Advice on moving a newly purchased C&P Old Style press

Hi, I just purchased my first press. It is located about 250 mi. away. I’m planning on hiring movers. I was looking for some advice on how to move the press safely. What type of equipment to use / safety precautions to use. The press is a 10x15 C&P Old Style (image attached) Any help is greatly appreciated! Thank you, Maggie

image: C&P.jpg


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My experience is that they’re always in a basement and that makes it a lot harder to move one of these. Narrow doorways are interesting, too. It might help to know where you are and where the press is.

Generally I’ve found it easier to move presses myself. Movers who do not do heavy machinery regularly are likely to either hurt themselves or damage the press. I’ve had some good luck with tow truck operators to extricate a press and get it onto a trailer. If there are some other printers in the area, recruit them to assist. You’d be surprised what an offer of a meal and a beer (after the move) will accomplish.

I like low trailers with a ramp, skids under the press, some short sections of 1” iron pipe and a comealong as a combination of tools to easily move a press. More detailed descriptions are in the archives here or on Letpress.

It’s really not that hard. You just have to take it slow and easy.

Taking the press apart is a very last resort. Avoid if possible. Though I’ve had to do that more often than not to rescue a press.

I second Arie’s recommendation of tow truck operators and low trailers. I’m new to letterpress too, but we’ve moved my C&P 8x12 three times and 4000 miles (from Seattle to southern Mississippi) in the 18 months I’ve owned it.

How NOT to do it:
(and the forklift at the start was only useful because my press is mounted on a pallet)

How to do it without having a nervous breakdown:

On anything involving a basement, I defer to everyone else. Haven’t been there.

Good luck!


Where are you and where is the press? You may find someone out there in your (or the press’) area who would be willing to come out and lend a hand.

Is this in a basement? The image isn’t showing up for me.

A U-Haul trailer and 4-5 heavy duty tie downs worked for me when I moved a 10x15. A forklift or tow truck boom will save you a ton of trouble.


Halfpenny, dicharry, pepperinapress, and Arie,

I am so thankful for the advice! I am in Tampa, Florida and the press is in Jacksonville. It is on ground level and will be able to move out of a garage door. This information helps greatly. Thank you! Maggie


Penske has good (but large) 26’ trucks with liftgates. Avoid the smaller trucks as the liftgate is not deep enough. The 26’ truck is diesel and the liftgate is over 4’ deep and rated to hold up to 4000lbs.

I moved a 10x15 and 8x12 locally this way and it was a fairly simple undertaking. If you press happens to be on a pallet then you are even better off. I always keep my press on a super sturdy, custom made pallet for just that reason.

Good luck! Take some pictures, post them to Flickr, and share the link when you are all done.


Brad — I wonder if the lift on our Penske was faulty? It was extremely shaky, uneven and so difficult to use. The ‘lip’ where the two plates joined was terribly touchy to navigate, also.

The U-Haul trailer you mentioned sounds so much less heart-stopping, although I haven’t used one myself. I found the move using a tilt-bed truck and a tow truck driver was way, way easier (oh, x100) than the Penske.

Maggie, as Brad said – if your new press is on a pallet or if you can get it on one, the move is so much smoother. Pallet + pallet jack makes it a breeze. We actually ended up buying a pallet jack and have used it so many times since, we’ve never regretted the expense. Bet if you got one second-hand it’d be even nicer…

I’d love to see pictures of your move too! (In retrospect I’ve sometimes wished I’d stood back and taken some shots of the most hair-raising part of our adventure, but at the time I was too sick with fear…..)

tow truck guys aren’t always the best dressed help, but,, they really do know how to move stuff, estimating center of gravity and firguring out all kinds of weird situations.maybe a local millright union could set you up also. that is what they do…a good meal and some cold brews could get you a long way with these guys ,,,,


Do you know if you were using the 26’ truck? The smaller trucks (16’ and 20’ I believe) have smaller and less sturdy lifts. I also made sure to go to Penske and look over their trucks to see which one I wanted… many times the liftgates have been abused and large dents can make life very difficult. Look for the newer (aluminum?) gates as they tend to be in better shape.

If we have to move the presses anytime soon I’d probably rent a forklift or hire a tow truck. The liftgate wasn’t difficult, but the more I move those hulks the less I am interested in doing on my own.


Although I’m not generally a big fan of trailers, for moving presses a hydraulic drop trailer works really well if you can find one. Since the rear of the trailer basically drops to ground level, this just eliminates the whole lift gate/lifting the press problem. Put rollers (old pipe) under the press skids and roll the press into the trailer, or if the press is bolted to a pallet, use a pallet jack to roll it into the trailer. I did several press moves that way this summer with no problems. Of course if the press is in a basement that’s a different problem!


Thanks to everyone for all of the advice. I put together a little slideshow of the move. Maggie

Nicely done, Maggie!