Is this a good buy?

I’m planning to buy a letterpress for personal use. I’m getting married next year and would really like to have my stationeries printed in letterpress. I swoon over letterpress invites but…my budget can’t afford it. I started looking into letterpress machines for sale online.

How much do you think I should pay for this one? and is this a good buy?

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Can your budget afford the banquet hall, dinners, drinks, honeymoon cruise, flowers, minister, limousines, etc.? Then you can afford to have your wedding invitations printed professionally. Would you trust your future mother-in-law with the cooking, or your brother-in-law with bartending?
Spend a buck or two and have your invites done right! As for the press, it needs rollers and cores, (they’re not cheap), roller trucks, ink, wood furniture, quoins and key, type, or Smoxcar plates, which are a challenge to professional printers. You’ll need to shop around for paper also!

Copying a letter from several weeks back which seems to fit this situation…….Woes of a Printer…In my years and years in printing, dealing with couples to be married, I have experienced people who spend big bucks on a ceremony, flowers, banquet hall, champagne, booze, dinners, limousines, umteen-piece band, honeymoon, gowns, tuxedos, etc., and what is the first thing you hear from them at the printers; “How much are wedding invitations?” Whatever the price, it always seems they can get it cheaper at some friend or relative. We now send them to Kinko’s or some franchise speedy printers, or to our competitors who are deserving of this type of time-consuming customers. One of the deciding factors in this decision is the friend who produced her own wedding invitations on a computer set in 24 point Brush…ALL CAPS! Our advice to her …”Don’t quit your day job!” Thank you and have a nice day!

On the other hand, if you want to try printing as a hobby, I and many others welcome you. Your invitations can be a fun start.

You’ll have to learn how to do things right, because you’ll want to send a quality invite to your friends and family. I think I would start with a class of some kind before I just jump in and buy a press. But, if you buy the press, you’ll have incentive to learn and complete the job. You may be able to find one for a little less. Do figure furniture into your budget like was mentioned.

If your patient, and in a metro area, I think you could find a better press. Start watching e-bay and craigslist, call Don Black or another letterpress warehouse. This press will wear you out printing invites, but it won’t take up a lot of room when the weddings over.

Have fun and welcome to the black art.

boundstaffpress~ thank you for your helpful response. Yes I am planning to get into letterpress as a hobby and I would like to start by making my invites. Thanks again :)

I started sewing by making some hand towels, then a tailcoat (except for the shoulder seams and the breast welt), and there is something to be said for jumping into a hobby with a large project.

The Kelseys don’t provide a huge amount of impression force, so don’t plan on printing large solids. A few lines of text won’t be a problem at all though…

You might want to do a run of biz cards or something fun to start. It would be really helpful, though, if you had someone nearby to pester with letterpress questions incessantly and show you how to do some of the basics.

Best of luck!

Hello arvee,

I took several letterpress classes at a local art college and had the opportunity to observe the work of several students who had taken the class expressly to use the training, equipment, and lab hours to print their wedding invitations. None of them had ever done letterpress printing before. It seemed to me that all of them experienced a high level of frustration and anxiety at various points during the process, but that in the end they all produced something they felt they could take to the post office. From what I saw, there was only one invitation set to which I would have wanted to add an “I made it myself” disclaimer.

These students, however, were using Vandercooks that were maintained on a daily basis. They also had excellent instructors, and they had experienced lab assistants available to them at all times. So, comparing your situation with theirs, I’d say that you could have problems that will bring you to tears. But if you have lots of time and much perseverance, you could end up not only happily married but a letterpress printer as well. If you and your finance do this together, perhaps you’ll get to know each other in a whole new way. Then, if things work out, years from now those invitations will mean far more to you than anything you would have contracted out.

The best of luck and much happiness to you,


How much are they asking for it? The woman who is teaching me bought a Vandercook No. 4 to do her wedding invites and it’s what she uses to this day. Now, I want one! Good luck with whatever you decide. I would get the biggest press you can and still be safe, so that you aren’t surprised when it won’t do some part of your invitations. But, that’s just me. I’m still in the market for my first press, so I’m no expert.