Height of delivery board backstop

Quick question: I’m refurbishing a C&P 10x15 oldstyle platen press which has a broken wooden backstop. How high off the delivery board should I make the new one? Thanks.

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My C&P’s were converted to hand feed from automatic. What I did was make a backstop low enough so it is impossible for an operator’s fingers to get pinched.

Hi, Take a look at #84 the Lower Feed Table. Assume +-1” for the table, the back stop +- 11/4”? It seems to me the NS presses I operated had a stop about 2” high that still left a lot of space between the push-away bail and canvas, and the top of the stop.
Mike’s advice is good.
The original PDF for the JPG is courtesy of Boxcar Press.

image: CP_PartsList 6.jpg

CP_PartsList 6.jpg

Those are great suggestions, and they tie in with the recent posting on press safety. My concern is for safety and also for ease in removing a printed sheet from the platen. I don’t remember if the backstop is actually higher than the open platen so as not to get fingers smashed, or is it the same height so that you don’t have to lift a printed sheet off the platen and over the backstop before placing on the delivery board (allowing you to “slide” the printed sheet off rather than “lifting” it off.

One thing that would help immensely would be to measure (and post) the height of your backstop (assuming you have a 10x15). Thanks!

For those concerned about catching digits between board and platen, simply replace the stopboard with a rubber or vinyl baseboard trim as found at any hardware outlet. Such trim is often woodgrained thus blending nicely with the table. Of course, paying attention to your feeding/removal practice renders the aforementioned moot.

Armchair, The height of the back board on the 10 x 15 C & P OS I use is 1 5/8 inch above the feed table. This puts it just below the platen when fully open. I hope this helps. Howard H

Yes, thanks Howard and others for your input. I’ve also looked at youtube video of several operating presses (one that showed the “push-away bail and canvas” that Dick Holme writes about) to determine the right height for my needs. I’m gonna go with 1 5/8” or 1 3/4” so that the backboard is level with the platen when fully open.

Forme’s baseboard trim idea might be used as a temporary adaptation if I allow my kids to try out the press from time to time, fully supervised, of course.

Armchair Detective can you remember which YouTube video showed the push-away bail and canvas? I’d really like to see one in action (I’d really like to HAVE one… but so far haven’t found a way to track anything down).

Hello Pepper:

Half an hour of rummaging around on YouTube has yielded a successful result. Here is the address of the video with the push-away bail and canvas:
Hopefully you can view it by clicking on the link. If not, it was titled “antique chandler & price letter press.” I’d never seen or heard of that contraption until I stumbled across it a couple of weeks ago on YouTube. I can see how trade schools might want them to keep novice students from getting their fingers smashed.

Thanks Armchair Detective! That’s the first time I’ve actually seen one of those push-away bails. I think now I want one even more… I’m a novice and horrified at the thought of destroying a hand.

I really appreciate you taking the time to track the video down for me!


While guards are helpful no machine can be operated safely unless the most basic precautions and practices are learned and used. I’m a cabinetmaker by trade and one only has to think about all the guards on power saws alone and the even more stringent standards OSHA requires on these machines and then observe the regularity with which people still saw off their fingers, hands, etc. This happens with novices and with people with years of experience who simply get lax.

I’m a new printer myself and the most helpful exposition on basic safe press operation I’ve read is in the book Elementary Platen Presswork by Ralph W. and Edwin Polk. They devote most of Chapter 7 to very detailed, practical, simple, and well-illustrated ways to safely operate a motorized platen press. If the practices they explain were to be consistently followed, there would be no need for a guard.

Here is one example from the book: “An erect position before the press is the student’s best safety measure, as is further mentioned in section 71. Never assume any other position than with the body erect.” There are a series of photos that show how by following this method you cannot get your hand caught between the platen and the bed.

I don’t mean guards are not good or shouldn’t be used because they can provide an extra margin of safety. But using a guard without knowing the proper and safe ways to operate any machine, ways that obviate the need for a guard in the first place, will only give a false sense of confidence that is often more dangerous than no guard at all.

Just food for thought.


Rich – I absolutely agree. I look at the guard as a LAST line of defense, rather than the first.