moving a Vandercook

Hi everyone,

The Vandercook I want to buy (SP-15) is 2’ 8” wide, according to the floor space needed. The doorway entrance to our shed is 2’ 10”. Has anyone had such a close call through a doorway, and been successful? I’m not sure what the pallet will look like as far as its width. I’ve never moved something this heavy before and would appreciate any thoughts. I will be hiring professional movers.

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Two inches is like having 2 feet. Plenty of room. I’d put the press on skids (2x4 or 4x4s) and not a pallet. Much simpler and they don’t add any width at all. use lag bolts to attach them to the base of the press.

If you don’t have any experience moving heavy stuff, make sure the people you hire do. People that move households aren’t careful enough. Better yet find some printers in the area that can help you move. They’ve probably gone through this a few times. Pay them mileage, a meal and a beer (after the move). And agree to help them out at a later time. What goes around comes around.

Arie…thank you. This helps a lot. One more question. Would the crank handle stick out thus causing a problem? I’m not sure according to the measurements I have of the press. Sorry for any ignorance on the matter, I’m a beginner.

Hi Karen,

The handle shouldn’t pose a problem. I agree with Arie about the skids. We used them when we moved my SP-15 and they worked great. One thing to keep in mind, in case you are moving it, is that this press is very, very top heavy.

Good luck!


Hi Karen,

I moved a No.4 at the beginning of the summer and was terrified beforehand, but it is actually quite simple. Read up on the Vandercook site, and bear in mind a few key things: the press is top heavy, the cabinet is not designed to take the weight of the press (except through the feet), the impression cylinder should be secured before moving the press.

I moved the press with the help of two friends, the guy I bought it from had put it on skids, we hired a truck with a tail gate lift and I took two 6’ crowbars and some scaffold poles to roll the press on. The power of a lever is amazing it is easy to lift one end of the press using a long crowbar.

I tell you this as the quotes I was getting from press movers were really high (about $2000 for 300 miles), but although the idea of moving a heavy press is offputting it is actually quite simple. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t incredibly nervous for the entire day, but in a way moving the press yourself is a good way of getting to know each other.

Not sure about the 15 but the handle of the 4 detaches with a single pin.

Best of luck, Al


I’m not one with much experience moving a press, but I do live in Austin if you need a hand. I’d be happy to help in any way.


One of the things people overlook when moving a press through a door is that you don’t have to go straight through the door, keeping the same orientation the entire time. Move the carriage down to one end and then when you find the crank getting in the way try turning the end already in the doorway toward the handle. You should have enough room to swing the end through the door and the crank, too. Straighten up again and keep on rolling.

If necessary take the door of the hinge. Or even remove the door frame.

This is assuming nothing else sticks out at that end. I haven’t moved a SP-15 but have moved a larger 325-A (in pieces) and a number of platen presses of various sizes.
One group of “professional movers” I worked with swore a 8x12 C&P press would be impossible to move through a standard door and left it sitting in the middle of a corridor…the flywheel was in the way. And it was if you went at it straight. It was on a pallet truck and a new angle and a bit of creative jockeying had it through the door in under 5 minutes. They scratched a lot of heads when they returned to find the press on the other side of the door.

Plan. Think it through. Go slow. Do it in steps. Use leverage and mechanical advantage; not you back. It’ll go through the doorway.

Thank you everyone. I’m really impressed with the help of this community, even before I’ve bought my first press. I hope one day to be able to answer others’ questions.