New C&P 12x18 User

Hello - I just acquired a C&P 12x18. I also own a C&P pilot, a Vandercook 4 and a Heidelberg Windmill, so I am not new to letterpress.

However, I do have a few questions about the new 12x18 and am having trouble locating a user manual (I can only find a parts list.) Does anyone out there know of a source to get an instructional manual?

Are there any other C&P owners in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that are experienced on this press and willing to do some weekend tutorials?

Thanks everyone-


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I am doing some research about an Old Style C&P press (12 x 18, I think). I assume that you have just moved this press. Do you happen to know how much it weighs?

Jason, your 12x18 isn’t really that much different from your Pilot - just quite a bit bigger, and with a flywheel! I don’t believe C&P ever made owner’s manuals, but the operation is covered fairly well in some of the books (such as General Printing, or Practice of Printing) and there is some info online (see David Rose’s site, etc.). If you can’t find someone locally to do some training (or even if you can), it might help if you posted specific questions you have.

Kathleen, others will probably have specific info, but a 10x15 o/s C&P is around 1500 lbs, so I think you can figure the 12x18 is around a ton. Mine is a new style, and I haven’t moved it in years, but I seem to recall about 2,000 lbs. for it and the old style can’t be a whole lot lighter.


Kathleen- My press was on a wooden palette, came with a single phase-220 motor (that was probably 100 lbs on it’s own) plus 3 chases, a wooden box with 4 rollers and a small box of bolts/parts. It was completely wrapped in cardboard/shrinkwrap and when it got to the shipping terminal’s weigh station in came in at a whopping 2,900 lbs. So, it’s hard to tell how much the palette and the extra parts added, but if you are shipping a similar method, I’d be prepared for anywhere between 2,500-2,900 pounds. And, be ready for the shipping cost (my came from Virginia to Dallas) b/c it won’t be cheap with fuel costs so high right now. I’d also highly recommend that when you get it to your place you have a small forklift on hand….Good luck…it’s a heavy press!

Hi Dave-

Thanks for the response. I have decided to begin with this press by using a treadle (which I am getting through Hern) and once I am comfortable with the press and get into a rhythm with it I will have it powered up. Don’t want to lose any fingers…

The things right now I cannot figure out are:

1. There are two (2) “in/out” dials. Obviously, one of them controls impression from the back. The other is on the side, by the flywheel and I don’t understand what it’s there to do? It’s rather tight, but what is it controlling?
2. The brake pedal doesn’t budge…it will if you step down (pretty hard) but the brake “pad” that is against the flywheel seems tight (it’s difficult to manually move the flywheel.) How much play/space should there be, and how do I adjust that?
3. It’s VERY hard to get the rollers on (I am trying to “pull” the hydraulic part that comes in/out but it’s nearly impossible. I am used to the way my pilot and Windmill rollers come on/off. Is there a trick?
4. Overall, I think the press needs to be lubricated (the main flywheel, etc.) Other than oiling all the capped oil points and giving the main axel a good greasing, any tips to make the press run smoother (especially once I get the treadle attached?)
5. My counter works, but not when I manually roll the press. Is the mechanism on the counter adjustable (i.e. I should bend it) or will a faster speed while running activate it? Doesn’t seem to get close enough to receive enough pressure to “click” when manually rolling through.

Thanks for your ideas!


According to George Mills’ Platen Press Operation, fig. 102 on p. 54 (available from NA Graphics), the back knob controls pressure on the upper half of the bed, the side knob controls pressure on the lower half of the bed.
Definitely, lubricate the press thoroughly.
There are different kinds of counters and ways to attach them. There should be a way to reposition the counter or its actuating arm so that it does turn over when on impression, but not when off impression.

Kathleen, another web site quotes Briar Press as listing the crated weights of Old Style presses as follows:
8 x 12 - 1250lbs 10 x 15 - 1800lbs 12 x 18 - 2500lbs
My understanding is a bare o/s 8x12 is closer to 800lbs, and a 10x15 around 1500lbs, so I’d guess an old style 12x18, press alone, might be 2,200lbs but not much more, but as Jason points out, extras like a motor and crating will add, if you’re thinking of shipping (I wasn’t, just the press itself).

Jason, I’m guessing your 12x18 is neither an Old Style nor a New Style but the later, considerably heavier Craftsman, is that right? I’m not familiar with them, and my n/s 12x18 is in storage, but I don’t recall any dials on it. Certainly oil up the press, anything that moves or should move. Oil, don’t grease, for now. Flush crud out of bearing surfaces with lots of oil! Oil the brake mechanism, get it moving, and see if there is supposed to be a spring to hold it away from the flywheel. It doesn’t need a lot a clearance between brake pad and flywheel but it shouldn’t touch or drag at all when you’re not using the brake. If you have the usual Redington counter clamped on the arm, you may have to reposition it a bit to make it work but you shouldn’t have to bend anything. Does it make a difference whether it’s on impression or not? Speed shouldn’t affect it.

Are you on the Letpress list? Someone here or there must have experience specific to your 12x18!



It guess it is a Craftsman Style 12x18 (since the plate on the front of the press says “Craftsman”). I am not really sure what the difference between it and a new style is. The brake is definitely rubbing on the flywheel. I will check it all out and see if there might be a spring missing or a way to loosen it up. it’ possible that in transit it got “pressed” or something. Once I have an evening to get it all oiled up I’m hoping it begins to move a lot smoother, and then I can hopefully get a treadle on there. I’ll check out Letpress. I haven’t been on there for a long time…it was a difficult forum to use (or so I thought) the last time I tried it, but I am sure it’s full of useful info and people that can help. Thanks for all of yours!


Are you interested in selling your C&P pilot?

I will second the oil it up. If you can’t pull up or out the roller hooks to put on the rollers, there may be enough dirt and old oil to make them stick. Try pushing from the back where to pin holds the spring with a round piece of wood or the handle end of a screwdriver to loosen them.

The Redington counter I have is mounted so it only advances when impression is on. You don’t want to count each revolution, only impressions. Some C&Ps have a mounting hole on the shaft so the counter has to fit there.

Hope this helps.

I don’t belleve that the Craftsman series of presses are set up to work with a treadle. Check your main flywheel shaft to see if there is a crank throw/offset for a treadle. If the shaft is straight, you will need to motorize the press.

I have manuals for both top and side delivery C&P Craftsman 10x15 and 12x18. I will try to get general instruction posted in the future but for now I can help with specific questions. I have used these presses to kiss cut ,diecut.emboss,foil stamp and print. The important thing to know is how the upper and lower impression adjustment works.Upper IN increases impression at the top and to a lesser degree the bottom.Lower IN increases the impression at the bottom of the press BUT decreases the impression at the top. Best be careful balance your chase load keep it low or central and use underlay/makeready for most adjustments

Check you tube 937die for video footage of manual about impression control(2pages).I did a quick shoot of what I was explaining


I had a C&P 12x18 Craftsman which did have an offset portion of the main shaft, but it was designed to be used with a Kluge feeder, and the crank portion of the shaft was to drive the air pump for the Kluge equipemnt attached.

Your press sounds like it is a newer model than the one I had since it has impression controls of which the original C&P Craftsman presses were not equipped.

I have often regretted the sale of that press. It was a real workhorse.

John Henry