Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • Carrie Ritter
    12 years, 2 months ago

    If you have an opinion, please share.  I need input from professionals.

    I am letterpress printing at home.  I need advice on purchasing a bigger letterpress.

    Choice #1 ? This is what I was looking for when I started looking.

    C&P PROOF PRESS 18×36 

    Original wood storage boxes, original table, includes equip, type, two type trays with quoins, furniture, spacing, etc. – Appears to be a complete ?proof? set, but needs rollers.

    Choice #2

    POCO1 Proof Press ? Professionally restored

    Includes supplies to get started printing, but will not include support table.   Apparently I need to add a tympan and frisket for finer prints, if it is not included in the restoration.


    TWO C&P old style presses

    Treadle converted to electric -treadles and hand cranks included.  

    1)12×18 C&P with 3 frames and 2)10x15C&P – 5 frames.  Some type, other printing/binding Equipment, paper, and misc. supplies are included. ( This group is half the price of either of the flat beds.  My question on these is:

    Can I operate these models in my home or do I need a studio or garage space?

    Is the flat bed worth the premium in pricing? 

    Choice #4

    Wait and see what else turns up?

    I don’t have pictures of the C&P treadle presses yet, but they are on their way.



    kelly mcmahon
    12 years, 2 months ago

    Both the Poco and C&P Proof Presses are hand inked, with no option for paper registration. (You may be able to rig something for the Poco, but it would not be included with the press).

    The C&P platen presses would require a large amount of dedicated floor space (and a sturdy floor at that!), and are wide enough that they would cause some challenges going through household doors. I know of folks who have 10x15s in their homes, so it’s not totally unheard of.

    You don’t say what it is you’re planning on doing with these presses–stationery? invitations? one-of-a-kind prints? That will speak to what kind of press you should invest in next.


    Carrie Ritter
    12 years, 2 months ago

    “There’s nothing about being an artist that is terribly practical.”  -Gail Caduff-Nash

    Thanks for the response!  You helped me to focus on steps forward instead of a hope-filled leap.   

    I have a table book floating through my fingertips and I am compelled to see it printed, before it fades.   I roughed out the plates but need a larger press, thus this discussion.  I apologize for the length of my response, I haven’t found a way to say “Paperwork is my job.” that covers my meaning.  

    I have room and we checked our joists before we moved in because I purchased a few 8′ library cabinets years ago.  I forgot about ink registration, I saw this topic at  I’d like to try both methods in different applications but I doubt I’ll find time. 

     I flourish in the creative process and glow when the sought after result is met or improved upon.  If a request seems impossibly complex for it’s size, that’s the work I enjoy the most.  

    Note cards, stationery, monograms, tags, small prints.  Hand-crafted paper brackets, coins, buttons and weavings based on historical and period designs.    

    Optional finish with hand-stitching using thread or wire, rivets, buttons or snaps – which can be made to match pantone color charts.  Depending on the design, thread or wire can be woven or braided.   Die cuts and letterpress on scrapbook or similar paper for custom orders.  Re-purposed decorations to increase tension and balance.  Most notions and embellishments are optional. 

    Moving to larger prints is another puzzle I would like to try, the change in perspective and placement from very small things.

    My first step forward is the book with plates.  For this I will need a larger press.  Does this help?  

    Thanks again!



    Jessica C. White
    12 years, 2 months ago


    Do you have a community print shop nearby, or do you have the funds to travel to one? I recommend that you take a class where you can try out these presses before you buy one. I teach workshops at Asheville BookWorks where you can print on all of these types of presses, and some flatbed cylinder presses as well. You can get started working on your book idea, and get a better feel for what type of press you specifically want or need before jumping into buying one.


    Carrie Ritter
    12 years, 2 months ago

    I appreciate the offer, it’s a wonderful idea.  I’ve requested information for an intensive week-long workshop a little closer to home, in Pennsylvania.  I’m checking on the other type-setting and letterpress classes I could take over the summer.  I have to work around the kids summer camps…

    I’m reading, researching and learning what I can, but reading isn’t doing.  A book is entirely new processes and I’d rather not work it through three or four times.  I’d save money being taught properly. 

    The Visual Arts Center in Richmond has a limited schedule that conflicts with mine.  VCU offers classes, but It’s pricy and they give priority to Graphic Artists in their program (understandable).  

    I may be able to be a “visiting” student from U of R, I’m going to check.  I don’t know anyone around Asheville but I printed up your information so I can stop by when I’m driving through.  I’ll call ahead.

    I’ve got family to stay with in Myrtle Beach SC,  Atlanta GA, Grand Rapids MI, Denver CO so I’ll try those areas first.  


    Michael Seitz
    12 years, 2 months ago

    Pardon my frumpy production questions but:

    How long are the print runs you intend?

    Big Solids?

    Need to print quickly?

    Have a lot of time to devote to printing?

    Frankly, from a production point of view, I’d certainly recommend the C&P’s, but if you’re biggest run in 30 or so pieces, better to devise a frisket/register system for the Challenge or Poco.  The proof presses also are handy if you are not nimble or comfortable hand feeding a platen (the C&P’s), which has serious negative consequences if your hands get caught in the works.

    I would second the workshop–or at the very least try to visit some of the shops around you and see what they do and how comfortable you would with the equipment you see. 

    Gary Johanson
    12 years ago

    From a “traditional” letterpress point of view, so much depends on what you want to focus on.  Will you be setting traditional metal type, for instance?  If so, a platen press and that poco proofer would be ideal.  Will you be making posters or broadsides?  Cylinder presses, a Challenge Proofer, a Vandercook, wood type, etc., would be ideal.  Wedding announcements using digitally designed plates, polymer or metal?  I’d still go with the platen presses, which were designed for both registration and production.  Remember that a platen press’s effective print area is about 1/3 of the inside chase diametre, or if pushing it, one half.  Thus, pay attention to the chase size of whatever platen you may choose.

    Platen presses do not excel in broad, unbroken areas of colour, a cylinder type press will do much better.  A cylinder press is also safer for deep deboss work, but you can do some debossing with a platen press with proper choice of paper and die size.  Platen press DO excel with ….. letters, yes, and also relief printing that involves line shading, like wood engravings.  Linocuts do well depending on how broad the areas of colour are.

    I do both handset type and metal dies.  Thus, I keep a proofing cylinder press (Showcard) and an 8×12 platen at the home studio, and the 10×15 at another location where my most important piece of equipment also is…….my 30 inch Craftsman paper cutter.  That, next to the press, is the most valuable piece of equipment in my shop.  Without it, I would be dead in the water.


    G. Johanson, Letterpress

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