I just rented a small space for my Vandercook #4 press. I’ve never printed on a Vandercook #4 press so I’m wondering if I need to place the press in the space so that all sides of the press have walking/working room around them or is it OK to place the non-handcrank-side, flush up against a wall to save space.

After writing this inquiry it sure seems like a stupid question so please forgive my igorance.



Log in to reply   6 replies so far

If you place the non-operator side of the press against the wall, you won’t be able to do any lubrication, make adjustments, clean it, inspect during troubleshooting, etc.
You should have enough room fit yourself behind the press and use your arms; imagine using a screwdriver or socket wrench and what elbow room is needed for that.

Hi parallel_imp,

Thanks for the info. I’ll make sure I have enough room to maneuver all around the press.



I’ll second that, BOSCO. You need room to stand, bend, and squat all the way around. From the bed end, you’ll need to be checking roller height and eyeballing your paper position. From the feedboard end you’ll need to be checking the motor oil level. And, as Parallel Imp says, from the side opposite the operator you’ll be doing a lot of lubricating every time you use the press. I count 10 oil holes over there.


Hi Barbara,

You’re scaring me…10 oil holes!? I have a lot to learn. I don’t know how I’m going to learn this press if I don’t watch someone with skill operate it first.



Don’t be scared, Bosco! Go visit the Vanderblog website and peruse the archives, especially the posts about the No. 4:

There’s also a Vandercook group on Flickr:

These machines are relatively simple, as machines go. When I got mine, I was able to disassemble a lot of it to deep-clean everything, and I’m no mechanical whiz. It would be great if you could work with someone who’s experienced on the press, but these days the Internet has to serve as the apprentice program for many new printers since there are so few working shops. If there are any universities or art schools near you, you might check to see if they offer a letterpress class, since they’re almost certain to be printing on Vandercooks. Also, there are periodic Vandercook workshops that are well worth a little trip.

It won’t take you long to get to know your press, and you will love it!


Thanks Barbara!