Which brand?

I am looking for my first press. Do you recommend Adana, Kelsey or Craftsman and why?


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Hi Elaine,
Purchase the biggest one your money and space can afford. The CP Pilots and the Craftsman brands give a great print if you plan on doing anything larger. Most hand presses can only do smaller prints.


Well…..this should start a firestorm! None of the brands you mentioned!

I recommend Golding, Sigwalt, Cook’s Victor, and C&P Pilot for tabletops because they are top quality presses. Kelsey made inexpensive presses designed for boys not printers(with the exception of making the Cook’s Victor for a couple of years after buying them out), the Adana engineering principle is not as good as the brands I mentioned as it is basically a higher quality build Kelsey, and Craftsmen only imitated various manufacturers models but from my experience they are not as good as what they copied.

The higher the quality of the press, the easier it will be to obtain a good result.

Commence firing!


firing first shot!!!!! first, thank you for calling me a boy. I learned on kelseys, I think they are good to learn on, as you know I still use my kelseys. But after someone (John F.) talked me into Goldings I must admit you are right, you can print on most any press but the better quality machine the easier to print on it. ps. Return your calls. Dick.

Ahhhhhh! ya winged me. I want to come up, return your book and see your lino! Very tired of hibernating.


PS I was referring to their ads. “Teach your boys to print”


I think there was a time not too distant when a first press to dabble with could be purchased with pocket change. A Kelsey was a good choice, as one could always progress into something more suitable after the hobby (or business) was discovered to be compatible with the person.

With the cost of small presses now, I would recommend going for something, as John & Dick suggest, a bit more capable. Larger presses (if you have the requisite room) will be much easier to use and get good results. The larger presses cost no more these days, and you will be much happier with the output and your ease of success with them.

John Henry