replies so far

Lovely press! Best to put it on wooden skids, 2x6 at least. It will help absorb vibration, and you can move it with a set of pipe rollers. Personally I prefer purpose-built wooden pallets, so I can move equipment with a pallet jack if necessary.

It’s a 7x11 built in 1909, according to this list http://users.bestweb.net/~bpress/manuals/c&p_serial_numbers.pdf
Knowing that, you can look for an original chase, hopefully get one here on BP.
Good luck!

Erin, this press is BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations! Where are you located? I’d strongly recommend finding an experienced teacher to spend a day with you showing the ins and outs. These machines can have a dangerous bite. Keep long hair, sleeves and clothing tucked up securely, NEVER reach in while press is closing. Start with the lightest film of ink until you get an idea of ink volume to color density to amount of image coverage. Make sure your solvent doesn’t leave greasy residue that would interfere with inking. Get a roller gauge or use type in corners of chase to calibrate height of rollers against the type or plate. What kind of work do you want to print? Will you use plates or handset or both? Make sure to also check out the website Letterpress Commons. Welcome to the addictive universe of Letterpress! Happy Printing to you!!

I have had a 7x11 C&P for more than 50 years. Serial Number A18.

Mine is on sturdy 2x4s as a base, that extend to the left side for mounting the Kimball motor.

You can see a photo of the 7x11 at the Presses page on my web site.

Michael Vickey

You seem to be missing the pinion gear.

You seem to be missing the pinion gear.

BillWhitley - good plan! I will put it on a nice beefy pallet so i can move it around with a pallet jack if I need to. bppayne - fingers crossed that I can find an original! That would be awesome. Carriev- I am in Northern Wyoming. Thank you for the advise. I have to admit, I am super intimidated by it. I have a couple of names of people that might be able to help me out - hopefully! The projects I have in mind at the moment are plates but, I do have access to a ton of typeset letters & furniture so, that is a possibility as well. I will head on over to Letterpress Commons for sure! Michael Vickey - Your press is beautiful! Also, your picture answered a few questions for me! Thank you for sharing. John Horn- Pinion gear! Very important. I forgot to put it in the picture. It is super snug so, I was waiting for someone (namely my husband) with a little more experience with gears to put it on. I was afraid of damaging something. I also have the counter that I haven’t re-installed just yet. Thank you all for your comments. Now, off to find that chase! Is it best to post in a different section to see if anyone might have one?

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Making a new post for the chase might be a good idea…
I would check with John at Letterpress Things also.

What a wonderful gift. It takes a good man to care for something like that. I was gifted an old operational sextant once in the original box with tools; I treasure it. Good luck and have fun.

Michael Vickey,
Do you think you might be able to send me a picture and dimensions of your chase? I think we might try and weld one up.

Sent you a reply over on your Classified ad. I probably have one back at my office in NY but currently stuck in PA due to Virus lockdown. Will check when I can return.
Picture with inside and outside dimensions will help with the identification.
Cell 516-633-5107

once the pinion is in, turn it over by hand. look for any binding or serious tight points. That said, the press will, “load up” at certain points. this is normal. listen for banging, scraping, or otherwise bad noises.
MAKE SURE your rollers are seated completely in the saddles.

Good advise, Ericm! We got the pinion gear in this afternoon and mounted the whole shebang onto a sturdy base. Larry, I did get your emails and will send you pictures now. Stay safe and healthy!

For the motor you want it basically lined up with the flywheel, the distance depending on the size of your belt running from the motor around the wheel. I recently had some belt trouble and had to get a new one and noticed that the motor has to be at a very slight angle pulling away from the wheel otherwise the belt will just roll off once it passes a certain speed, since it was a crowned pulley like yours pictured.

The basic dimensions of the standard chase are 7x11 inside, 8.75x12 7/16 outside, thus the 7x11 press size. If the chase is made by C&P it may have the part number 728 stamped on one side. I have one spare chase which has welds on 2 corners so isn’t the best for your purposes. Good luck with your hunt.


I have photographed and measured the chase I have for my C&P 7x11.

Mine has a taper on the upper and lower crosspieces, and 1/8” notches on the lower at the ends.

I hope this helps you get your press in operation.

Michael Vickey

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Thank you guys for the info! I have a couple of possible chases tracked down and, now that I see the pictures (Thank you Michael) and have the dimensions (Thank you, Michael), I think I have someone that could build one for me. Tyler - great tip. We haven’t secured the motor yet so, I will make sure to give it a slight angle. Ericm- gave the flywheel a good spin and it is super smooth! No scary noises at all. I gave her a little wipe down today and found some gold paint - I was pretty excited about that! I thought I would share the last couple of days progress…

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Hopefully you have a very fun new toy there. just remember that these carry a lot of momentum, and a lot of pressure. these presses crush human bones and barely slow down. please be careful.

For any of the inker presses, we would “File Fit” the chases to the press. Thus, it was, usually okaaayyy, to use different chases in different presses, but if you wanted to lift a chase and drop it back in, then the chase for that press was required to insure register.

ericm - agreed. One of the most terrifying ‘toys’ I have ever been around. I have a healthy amount of (fear)respect for it. I will be extra cautious.

Good news: The person that gave me the press was able to locate the chase… and 3 more to go with it!